Princess of All Awesomeness

“Hey, Britney,” you say, “you know it’s August, right?  And you haven’t done a Monday review in three weeks?”

Yes.  I know it’s August, and Review Monday has been suspiciously absent.  I also know that this (see: blogs are ridiculously late) is what happens when things don’t go as planned, and you’re forced to scramble to make sure everything gets done.  It’s super annoying when life and responsibilities get in the way of reading and writing.  It’s a good thing I had a head start on my sister for the Great Reading Contest of 2017, because if I hadn’t, I think she would have caught me up this past month.

That said, I have gotten some reading in (though not as much as I’d like), and one of the books I read was part of the #ARCAugust challenge.  I had been anticipating reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer for months.  There were two reasons for this: 1) I ❤ Wonder Woman, and 2) one of my favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo, wrote the book.  I was interested to read a book wholly devoted to Wonder Woman, and I wanted to see how Bardugo represented her.  When you’re anticipating a book that much, and have such high expectations for it, there’s always the danger that it doesn’t stack up.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer definitely stacked up.  Here is the cover, and a partial blurb as found on Goodreads:

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She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . . 

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. 

 

 

With a book like this, it’s hard to know what to focus on for a review.  I mean, I could fangirl all day long about Leigh Bardugo, but that doesn’t tell anyone about the book.  I could fangirl all day long about Wonder Woman, but that still doesn’t tell anyone about the book.  So I’ll try to focus on the things people care about: plot, setting, and characters.

PLOT: What originally seemed to be a pretty straightforward plot became surprisingly twisty in a way I definitely wasn’t expecting.  (I should have known Bardugo wouldn’t ever write anything straightforward.)  Though a “super hero book”, the danger doesn’t seem outlandish, and has possible real-world repercussions.  I liked that there was a lot of history woven into the story, of both mythical and realistic nature, and that the history affected the present.  Overall, the story itself was a great one – enjoyable, and complex enough to be interesting from the first page until the last.

SETTING: This was done SO well!  I liked the glimpses I got to see of Themyscira (yes, I had to Google the spelling.  Don’t look at me like that – unless you just watched the film, I’m pretty sure you had to Google the pronunciation), and of the Amazon civilization.  Also, magical, disappearing horses.  The island is done well enough that you truly feel the impact when Diana enters the “regular” world, and how difficult it is for her to process the vast difference between her home and the rest of the world.  And speaking of the rest of the world…  I loved that Bardugo put Diana on the subway in NYC.  What better way to introduce her to New Yorkers?

CHARACTERS: Bardugo did great work with this cast.  For one thing, it is diverse without being “token”.  The diversity of the characters deepens that sense of historicity I mentioned earlier, and lends the story a deep richness.  There are several characters in this story – Diana Prince (for she isn’t Wonder Woman yet) is just one of them.  So, though this book has Diana in it, it’s not just about her.  Each character – Alia, Nim, Jason, Theo – is important to the story, and each is well-developed and interesting.  And one of the most important things Bardugo does with these characters is establish strong (and I mean epic STRONG) relationships – between siblings, between friends, and between females – all something I wish we saw more of.  Basically, all the ❤ for these characters, their sass, their support for one another, and their bravery.

Snaps to Leigh Bardugo for taking a strong female character and making her more powerful, smarter, and more relevant than just being the “hot one with the rope”.  This Diana Prince is the Wonder Woman I want my daughter to grow up reading about.

Now, bring on Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker!

*A huge thanks to Random House for providing me with an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Top 10 Tuesday tomorrow, friends!

Peace out!

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Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Coolest Book Characters

***Due to the fact that Skynet possessed my computer yesterday, Top Ten Tuesday is taking place on Wacky-Woo Wednesday***

If you’re at all like me, you judge books based on how interesting the setting is, how original the plot is, and how likable (or unlikeable) the characters are.  Some writers are extremely gifted in one or two of these areas; the BEST writers are gifted in all three.  It takes all three of these elements to make a story, and if one of the elements is weak, then more times than not, the story is weak, too.

I like character-driven stories.  I can deal with a setting I don’t particularly like, or a plot that seems a little simplistic, if the characters are memorable and capture my interest.  They have to make me care.  I have to be invested in the characters – in their lives, or in their deaths, in their successes, or in their failures.  I like flawed characters because they seem more real to me, and I like strong characters because they are inspiring.

And they get double points when they’re awesome.  Like these TOP 10 COOLEST BOOK CHARACTERS.

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JAMES BOND

Say what you want about the British secret agent and his philandering ways, but when it comes to coolness factor, this dude has it times ten.  He’s always in trouble with someone, be it SPECTRE, Blofeld, Goldfinger, or M, and he’s always got a plan to get out of it.  Even if that means blowing up an entire city and walking away from the explosion without looking back at it…

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HOLLY GOLIGHTLY

This freewheeling lady-about-town does what she wants, when she wants, and with whomever she wants, and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it.  She is unapologetic about her motives and her material desires, and doesn’t try to hide the truth behind anything she does.  She sleeps half the day, socializes half the night, and can climb out of bed and look stunning in 16.5 seconds.

