In Which I Pretend to Read a Lot

But actually just reread my favorite fantasy series as a kid, in the name of genre research?

Here’s the roundup since last time.

Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth (? Dec 2013)
I mentioned the first book in this series in my last reading report. I really liked Divergent, but the series deteriorated in books two and three. I’m not sure if this was one of those cases where the next two books were rushed through writing and editing because of book deals — in any case, they could have used some more story reworking for a stronger finish. Insurgent itself wasn’t too bad in the plot department (character development was shakier), but once the perspectives started switching between Tris and Four in Allegiant, I lost all interest in how it ended and just wanted it to be over. I haven’t watched the Divergent movie yet, but I’d bet that the next two movies will be better than reading these books.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (? Jan 2014)
I think I liked this short story collection. I think. It was a set of stories that made me uncomfortable in its way of bringing attention to people I’d otherwise avoid, but I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the journey.

The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (8 Mar 2014)
I loved this short story collection. I may be biased by the fact that Molly is the best creative writing instructor I’ve had, but it stands to reason that her awesomeness as a teacher comes from her strengths as a writer. Incredibly rich and painfully human characters drive the stories in this collection, and not a single one disappoints. As I tweeted right after finishing, each and every story leaves me emotionally wrecked in the best of ways.

(Reread) The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (6 May 2014)
This was my first time rereading this series since I first read the series in early high school. It’s the fantasy series with a deeper message that I’ve held up as my standard for what YA fantasy can be — I figured I ought to reread these books and see how well they held up. It’s interesting how I relate to Lyra and Will differently now, and how different parts of the story stand out to me now… maybe because I’m looking for them, maybe simply because I’m a different person reading now than I was then. I still wholeheartedly recommend this full series to anyone who hasn’t read it; I’ve also got some food for thought as I consider writing a fantasy story of my own.

Next up: Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug (pushed upon me by a coworker, but proving endlessly useful for PM-ing)

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