First Person Switching to Third Person

Might as well continue from last week.  In the same vein of writing different perspectives, I’m curious about how people feel when a book switches from first person to third person (the third person obviously being for a different perspective).  I’ve noticed this mainly in MG/YA books more than anywhere else.  While I don’t necessarily mind it if/when it happens, sometimes it feels like…cheating.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s another one of those things that can work if the author knows what they’re doing.  Rick Riordan, for instance, pulls this move on occasion and it really increases the dramatic tension when he does do it, but he only does it when he needs to rather than forcing it in just because.  However, if the author doesn’t use this tactic well, it can get very annoying.

Either way, I don’t think it’s something I would ever do.  …It’s something I’m only planning to do once, though it’s more of a rewind perspective than anything else.  …Actually, I should talk about that too.  In two weeks: a discussion on rewind perspectives.


Oathbringer – Second Half

So, picking up from where we left off last week (Oathbringer – First Half)…wow!  I mean…wow!  This book has to have one of the greatest twists I’ve ever seen.  Seriously didn’t see that coming.  Anyway, blown away as I am by the last half, which was actually way more fun than the first half, let’s talk characters!

Kaladin, a slave turned bodyguard, is one of three main characters the series follows, and he is one of my favorites.  He’s kind-hearted, a natural born leader, and committed to doing the right thing, though that last one tends to become ambiguous.

The same goes for Dalinar Kholin, a general of a place called Alethkar.  Oathbringer‘s focus was predominantly on this character and I absolutely loved the flashbacks for his backstory in this latest installment.  I also really appreciated seeing a character with a fair amount of self-confidence, even when he makes a mistake…I’ve found those kinds of characters to be a bit rare in Sanderson books.

Have to say that the only character I’ve ever found unconvincing, in any Cosmere book, is Shallan.  I’ve always admired Sanderson for writing strong women, but this one doesn’t even come close.  That’s not to say that she’s not strong in her own way, but as a character…pretty weak.  I just don’t buy half of the experiences Sanderson puts her through and even in book one I found her storyline to be a bit dull.  I’m far more interested in the perspective of her mentor Jasnah than I am in her.

As for Sanderson’s writing style, it was pretty classic third-person omniscient (in the sense that perspectives change every chapter) which was as stunning as ever.  Invisible prose is definitely what I prefer most in my books and Sanderson was absolutely on point.  Though I have noticed recently that he tends to write in a way like he’s describing a movie which I usually don’t mind, but there were one or two scenes I thought he was being a tad ridiculous with the “theatrics”.

Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to the next Cosmere book.

Check out the YouTube version of this review here!  Warning: video contains spoilers.

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When is it too late to add a new perspective?

I’m seriously wondering about this both as a reader and a writer.  This question was mostly prompted by me realizing that the only way my current project was going to work was by adding in perspectives other than that of the main character, but…where to put them?  Do we wait until halfway to switch to another POV or make it clear from the beginning that this is a book where perspective switching is a thing?

The answer to this probably comes down to personal taste and style – especially since, as a reader, I’ve come to expect multiple perspectives (two at a minimum) as a given in the genres I read.  Unless it’s in first person, but that’s different.

With that said, suddenly introducing a perspective in the middle would likely be pretty jarring for my future readers, though I can’t think of any instance where I felt that way.  Depending on the author, if they actually manage to pull something like that off, it really works.

How about you guys?  Do you notice “sudden” perspective shifts?  Do you care?

Oathbringer – First Half

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson is a book of The Stormlight Archive and, as I’m sure you can gather from the title, this is going to be a massive review, as is appropriate for a book well over a thousand pages.  So, without further ado…

The Stormlight Archive is a Cosmere epic fantasy with Oathbringer being the latest installment in what’s (supposedly) going to be a ten part series…this is only the third one.  I don’t think I can go into too much background without spoiling the first two books of the series, but I’ll say that the magic system, classically Sandersonian levels of complex, is fueled by mystical stormlight which arrives from each passing of something called a Highstorm.  And…I’ll leave it at that.  There are already whole essays about how this world works (seriously, look it up).

Anyway, each of the three main characters (there are more, but I’m sticking with the three that have been the main focus since book one) – Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar – are part of something called Knights Radiants who utilize stormlight differently depending on their order.  I LOVE it!  Complicated and a bit tricky to follow, but absolutely wonderful!

Enough gushing about the magic.  Story wise, the first half of Oathbringer was a little…meh for me.  I still enjoyed it, but a majority of the first half read more as a mystery novel than an actual fantasy.  After reading Sanderson obsessively for quite a number of years, you begin to notice his absolute love for detective-esque plotlines and it kinda gets old after a while.  While that arc was a good way for him to showcase character development of Shallan, it felt more like he threw her into a storyline he wanted any excuse to write.

Luckily, it was resolved fairly quickly and the novel shifted focus back to the politics (mostly centered around Dalinar) in fantasy Sanderson usually does which, surprisingly, I haven’t gotten tired of yet.  On that note, I did have to take a break from reading this first half.  It wasn’t because I got bored with the story or annoyed by the characters, but because some of his choices made me a bit upset.  Fair warning that what I’m about to say isn’t necessarily about the book itself, so feel free to skip the rest of the review – I’ll also say that I’m going to save overall character reviews and talking about Sanderson’s writing style until the review of the second half.

Still here?  Cool.  As much as I love Sanderson, there are two things I don’t appreciate how he handles: queerness and disabilities.  Both are part of why I had to step away from the book for a bit.  Allow me to explain.

