Monday, April 23, 2007

A New Review and Answering Comments

Another Blog Tour review on Return of the Guardian King has come in from participant April Erwin. She's the one who didn't want to start the series at the end but had a friend who was already caught up and willing to read the book for a guest blogging stint. It's a great review, though it is very heavy on spoilers. If you've not read the book and don't want to know how it ends, you might take care to skip the parts she's marked off as spoiler-filled. If you have read it, enjoy the review en toto. I sure did. There are two parts and you can read them here: Part 1 and Part 2

Now for a few comments on yesterday's comments and the random musings they generated...

Rebecca said, "How do you say, "I loved it I loved it I loved it!" in a way that is both interesting and compelling?" She has a good point -- especially when you're trying not to give away important plot points in a review. I thought you did a fine job of doing it, though, Rebecca.

But I also wonder (and this is from looking at myself) why is it that all the specifics of what we don't like seem to come rushing up to the surface, whereas when we really like something it only seems to be emotion that rushes up. Maybe it's the emotion that makes us not really want to stop and pick the beloved apart. We don't want to think, we just want to revel in the feeling of being delighted. Hmm. Is that something like Love is Blind?

[Congratulations on your 100 rejection letters, Rebecca. I used to reward myself with a box of Sees with every 100 I collected -- papering the walls with them just did not seem that appealing. Now I think I've thrown them away. They were pretty repetitive anyway... "Dear Writer, thank you for your recent submission. Alas it did not suit our... "]

Shannon, the less than positives are really like cockatrice eggs for me. At first they have no effect. It's only when I go back to my work in progress that they hatch. Suddenly I can't write. "No one likes what I do anyway," moans the inner Eeyore voice, "so why try?" (Notice the instant switch there to global thinking: one person disliking one small aspect of something I'd written has ballooned into no one on the entire planet liking anything I've ever written and ever will. I understand this is a common writerly trait as well -- going instantly global in one's reaction. I'm learning to recognize it and put it aside.). I also get this reaction from reading negative comments about other writers' works.

Golden Fool... hmmm. Some of it I love. Some of it... I don't. The feminism. The gender issues with the Fool... Oh! Look! I'm being specific about the negatives... Hmph!

Okay, then, I shall set myself to be specific about the positives. I LOVE her writing. I love
"...when I drew the blade, it whispered death as it came free from the sheath and balanced like a bird on my fingers."
"... all of life chafed against me. Then the wolf would heave himself to his feet with a sigh and come to lean against me. A thrust of his muzzle would put his broad-skulled head under my hand."

(that last was from the first book in the Tawny Man trilogy, Fool's Errand) I love the tidbits of truth that are sprinkled through her work. Like what the aforementioned wolf says to the hero, Fitz, in response to his chafing:

"Stop longing. You poison today's ease, reaching always for tomorrow. The boy will come back when he comes back. What is there to grieve over in that?"
Or this, which actually came before the part about chafing:

"There was nothing wrong with my life. I worked in my garden, I finished the repairs to my long-neglected cottage, and in the early morning and summer twilight, I hunted with my wolf. I filled my days with good and simple things. The weather held fine. I had the warmth of the sun on my shoulders as I labored, the swiftness of the wind against my cheeks when I walked the sea cliffs in the evening, and the richness of the loamy earth in my garden. Peace but waited for me to give myself up to it. The fault was in me that I held back from it."

How dead-on is that a description of so many of us as believers? Always, in every circumstance, the peace of God but waits for us to give ourselves up to it. The fault is always in us that we hold back.

I love the complexity of her stories, her world, her characters. I love that Fitz is a prince, a should-be king, and no one can know his true identty save a few at the very top -- queen, official prince, queen's counselor. I love when various other characters finally figure out who he really is. (Hmm, that story line does sound familiar, doesn't it?)

His trials are immense, and while I don't love that, something about it does draw me. When his wolf died, I related FAR too strongly. And yet go back to reread that scene again and again because she carried it off so exquisitely... There are successes, too. Not as many, or as great as I'd like, but enough. And there are just a zillion other things about the way the characters relate to one another, love one another, cause problems for one another...

I see I will have to do an entire post on this matter...

Marci, thanks for restraining your thorns and best wishes on your new born book.

Becky... you're right, I don't think writers realize how valuable commenting on the blogs is. I don't think I did. It just seems polite to express my gratitude. After all, no one out there has to pay even a moment's worth of attention to me or my work if they choose not to, so I'm always grateful when they do. And yes, I do have a list and will get to those promised spin-off posts. Right now I'm thinking one may appear tomorrow... so check back if you're interested in my attempts to "give an answer for the hope that is within you." (Not that I've been asked, mind. This is just practice in case I ever am.)