Friday, November 21, 2014

We're On Each Other's Team (+ Giveaway)


We've talked about villains already, and today we're tackling another character type that appears in books: the sidekick. Sidekicks are the people readers will recognize as being a great source of support and encouragement for the hero/heroine. They might be gruff and tough, or they might be gentle and kind, or they might be sarcastic and prickly, or they might just make you laugh all the time. But sidekicks are essential for most fantastical journeys, as it's usually impossible to go it alone. In case you haven't guessed, Hannah & I are sharing our favorite sidekicks today, whether from fantasies or other genres!

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Who is your favorite sidekick?

While Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles) and Nikolai Sturmhond (Grisha Trilogy) were two names that popped into mind immediately, there's one guy I have always admired: Kenji Kishimoto. He's tough as nails, smart and sarcastic, but underneath, he's got a surprising vulnerability and a loyal heart. (first appearance: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi)

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Who do you want as your sidekick?

There is only one right answer to this question, at least for me. I want Rowan Whitethorn to be on my team, all day, any day, every day. Rowan is a seriously tough guy, a seasoned warrior who bears his own scars. He seems like the type of guy who could push me to my limits, and past them, but only so that he could be pushing me forward. I'd have faith in him to take care of me for sure! (first appearance: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas)

Taylor Swift = Lilah Montgomery (to me)
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Which sidekick do you think you could possibly be?

This might make y'all laugh, but it's true: I would probably be most like Lilah Montgomery. While she's got no special abilities or magical powers, she's a great friend. She's a powerhouse musician and performer, but it's her kindness, her empathy, her loyalty, her sense of humor that makes her such a wonderful person. (first appearance: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord)

Who is your favorite sidekick?
Who do you want as your sidekick?
Which sidekick do you think you could possibly be?

GIVEAWAY!
Leave a comment answering one of the questions above to be entered to win a copy of Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. 
US Only. Ends 11/27.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Walled City - Ryan Graudin

The Walled City Ryan Graudin book cover
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Source/Format: BEA 2014 || ARC
[I received this book for review. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window..... (from Goodreads)

Impressive is the first word that comes to mind when attempting to describe The Walled City. These are the words that follow after: Gritty. Harsh. Dark. Compelling. Author Ryan Graudin sets the stage with the unforgiving, terrifying place that is the Walled City. Combined effortlessly with her three character narrators – Dai, Mei Yee & Jin Ling – and a story that will has readers wondering what will happen next, Graudin has definitely written something memorable.

Honestly, it’s probably best to go into The Walled City knowing just the bare bones of things. The story is comprised of three different goals that tangle together: Dai is running out of time to accomplish an important task, Jin Ling wants to find her older sister and Mei Yee dreams of a life outside the brothel. Graudin deftly juggles their different points of view, allowing readers to really get into the heads and heart of these characters. Readers will find themselves drawn to these characters, because Graudin depicts them as they really are – a complicated mess of good and bad qualities, shaped by their history and current situation. It is definitely a quality that makes The Walled City interesting, and the reason readers will be invested in finding out what happens next. 

The Walled City is the kind of story readers will find it hard to tear their eyes away from until the very end. (Proof: I totally sat on a bench in a subway station to finish it before I went off to work.) Dai, Jin Ling, Mei Yee – these characters will definitely stay with readers long after they have finished. Different it may be, but that is certainly why The Walled City is worth the read.

Our Question: What would be your survival skill?

Honestly, if I were put in any situation that was life or death, I'm thinking it'll be sheer adrenaline that will carry me through. But if I had to think about what skill I'd probably use most to survive, it would be strategy. I'm not much for physically trying situations, but I can definitely make plans, seek out good hideouts and gather provisions. So, I think my best chances of survival would lie in my ability to create great survival strategies.

I Am Superwoman


There are a lot of moments in real life when I think about how awesome it would be to have this or that superpower or magical ability! We do live in an age of convenience, where we can get most things done at the touch of a button or via our smartphones, so that's pretty magical. But I still feel like it would be pretty fun to have special powers! Inspired by the abilities in The Young Elites, Hannah & I are discussing special abilities today!

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What ability do you want to have?

I would love the ability to teleport myself anywhere in space and time. It would be awfully convenient in terms of me visiting family and friends all over the world. And it would open up an entirely new world of travel experiences, both current and in the past or future!

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What ability would you hate to have?

I wouldn't like the ability to read people's minds. Yes, I know it's utterly convenient if considered from an objective standpoint. But can you imagine how noisy it would get in your head? How much effort would go into blocking it all out? *shudders*

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What ability do you think you have?

I was going to talk about my ability to sense emotions in others, an empathic nature if you want to be formal about it. But, in the spirit of having fun, I will tell you one of my current superpowers: the ability to fit a lot of things into a tiny closet or tiny suitcase! (This is something Macky marvels at.)

What ability do you want to have?
What ability would you hate to have?
What ability do you think you have?

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