The Genre Dilemma

I’m at a dilemma. After reading The Mime Order I’m kind of stuck in a rut due to my current love of the supernatural.

I ought to give you the whole backstory. You see, I have a predisposition of getting obsessed with a genre and sticking to it for a really long time until I get bored with it and move on. I do this a lot – the most memorable and long obsessions began about two years ago, when I started reading books about Asian culture.

It all started with the wonderful Amy Tan and her first novel The Joy Luck Club which chronicled a group of older female Chinese immigrants and their daughters in San Francisco. I had actually read an excerpt of the novel and was absolutely fascinated to the point where I just had to read the book. It was, and remains, one of my favorite books of all time. It’s heart warming, heart breaking, and everything in-between.

After that I decided to read her newest book The Valley of Amazement about a Chinese/American woman living and working in multiple courtesan houses. Now this book was incredible. I’ve mentioned before that a great book makes you feel as though you’re the character. That their pain is your pain, that their activities are your activities. That is exactly what happened here. I felt so connected with the main character that I actually took the book with me places so I could read while I was waiting for appointments or classes or whatever I had going on that day. I would literally break down in tears while in public reading this book. In fact, I was waiting for a class to start (I had two hours before it started) and decided I would buckle up and read the rest of the novel. I finished it in an hour and a half, and spent the next thirty minutes crying in the women’s restroom. It, too, was spectacular. Absolutely amazing, and gut wrenching at the same time.

Soon I had read nearly all of Tan’s books (I only have one of her books left! I’m saving it for the perfect time!) and was watching a documentary on olden days China on Netflix when I came across a documentary on Geisha girls in Japan. Oh my god was I fascinated. I was so fascinated that when I finished the documentary I immediately ordered Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, who was featured in the film. I was so entranced by his novel that I actually ended up writing an entire essay based on Geishas and their customs. It took a lot of documentaries and a lot of books, but I couldn’t have been happier doing that research.

So, for me at least, finding a subject that I enjoy and want to learn more about means reading a ton of novels based on the topic. My sister and I even went to Boston and I saw a woman reading a book on the subway based on a Japanese family’s life over the span of something crazy like 100 years, and I took note of the book and author so that when we got home I could buy the book. That happened about 7 months ago. I was on this Asian kick for nearly a year. I was that obsessed.

Now, I’ve moved on to supernatural/fantasy novels, usually young adult. I’ve always loved this genre – I mean my blog name is based off of a line from Harry Potter! But last January when I read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, I began to slowly integrate fantasy novels into my repertoire, until it became all I was reading. I read books in the meantime (and I’ll admit some of them were about Asian culture – you never get rid of a love!) but I waited an entire year for the Bone Season sequel to come out. That was “my precious.” Then I finally got and read the sequel, The Mime Order, all I want now is for the next book. My next “precious.”

And this is where the dilemma begins. After reading such an wonderful novel, it’s so hard to find something similar that can live up to my expectations. So, I can either stick to my guns and continue reading supernatural/fantasy novels (I’m currently almost done with The Maze Runner by James Dashner) or I can reach out and find a new topic to hone in on. I was thinking of switching over to romance novels – I just bought One Day by David Nicholls, or perhaps a John Green novel… but then fantasy novels are just amazing, and so exciting to read! Dilemma, dilemma…

Let me know what you guys think. Maybe I’ll start taking some suggestions!

In the meantime, let’s get reading! Until next time.

Rachel

The Mime Order Review!

Hooray!!! I’ve finished The Mime Order!!! It was absolutely incredible. Samantha Shannon’s first book was wonderful – a powerful depiction of human survival instincts. Her second book is honestly even better – a powerful depiction of human manipulation and deception.

It’s always a little weird after you finish a book. It’s almost like the world around you is exactly the same – going on as usual as if you haven’t just had deep emotional trauma the past week you’ve been reading the book. No one quite understands that feeling of absolute shock, of having to tell everyone you know that right now you’ve just experienced something that only a book can do: get you involved into an entirely new world, only to have that world shatter beneath you. It’s both a horrible feeling, and, in a weird way, a wonderful one.