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HARRY DRESDEN

As Chicago’s only wizard for hire, Dresden kind of has the market on cool – at least in the Windy City.  Dresden is a complete misfit, and has quite possibly the worst luck of anyone, EVER.  But that doesn’t stop him from wielding magic like a boss, and taking down some of the worst criminals out there – human and non.  He bucks every system imaginable – the law, the magicians’ Council – and somehow always manages to come out on top – even when he’s dead for a while.

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MR. FOX

Tricksy, clever Hobbitses foxes are all sorts of awesome.  Especially this one.  He’s like a furry Danny Ocean, complete with a criminal crew.  He wants to provide for his family, and is willing to risk everything to make sure they have what they need.  And then, just as importantly, he makes sure those around him have what they need, too.  He recognizes that the critter community is stronger if they work together, rather than separately.  A valuable lesson.

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AMELIA PEABODY

Peabody puts all other book characters to shame.  She’s a proper lady, but can sip sherry, run an archaeological site, raise kids, keep her husband out of trouble, and knock someone out with her parasol, all before morning tea time.  She is forward-thinking and clever, brave, and a wonderful problem-solver.   She has the spirit of an adventurer at a time when it wasn’t strictly fashionable for women to go gallivanting around the globe – but gallivant she does, and fearlessly.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES

The brilliant, borderline mad Holmes is complex, interesting, and slightly frightening.  He is willing to go to unbelievable lengths to find the solution to his cases, even if it means putting himself (and, by association, Dr. Watson) in grave danger.  His skill at reasoning sets him apart from other detective characters, and the fact that he is so unabashedly confident in his position as the world’s best consulting detective is an outpouring of his arrogance – something he sees as less of a character flaw, and more of a fact.

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LUCY PEVENSIE

It takes undaunted courage to be the youngest in a family, and go on an adventure without your older siblings.  It takes even more courage to believe something they don’t, and to stand up for that belief.  Add to that running for your life, opposing a witch, going on a sea voyage, ruling as queen, and fighting a battle, and you are just scratching the surface of things Lucy does.  She may not always have complete confidence in herself, but she follows her heart and does what she believes is right, and, in the end, is a heroine.

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ROLAND DESCHAIN

The last Gunslinger.  He’s a haunting figure, and plays out the journey of the choice between good and evil.  His decisions are rarely easy; often they are brutal.  But he makes them anyway, often at great cost to himself.  Obviously mentally scarred, he deals with loss the way he sees best – practically and coolly – but this means he doesn’t “deal”, and at times, his demons come back to haunt him.  Heroic by nature, he is still flawed, and that gives him layers of complication.

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ANNE SHIRLEY

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…  Anne is bold.  She is confident.  She is brilliant.  And she doesn’t allow her status as an orphan to ever make her feel like she is less than worthy.  She knows what she wants, and she works ceaselessly to accomplish her goals.  She dares to dream, and is willing to work to make her dreams come true, too.  Brave, Anne is always up for a challenge (or a dare), up for travel, and up for a new experience, all of which provide her with fodder for her boundless imagination.

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ELIZABETH BENNET

A free-thinking lady who wishes to marry for love, rather than money and security, Lizzie is an anomaly.  She possesses a vitality and zest for life that allow her to see the absurdity in the social conventions of her time.  She is slightly impertinent in her opinions, and does not strictly abide by “acceptable” social ideas.  She does not see the “upper” class as being better than her – she knows her worth, and is unwilling to settle for anything less than she knows she deserves.   Also, she has a wicked-snarky-sassy sense of humor.

So there you have it!  Though there are countless other shady-cool characters in literature, these are some of my favorites.  Who are some of yours?  Let me know, and we can chat!

Thursday we’ll talk about something truly terrifying – a writer’s current work-in-progress…  DUH- DUh-Duh…

 

 

Technology is (Sometimes) the Devil

So, for all of you out there thinking “this Inkblot Ideas chick is totally forgetful and unreliable – she keeps saying she’s gonna post blog updates, and it’s Tuesday night, and still nada”: fair point.  However, it’s not for lack of trying.

I’ve been swamped this week (yes, yes, I know it’s only Tuesday) at work, trying to finish up some big projects in anticipation of Fall (with a capital F, because I ❤ Fall so much), and it’s been sucking my time.  So, last night and tonight I have been attempting to write from home.  My Mac is not cooperating.  It performed a demon update, and now is running at turtle speed.  And I CAN’T TAKE IT! I want to stab my pen through the screen.  You hear that, Apple?  Your tech be junk.

It has taken me twenty agonizing minutes just to write this much.  So I’m just letting y’all know that I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere, but by tomorrow, my Mac may be.  Either that, or CNN is going to report that John Connor has been kidnapped.  Because I’m inclined to believe that Skynet has taken over my computer.  It makes about as much sense as anything, at this point.