Archive for January, 2012

January 26, 2012

Demi-Monde: Winter

As much as I hate to start a review with a definition, I think that it’s appropriate in this setting.

“a shadow world where the norms of civilised behaviour have been abandoned. It is often the artistic and intellectual cliques who are thought to inhabit the Demi-Monde as these are populated by those individuals who find it difficult to accept/obey the precepts and morality of “civilised” society.”

or

“Hell”

The first definition is the sociological explanation that covers Demi-Monde as a phrase, and the second is Rod Rees’ definition of the setting for his novel. The literal translation of Demi-Monde is Half-World, and Rees takes all three of the definitions presented, and creates a world that is the complete opposite of what we think is right and good. The thing that I think is the most interesting about the world Rees’ created is that it’s a combination of all the periods of our own history. The results are drastic, particularly places them in a world where technology is readily available, and there is a peculiar thirst for blood. I mean that literally, the denizens of the Demi-Monde are require

d to ingest a certain amount of blood to survive. In this reality political systems that never came to fruition because society rejected them are the norm. HimPerialism, and HerEticalism, are the main political systems of the Demi-Monde, that are controlled by Beria, and Empress Wu respectively.

However the Demi-Monde isn’t representation of an alternate reality in which this all came to fruition. It’s a virtual reality, a computer based training camp for the U.S. military to give it’s untrained soliders the chance to experience a real world combat situation. Ella Thomas is the lucky  young woman whose life gets turned upside-down when she is sent to the Demi-Monde on a mission from the government. She is an African-American woman, whose singing voice, intelligence, and appearance are used to the advantage of the U.S. military in a rescue mission. They send her in as a “shade chirp” aka a black jazz singer, and her sole mission is to find and retrive the daughter  of the U.S. President, who was tricked into entering the Demi-Monde. She of course is dragged into so much more than what she expected, and she and the characters you meet along the way prove to be instrumental in the fate of the people of the Demi-Monde and the real world as well.

I had the second novel shipped from England because I needed to continue the story, and I will be reviewing that as soon as it gets here, and i’ve read it. (fingers crossed for February 7th)

Get Demi-Monde at AbeBooks!
It’s also 1.99 on the Kindle on Amazon, but supporting small independent bookstores is more important.

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January 23, 2012

Queries

Queries are the backbone of any literary agent’s business. As long as they are accepting queries, they are open for business, thereby there is even the slightest possibility that an author can get their book represented and subsequently published. As a result of that there are plenty of articles written on how to write they ever important query for an author. On the opposite hand, aspiring agents (like me) aren’t so lucky. How are we supposed to know if we should request pages? I think it’s a matter of personal taste, but it’s not just about what you prefer. If you’re working for an agent, and they have specific guidelines (ie: romantic fiction, or science fiction) you have to accept or reject queries based on their tastes as well.

Long story short, keep that in mind if you’re trying to get an internship with an Agent, they way you answer the queries they send you is important

If you don’t know what a literary agent is/does Nathan Bransford gives a pretty good general overview on his blog!

January 18, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is the long and short of Divergent. If you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy in any capacity you will find parallel themes and ideas, and because of that you might not like the series. However there are a few distinct reasons to read Divergent, and then maybe give the rest of the series a try if you feel up to it.
The main character Beatrice is the classic girl under the thumb of her society. In her case unlike Katniss, the society isn’t an evil main government, but a Puritanical faction called the Abnegation who are billed as The Selfless. Now if you think that is a made up word, it’s not. the definition of Abnegation is the act of renouncing or rejecting something, or self denial. She, like any proper teenaged girl feels as if she is being repressed by her society, and envies, despite her teachings, the freedom of other factions, particularly that of the Dauntless. Of course as there is in most dystopian novels, the government gives their young a chance to choose their future, and in Divergent there is an aptitude test that places the young in a neat set of boxes, and gives them the chance to choose one of two factions. Beatrice has her mind made up early in the novel. She cannot stand the life of self-deprecation she is forced to live as a part of the Abnegation, all of which is proven early on in the way she studies herself in the only mirror in her house while her mother trims her hair, or the easy way she lies to others. In a true puritanical style those things are both frowned upon in her faction. So when the aptitude test every student must take allows her choose another faction she takes it.

This is also where the title come into effect. Divergent is the title she’s given. It means that though the majority of the population can only choose between two factions, she can choose between three. For a reason not explained till the end of the novel Divergence is a dangerous thing. That is all that is explained to Beatrice, and to the reader, and it ends up becoming a background feature of the book’s plot-line until nearly the end of the novel. What I found more interesting, and what is essentially made to keep the readers atten

tion, is the character development in Beatrice, her instructor Four, and the Dauntless as a whole.
Beatrice chooses to become Dauntless in the faction ceremony, and it allows the reader an in depth look into the differences between them, her original faction, and the other factions. While the Dauntless are billed as more or less the “Cool Kids” they’re the faction who call themselves brave. Don’t get me wrong on the surface they are. They’re brave for facing their fears, for doing the things that most other people woul

d refuse to do, and most of all they’re brave for defending the colony. However the novel reveals some breaks in the Dauntless ranks that show the cracks in the fundamentals of not just their faction, but the whole society that Beatrice lives in.
I won’t go on, lest I get into the meat of the novel, but that is essentially why Divergent is a

book that should be read. It allows the reader the chance to really get to know the society, and its functions before showing the breakdown. The characters are multidimensional and quite interesting to get to know, and though I didn’t love every little thing about the story; as an overall piece, it’s worth reading. It’s definitely one of those “I read this whole novel in one sitting” books, and the action scenes are also impeccably written

Buy: On AbeBooks

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