It took me a total of 10 days to read the 500 page book. I was reading maybe two or three chapters almost every night, so it took a lot longer than it did for me to read The Bone Season, which had about the same amount of pages, but only took me 3 days to read. Looking back on it, I’m glad it took me ten days because that’s 7 less days that I’ll be wishing I had another one of her books! I mean, holy cliffhanger…!

Shannon has an estimated five more books until she completes the series. I, for one, can’t wait. After reading The Bone Season last January, I claimed it as one of my all-time favorite books. The second I started reading The Mime Order I started to lean more towards the excellence of the sequel. By the end of the book I was in love. The last hundred pages or so are just mind boggling. It’s so intense that I was literally sitting in bed biting the inside of my lip so hard that it bled. It was so fantastic, such an awesome novel. This has easily become one of my top favorite books of all time, and that includes the first novel of the series, giving Samantha Shannon some pretty decent reign over my favorite books.

In my studies, (*pushes glasses up my nose*) I’ve learned that a good author knows how to captivate you, to get you interested in the story, and to be excited reading it. But a great author brings you into the novel as if you could be any one of the characters, so that even the goings on in the story start to seem real! For example, as I was reading last night I felt this dread in my mind and actually thought to myself “oh my god. I have to compete in a scrimmage in a few hours!” before snapping myself out of it and realizing that I was certainly not competing in a scrimmage, but that Paige was. So a great author gets you to feel those exact emotions that a character is feeling. It’s not just you following a character around and hearing their story, but rather being a part of their story. This writing technique is something that Shannon excels at beyond anything else.

I have to say, though, now that I’m done with the book I’m almost at a loss for what to read! I have a ton of books that I own that I really want to read, but when I think about which one to choose I just say to myself, “It’s no Mime Order… It’s no Paige and Warden.” So touchè, Samantha Shannon, touché. You’ve managed to keep me hooked for another year. The next book can’t come soon enough! Hurry it up, lady!

Until next time (with a new book!),

Rachel

A Brief Update

Hello blog family! I’d like to give you all a brief update on The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. The reading itself is going rather slow since I only read at night before bed, and I’ve been ready to pass out the second I hit the mattress. That said, I am passed the halfway mark!!

I have to say that I’m sad that the reading is going so slowly (especially since I read the first book, The Bone Season, in three days because I read it nonstop) but I’m kind of excited about it too. It’s like watching all of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, but only one per couple of days, so you spend all day wondering what’s going to happen next. It’s that same cliffhanger type book and I’m only just over halfway done! So good.

The book has been incredible. I don’t want to jinx it yet, but so far I like this book even better than the first. It picked up exactly where it left off which I always think is a really cool way of starting a sequel IF you can do it right. The concept seems simple: wherever you left off, just pick up from there. But it seems like authors tend to get a little mixed up when they do that. I can understand it in some ways: you work really hard to have a cliffhanger ending – to make it stand out so the reader wants to read more immediately- that it’s hard to just pick up where you left off. It’s much easier to start the book a day or two after where the novel ended, or even in J.K. Rowling’s case for all of her Harry Potter books, it started right around Harry’s birthday, about a month after the ending. But when it’s done right, the author is able to convey an exciting start to the new book. That’s what has happened here.

Both of Samantha Shannon’s book are about 500 pages, so they’re long books to begin with, with a lot of content. But what she is able to do – which I think all writers aspire to be able to do – is write 500 pages of quality content that just makes you want to know more. This book just has it all, so far. I absolutely love it. If you’re looking for a light read, this isn’t it – it’s complex, it’s often very dark, and it has so many different terms and sayings that there is a glossary in the back of the book. But if you can read it, you will get so into it you won’t want to put it down. I only do so very reluctantly. Damn you sleep!!!

I’ll give you a whole bunch more information when I’m done with the book. But until then, I will give you my favorite line of the entire book so far. I read this line and thought “wow, that was an amazingly written sentence.”

“Dark blood was spilling from his neck, and no wonder: his head was nowhere to be seen.”

Until next time, ladies and gentlemen! Happy reading!

Rachel