Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Great Author

I finished Sharon Shinn's Mystic and Rider last night and wanted to rush immediately off to the bookstore to get the next in the series. Unfortunately, I was dressed in my jammies and had just finished brushing my teeth before bed, so I'm still without The Thirteenth House (book 2). (Though, sad to say, I was headed for bed before the bookstore was closed; this NaNo thing has been wearing me out!)

Shinn is a new author for me. While I've seen her books in the stores for years, I've never ventured to pick on up. This time, it was a combination of a coupon and the beautiful color of the cover (I'm a sucker for these warm colors) that made me take the chance. Ah, such shallow reasons!

The novel was a quiet read. By this, I mean there was not a point when I was consumed with the need to stay up all night finishing a chapter/scene. Yet, I loved the story, I loved the characters, especially the development of the characters as a group, growing tighter and more loyal to each other through the course of the novel. Her world was delightful, fraught with peril, uplifted with comedy. Enchanting.

My favorite part was the end. To be specific, the last two paragraphs. Let me preface my praise with this: I don't like poetry. It's not that I don't like poets or pretty or evocative words put together just right. It's more that I don't like the space poetry needs. It needs lots of white space on the page. It needs lots of mental space to let the poem unfold in. It needs time and separation from the moment to be appreciated, or so I've always felt. But I like my words to be strung together into something that moves forward, something that is real and rich on the page, creating a new world or character or scene even if I'm reading while sitting in front of a speaker in the middle of a Metallica concert. Basically, I want words that take up so much space in my mind and create something so much more that this world temporarily falls away. I suppose that may happen for some people when they read poetry. It's what happens for me when I read really good books.

There are many authors on my auto-buy list who create this escape through speed and high action, and I love that. But there are those few who create an escape through action and characters and the raw beauty of their story, and it is these authors which I'm both in awe of and adore, like Jacqueline Carey and in some scenes Robert Jordan or Laurell K. Hamilton.

Shinn's whole novel was fun to read, but the ending achieved this beauty. The last few paragraphs were pure poetry in story format, and they made me love the story that much more.

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