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#Plottymouths: Five Favorite Literary Leading Men

For our #GettingLucky Twitter love story event on March 16, I’m writing about some of my all-time favorite literary leading men. I’ll probably add a post on leading ladies in the future, since it takes two to share smoldering looks across a crowded room.

Why leading men? You can’t have a good love story without a swoon-worthy romantic lead. Some of them are dark and brooding, others a sweet and loving, some noble, others not so much, but they all have that magnetic spark that inevitable attracts their leading ladies, and the readers.

As you can probably guess, a great leading man isn’t a stock character. He has to be someone you can picture as a real person, and identify with his triumphs and travails. He sometimes falters on his quest (whether for the Holy Grail or the heroine’s hand) and loses his way, but you root for him nonetheless. I’m not going to focus on the typical romance hero, because in many ways, he is a stock character. Also, I don’t think great romances are limited to just one genre.

Quick note: there are spoilers below, as I couldn’t discuss these heroes without disclosing specific story details.

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Root Bound (Emma & the Elementals #1) by Tanya Karen Gough

Root Bound by Tanya Karen GoughNote: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Root Bound is the first of a planned quartet called Emma and the Elements. This middle grade fantasy series follows Emma as she comes of age and discovers how her unique magic can restore order to the mysterious land of Under. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Wyrd Sisters: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters is one of Terry Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels, focusing on his cast of witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. The three, at Magrat’s prodding, have formed something of a coven, and meet every so often to do what Magrat considers are witchy things (like chanting over a cauldron).

Witches in the Discworld universe are generally solitary (except for when they are apprentices to a more experienced witch), and shirk structure, unlike the wizards at Unseen University. Overall, Pratchett’s witches tend to lead quiet lives and don’t have a designated leader.

Among them, Granny Weatherwax was “the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.” She’s also disinclined to admit when she’s wrong, bears a grudge like a cat (although she hates cats), and has a habit for shelling peas at inopportune times. Nanny, on the other hand, has had five husbands, more children than she can count, and an inclination for getting hammered and singing inappropriate songs about hedgehogs and wizards’ staffs. Magrat, plain and unworldly, wants only to be a proper witch, with all the occult accoutrement that comes with it, whether her fellow witches like it or not.

If it weren’t for events outside of their control, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat would likely have continued along quietly, with the occasional arguments about whose turn it was to make the tea. When they find themselves unwittingly responsible for Lancre’s infant heir to the throne, Granny realizes that fate has aimed its beady eye at them. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Author: Terry Pratchett, Fantasy

 

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Poll: Will you buy ‘Harry Potter’ e-books?

From EW’s Shelf Life column. I’ve already bought all of the books a couple of times now and I was thinking of re-reading them, but I’m on the fence about whether I will actually buy the ebooks. I wonder what the illustrations look like in digitized form? I love ebooks for convenience, but there’s still something about paper books.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Reblogs

 

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Bone: Full Color One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith

I lost myself in the Bone 20th Anniversary color edition over Christmas. I’d discovered the series a few years back, after the original one volume black and white edition was published.

The last time I encountered Fone Bone and his friends was in 2006, when the original One Volume edition debuted. Previously, each of the series’ issues had been collected into (now somewhat hard-to-find) graphic novels. The One Volume, like many current editions of The Lord of the Rings, emphasized that Bone was one long story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end as the author intended. Even though Jeff Smith was publishing Bone for a good portion of my childhood, I hadn’t discovered it until I was well into adulthood. Still, I feel lucky that I was able to read the entire epic in one handy volume, without having to wait until the next issue to see what happened.

The story tells the epic adventure of three cousins who stumble upon a plot to unleash an ancient evil that will trap the world in a nightmare. There are many reviews of the series on the Internet, so this review will focus on the color one volume itself. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Tiffany Aching Quartet)

The Wee Free Men is the first in Terry Pratchett’s young adult series following Tiffany Aching, a young witch living in the countryside of the Discworld.

Although the Tiffany Aching books have already been out for years, I’d never bothered to read them until last May, spurred mostly by boredom during a car trip. This is why I love having a Kindle–I don’t need to pop into a bookstore, shift through the stacks, pay at the register, go home, and finally begin reading. With the Kindle, I search, I sample, I purchase, and I read. Simple. I was impressed by the Kindle editions of this series–virtually error-free. I loved being able to search the books while reading the series, too, as old friends reappeared throughout the series. I’ll probably end up tracking down the hardcover editions–the one thing I do regret is not reading these when they first came out.

The Wee Free Men sets up the rest of the Tiffany Aching books. As I devoured them, it was clear that Pratchett intended for Tiffany to grow up and come to terms with her power (while facing down the forces of evil, of course). I didn’t expect to like the Nac Mac Feegle (who bungle an attempt at kidnapping a sheep and, eventually Tiffany), but they grew on me with their penchant for violence and their love of liquor. In this book, Tiffany takes on the Queen of the Fairies in order to rescue her little brother (whom she had seen as something of a nuisance).

Writing about a child prodigy can be a dangerous thing. Flavia de Luce is a good example of this. She’s interesting enough, but not at all likeable, and her preciousness drives her into the unreadable category. Like Flavia, Tiffany is a precocious child prodigy. What keeps the reader with her, however, is empathy. As the books progress and Tiffany grows up, she comes to intimately understand empathy and why it’s important in a witch: it keeps her tethered to her own sanity. She also has an unflinching sense of justice, which keeps her from becoming too irritating.

If you’re at all familiar with Pratchett, or even if you aren’t, you should definitely track this gem down: it’s funny, touching, and utterly engrossing.

 
 

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Quote

Let us examine the case of rings. Rings have long been considered peculiarly suitable for this sort of magic by virtue of their small size. A man may keep a ring continually upon his finger for years, without exciting the smallest comment – which would not be the case if he shewed the same attachment to a book or a pebble – and yet there is scarcely a magician in history who, having once committed some of his skill and power to a magic ring, did not somehow lose that ring and was put to a world of trouble to get it back again.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke)

Concerning Magic Rings

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Author: Susanna Clarke, Fantasy

 

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