Discussion: My Perfect Supernatural Book

discussion

FOREVER ago, I did a really fun discussion post all about my favorite fantasy books and what exactly makes up the perfect fantasy book in my mind. I always meant to continue this with different genres of books and it is finally time to talk about another genre, maybe even a subset of fantasy – supernatural.

For some reason, every time I start thinking about supernatural books, my mind immediately jumps to Twilight. Vampires and werewolves are the two featured there, but there are so many other types of supernatural creatures. Just a few that I have read include wizards, faeries, mermaids, and more. I think that this genre is really fascinating because it continues to grow in many ways. There are endless options to look at these creatures and integrate them into our world or a whole new one.

What are some of the aspects that I am looking for in the perfect supernatural book?

  1. A system that makes sense! This is critical because it is the backbone of the entire story. If I don’t understand the creature or the rules they live by, it will ruin the entire book for me. I am pretty easy to convince of something (which may or may not be a good thing) and finding plotholes is not something I try to do, but if it is really obvious, I have a big issue with that!
  2. A relationship with humans or the non-paranormal that also makes sense. In most cases, this is just their inability to be seen and I am okay with that. But it really shouldn’t be obvious that they exist if it is supposed to be a secret. For example, the Twilight vampires! How has no one but Bella made the connection before? Especially if there are some really damaging action scenes, I need a real world explanation for all of us mundanes out here.
  3. Some really interesting plot/conflict! Of course, this is the perfect key to most books, but here it is really essential. I get pretty bored by books that are JUST about supernatural creatures doing their thing, so having some type of conflict is great. It can be between humans and the supernatural, but I really prefer when they aren’t!
  4. Characters who already know about their powers. I really enjoy reading about characters who already know the supernatural world and the system, instead of focusing on the characters discovering their powers. There’s nothing wrong with it, as it seems to be the focus of most supernatural books, but I would love to see some from people established within their abilities!

These are just four of the parts of supernatural books that I look forward to reading in these types of books. Some of my favorites that exemplify some of these qualities include:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)      The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)      Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)      Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)      The Host (The Host, #1)

And a couple on my TBR that I hope can becoming a new favorite supernatural book:

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)     The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)     The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)    Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)      The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

What do you think makes a good supernatural book? And what are some of your favorites?

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Discussion: My Perfect Fantasy Book

discussionRecently, I was thinking about some of the aspects that make up my favorite books. What common themes or tropes do I love in various genres? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about some different genres I read (like romance, contemporary, dystopian, sci fi) and what my favorite books in that genre have. It’ll be a little like assembling the perfect book for that genre! Today, I’ll be talking about my perfect fantasy book.

Some of my favorite YA fantasies include:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Things I’m Looking For in a PERFECT YA Fantasy:

  1. A well developed world system. Logically, I want everything to make sense, but I also want it to be revealed to the reader in a slow manner. I hate info-dumping with pages and pages of world building. Most of the time, fantasies feature a character entering into a brand new world, but I also like it when they are already involved in the world (i.e. Vampire Academy).
  2. Strong characters. Fantasies need that perfect blend of a character that is well suited to showcase the world and vice versa. I love it when they compliment each other, seeming like both gain something from each other. I always am on the lookout for why that particular character was chosen to tell this story.
  3. Concise, clear action scenes. I hate when these are a jumbled mess with characters and fighting everywhere. I want to be able to see everything just like a movie scene. Keeping the characters straight is important.
  4. And on that note, having a clear and distinct villain. Villains are essential to a good fantasy. I want them to have good motivation, a strong appeal, and to be well developed. Just like the main character must be of the world, so must the villain.
  5. A beautiful writing style. Some of my favorites are so atmospheric that they draw me right in – like Camp Halfblood or the London Shadowhunter Institute. I want to be completely involved with the world.
  6. A captivating story. This is something that makes me put the whole real world aside and want to keep jumping back with these characters. It is totally involved and immersive. I want to never put the book down.

What qualities are you looking for in a YA fantasy?

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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Review

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles #1)

Published Little Brown and Company 2009

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: Hardback

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Is falling in love the beginning . . . or the end?

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .

There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head . . . Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998After reading Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins about a month ago, I have been in a really bad book hangover. I just wanted something that was set in the deep south and had some paranormal aspects again when I turned to my shelf…and there it was. Beautiful Creatures. So, putting aside my fear of the huge page number (it’s a little over 500 pages), I decided to pick it up.

And I’m super happy I decided to pick it up! I really loved this book. I already saw the movie before picking up the book, so I knew a little about what would happen. If you are having some trouble pushing through this huge book, I would suggest watching the movie (unless you are extremely opposed to watching the movie before the book. I found it helped in this case however). It really helps give you some motivation so you will keep reading. Anyway, there were plenty of great things that I liked.

First, the writing style was really interesting. Most of the time, a book like this would be set from Lena’s perspective, so I liked that we got Ethan’s instead. It was refreshing to get the guy’s perspective and I feel like the book benefits a lot from this. First, I loved both Gaitlin (the city) and the Caster world Ethan became exposed to throughout everything. It was a nice way to introduce the world as well, without too much unnecessary backstory. Plus, I feel like it’s generally the boy  with the supernatural powers (aka a vampire, an alien, a werewolf), so I liked having a girl with some super cool witch powers. The entire world beneath the city felt really interesting. Seeing how everyone was connected, either by bloodline or being tied into the Caster community, felt like it used the setting of the book to its fullest advantage. I love when the setting is a huge factor in books and plays along with everything, just like a character would. This delivered on that.

Some reviews have said that this book was slow, but I feel like that was also a really smart way of developing the story. The slow, dull town was suddenly awoken by the powerful Caster world and that was reflected in the writing style. It picks up towards the end, especially as everything begins to unravel. Even with that, the story is set over a long time period. I liked being able to see their relationship develop over time because I could connect with the characters and Lena/Ethan’s romance. Being able to stick with the characters and discover the world over a long period felt more real than in some other fantasy books where the entire world is discovered within a matter of days. Especially with as complex as the Caster world, I’m excited to see where everything goes in the next book.

The characters were really relatable. Like I said, Ethan was great. He had a very strong voice. The Southern elements of this book were also fun and well appreciated (from a Southerner). Lena was also a very interesting character and I liked seeing her internal turmoil over going light or dark. The side characters all brought a strong vibe with them as well, like Macon, Amma, Marian, Ridley, and Link. None of them fell to the side, but they all were well served minor characters. The plot and world building was also great.

Overall, I really loved this book! I am excited to continue on with this series. It was exactly what I was looking for – especially with the great world building, intriguing writing style, and captivating characters!

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