In his most recent books, Sanderson has had a few queer characters, but nearly all of them have been side characters that play such a minuscule role, the reader probably won’t even remember their names.  To me, that’s not him being inclusive – that’s him following a political trend to show off how not biased he is.  I know he means well, but it would be a lot better if his main characters were (explicitly) queer; otherwise, there’s no point.

Second, disabilities.  Let me start off by saying that he makes it pretty clear that Kaladin and Shallan have mental disorders, but…I’m not sure he’s doing it right?  I’m no expert, so I can’t say if he’s portraying the manifestation correctly and I’ve even heard praise for how Kaladin’s disorder is written; however, what I’m not certain about is the path of healing these characters appear to be on – just seems too easy, but that’s just me.  Even so, those two characters are not what made me upset, it was how he handled physical disabilities in which (slight spoiler coming up) nearly all of them are somehow healed by stormlight, including the regrowing of a limb on a one-armed man.  That…just feels like he’s…erasing people with physical disabilities and somehow making less the struggles they go through, even if there is a foundation for it in this world.

Will this make me less likely to read more Sanderson?  Absolutely not.  I still love his work and I’ll continue reading Cosmere books until there are no more.

Check out the YouTube version of this review here!  Warning: video contains spoilers.

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Designing Clothes for Characters

This has actually been one of the more fun things I’ve done for my writing in a while.   As some of you know, I’ve been having a pretty hard time with my main project for over a month now.  Part of that was because I left a few too many things vague in the first draft which ended up with me being very confused about the world I was creating.  I was stuck and it was bothering me how little connection I felt with my characters and the culture as a whole.

So, I had a little chat with myself and came to terms with the fact that working on a project doesn’t necessarily mean actively writing pages for it.  I took a step back and started drawing the kind of clothes my characters would be wearing.

Although it took a while for me to figure out the best drawing strategy (it’s not exactly my forte), I had a ton of fun designing new clothes and it really helped me understand the culture a lot better, though there’s still quite a bit of work to do.  But after I decided to actually add the foundation to my iceberg, the ideas have been pouring in and the society I’m creating looks far more solid – especially since they have clothes now.

Next step is figuring out who my characters are.  I know it sounds weird I’m doing this after the first draft is already done, but…I’m a discovery writer – it’s how I roll.

Either way, I’m finally feeling excited about my main project again, even if no “actual” writing is being done at the moment.

Toning Down the Book Reviews

Right, so, as the title says, I’m going to be dropping how many book reviews I’ve been doing these past few months.  Today is the first day of a new quarter for me after a rather…complicated schooling situation.  Even though I’ll only be taking one class, I already know I’m going to be pretty busy with school, work, writing, and keeping up with this blog.

Since that’s the case, I figured it would be better for me to go back to once a month reviews, especially when I want to continue enjoying reading and not stress myself out.  This is all for fun, anyway, so there’s really no need to make it something to worry about.  I still have another background video for this month’s review that I’ll be posting a link to on Wednesday, but this January will probably be the last time you see me posting twice a week on a regular basis.

I’ll try to continue a weekly post about my writing and life in general on Mondays.  And book reviews will still come out on Wednesday, they just might be a bit more…sporadic than before.  So, ’til next time!

The Cosmere

Yeah, sorry, there’s no actual book review today as I mentioned on Monday.  But, in preparation for the review of the massive tome I’m working my way through, I made a little video that explains a little about Brandon Sanderson’s universe, the Cosmere.

Check it out here!

Happy New Year!

Hello, everyone and a happy 2018!  I’m looking forward to a year of growth and new beginnings.  Also hoping to make some really good friends at Worldcon coming up in August (fingers crossed).

I’ve got plans and I’ve got plans for plans this coming year, including a little something I’m hoping to launch in February.  We’ll see how it goes, but progress has been made.  My main project’s still on the sidelines for now and I think that’s exactly where it should be at the moment.

On that note, this month’s book review (yes, singular) is going to be a couple weeks down the line, but I have prepared some youtube videos to tide you over in the meantime – they’ll be released on the usual book review day.

Welp, looking forward to a new and productive year with you!  Love you lots!

Night Terrors

Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner is…actually, I have no idea what it is.  Horror fantasy?  …Sure, let’s go with that.  (Except it’s not really horror…meh!)  So, this book is mostly concerned with keeping the city of nightmares and reality separate and that task falls to an obscure organization called the Shadow Watch, following the human Audra and her childhood nightmare made real (what’s called an Incubus) working together as Shadow Watch officers with their main branch of operations in Chicago.

Night Terrors is certainly an action packed adventure, even beginning with a hunt for an Incubus criminal.  It was a decent read, but, ultimately, it was little more than a supernaturally dressed up cliche cop story.  I found a lot of Audra’s choices very questionable, even when she was supposedly run ragged by exhaustion.

Her killer clown nightmare, Jinx, on the other hand was pretty interesting.  I liked what Waggoner did with the whole Incubus and a city of nightmares, called Nod.  It was a very surreal experience whenever he described the denizens of this nightmare realm, though he did ramble a bit much for my taste about what the city actually looked like – seemed like unnecessary exposition to me.

Speaking of Waggoner’s writing choices, his style was first person from Audra’s point of view.  I don’t mind when a male author writes from a female perspective, but there was more than one occasion where I thought: Really?  Despite that, I think Audra’s portrayal was fairly realistic and my main complaint is Waggoner’s tendency to ramble about things that had little or no bearing on the plot.

Anyway, this is another one of those books that, while still good, doesn’t prompt me to read any other works by the same author.

Check out the YouTube version of this review here!  Warning: video contains spoilers.

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