Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Being Brilliant is Exhausting

You know those days when you have a fantastic idea (for ANYTHING) and instead of writing it down, you say/think, "Oh, I'll remember it later," but then you forget your brilliant idea?

I'm having one of those days.

I had this really good idea for a blog post, and since I haven't updated the last two Saturdays (oops), I figured I owed my readers something awesome. But then I forgot the idea. However, in forgetting,  realized something.

I haven't updated because I feel like whatever ideas I have aren't sufficiently awesome. And that is a really dumb thought. Okay, yeah, an awesome post would be nice every once in a while, but if every single post I publish is sheer brilliance (which it won't be, let me be VERY clear about that) people will really expect that whenever they visit my blog.

I don't have the time to be brilliant in all of my posts. Being brilliant is exhausting. I'm just a teenager. I should be posting about the random things that I like, be it books or movies or shoes or food or ideas. By posting about the things I like, whether or not the post is highbrow or wonderfully worded, I'll find other people who like the same things I do.

According to Maureen Johnson, that connection is the whole purpose of the internet. (I was going to link to the post where she said that, but then I couldn't find it and then I got sucked into the awesome that is her tumblr, and... yeah.)

I'm just going to hit post before I really regret writing this.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I'd been hearing good things about Shadow and Bone for a while before I got a chance to read it. Initially, I got it confused with Robin Wasserman's Book of Blood and Shadow, for reasons that aren't inherently clear. I thought it might be a little like BoBaS and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone: set in Prauge, featuring a student, and so on. Well, Shadow and Bone is not at all like either of these, which isn't a bad thing.

It does take a bit to fully get into the swing of the story, but it was well worth the wait. I loved all of the different directions the story took, both geographically and in terms of plot.

I quickly figured out that Shadow and Bone is set in a sort of pseudo-Russia, and I really liked trying to connect the fantastical locations to their real-world counterparts. (I also knew at a glance that the map in the front was drawn by Keith Thompson. Oh, how I love his work!) The title is very apt, though I didn't fully realize that until the very end.

The cover is different from most other books out right now, and I really like it. I love the font, and the colors have a symbolic meaning to the story. I love how the palace seems menacing, like beady red eyes are staring at you. The interior font for the chapter titles and the opening sentences is the Artemis Fowl font, which was seriously weird, but it didn't excessively distract me. Basically, this book is really pretty.

For some reason, it seriously bugged me that the Darkling didn't have his own name, just a title, but I need to ponder more thoroughly to figure out why that is. I loved that Alina was a total nobody, and I seriously, seriously loved that she was inclined to be merciful. (I often find that my issue with heroines is that if they're even remotely brave/powerful, they kill easily. Not so with Alina.)

Leigh Bardugo's writing style was very easy to read, and she glossed over the boring parts, which I appreciated. (Days upon days of slogging through snow, condensed into a few sentences! Yay!) I really enjoyed the way the prologue and epilogue were written in a slightly different style, and I think because of that, they really helped settle the story more firmly.

Shadow and Bone reminded me of the ambiance of Tony Abbot's Kringle combined with the intrigue of Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief. I can't wait for the next book!

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
(Summary from Goodreads.)

Leigh's website is