Well, looky thar! A wild 2011 appeared! It’s been so long since I’ve written. Let me fill you all in. NaNoWriMo. I didn’t win, but it gave me exactly what I needed: fuel for a new novel. I made it approximately 70% of the way to their finishing point. I’m still working on it slowly. The main character is reluctant to talk…or perhaps I’m reluctant to write what happens to her because it isn’t going to be pleasant. Regardless, I’ll finish it. One of my big goals of 2011 is to finish another novel (NOT my NaNoWriMo novel). So we’ll be getting around to that after “Prior Lives” is taken care of.
Still unemployed, still trying to make the crochet thing work. Squee! Productions will be at Anime Milwaukee and ACen.
Down to Business
A bit of a broad term, isn’t it? I’m going to go over authors I admire (for their work, creativity, how much they inspire me, etc) every once and awhile. I know a lot of people look for new authors to read and why not take some recommendations from me? So, clearly, we are starting with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I’m sure a lot of adults haven’t heard of her. She mainly works in young adult/teen fiction under a specific category of Urban Fantasy. So if you’re around my age (22ish) you might have heard of her.So what is Urban Fantasy? As defined by Wikipedia.org, “Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.” Neat, isn’t it? So that’s what she primarily writes. And now that I look back at it, when I used to write fantasy, I mainly wrote urban fantasy. Now I primarily write science fiction.
Amelia’s writing career started when she was only 13 years old. Her first book was published in 1999 and she currently has twelve books published, as well as two collections of previously published books. I always admired the fact that she was published young – which really is a feat. Her story on how she was published inspired me to write more so I could get published young as well.
Twelve books. Chronological order go! In the Forests of the Night (1999), Demon in My View (2000), Shattered Mirror (2001), Midnight Predator (2002), Hawksong (2003), Snakecharm (2004), Falcondance (2005), Wolfcry (2006), Wyvernhail (2007), Persistence of Memory (2008), Token of Darkness (2010), and All Just Glass (2011).
Each of the books has a different narrator, some having more than one. The characters have their own voice. When you’re with a different character in a 3rd person narrative, the voice alone will give away who you’re with rather than needing the name. I admire that. Characters should have their own voice. In the books we have a vampire, an author, a witch, a hunter, a hawk shapeshifter, a cobra shapeshifter, a falcon shapeshifter, a wyvern shapeshifter, a fallen falcon shapeshifter, a normal girl and a vampire, a normal person, and a vampire and witches.
So why is she someone to check out?
She write amazing vampire, shapeshifter, magic, and whatever else you can think of, literature. The characters all have different personalities, they all have the capacity to change. The world is engaging – close enough to our world that it seems like any of this could actually happen. The writing is clean and concise, even in the older books. However, it is clear that her writing style has grown with her and is only getting better. The plot is complex, but not overly so. Why these matter? Because I’m a person who values rounded characters, engaging worlds, and good writing.
Also, its a good alternative in vampire fiction. I’ve stated how I feel about the Twilight Series. There are no sparkling vampires, the characters have personality, and there’s no message about women being baby-making machines. In fact, women usually have quite a deal of power in the Amelia Atwater-Rhodes books.
Why These Books are Important to Me
These books were some of the first I read that really inspired me to start writing. The characters felt real, more real than any I’d encountered before. I wanted to be able to write characters like that. I think I can finally do that. At first it inspired me to write urban fiction as well, until I started to realize that vampires and stuff like that didn’t really fit me that well. I had always gravitated more towards science fiction – especially sci-fi movies. Not saying I don’t like fantasy, but I realized that I was writing the same stuff that everyone else was. To me, it feels like Amelia Atwater-Rhodes rejuvenated fantasy a bit by making it more accessible. It made it clear that I shouldn’t try to write like her, but take her example and try to breathe some life into science fiction.
Also, I’ve been reading these books since I was in middle school. I’ve grown up with them. Even though these books are well under my “reading level”, I honestly enjoy them. They intrigue me. Having the writing style grow as I grew was interesting.
Check these books out of you’re looking for some interesting urban fantasy. Its an interesting genre. The books are a quick read, if that’s an issue. They take me about…an afternoon. Depending on how many distractions are around. They’re books that you can read over and over – I’m still catching new things. Especially check these out if you want to feel like the characters of a book are real.
Anyone out there read any of these books? What do you think of them?