Sunday, March 2, 2014
2 novels-Seanan McGuire and Lisa Shearin-with NYC and myth beasties.
This post has a longer title but I didn’t want to make it too long up there. But it’s “Two novels that use a New York full of mythological creatures-some friendly some not-for a setting--oh yes there is a dragon in both.”
I happened to be reading both at the same time it it struck me that it was as if someone told each writer to use the same premise. As the title says A New York City with the usual people but added on are creatures of various types that are mythological. The female hero who works for someone has to fight the bad ones and befriend the good ones. Oh yes and add a dragon. I haven’t finished either yet but I know I will be reading the next one.
Next I want to say that none of this is a criticism. Both stories are different: heroes, backgrounds, bad guys, event that is bad, dragons too but that is all I will say about that now. And even though the first one I will discuss was done first, months ago, I am not saying it’s bad that they are similar. We writers do get ideas from other writers and use basically the same plot but with our imprint on it. I do that in my upcoming Indie novel. Second, I want to say that I will be attempting to not put in any spoilers, except for a couple of small ones that don’t amount to much.
So now to the books:
“Discount Armageddon” by Seanan McGuire.
It its the first in the InCryptid series. The second one is out and if it is not out now the third one will be soon. Two small spoilers here. The girl on the cover is wearing that outfit because she is a dancer. And McGuire has an unique take on talking mice. Fun stuff there. Which is all I will say about that.
Not at all like the October Daya books also by McGuire. If you haven’t read them--do it--great stuff there. But these are more light hearted but yet serious. The writing is good--keeps me reading beyond the time I wanted to read. The good guy “InCryptids” are sometimes hard to tell but that is how McGuire wanted it. I say good guy but actually they are neither. All they want is to be left alone to live their lives; they wouldn’t attack humans so are not danger.
The illustrations she uses are good, the action scenes could be used as a model, the type of danger can be unpredictable. Sometimes you know something is going to happen but it’s not what you expect. McGuire does well with placing the background of Verity (the hero). There is a touch of romance--maybe more than a touch--in this one which isn’t in the other. At least so far. Verity doesn’t have any special powers--not a wizard either--but has been trained all her life to fight the dangerous InCryptids.
I could say more but I would have to use examples from the book and as I said I don’t want to do spoilers.
Now to “The Grendel Affair” by Lisa Shearin. It’s the first in a series that just came out Jan 1. Or maybe Dec 30 but close enough for here. If she got the idea for this book from the Incrypid series I think it’s good. She put her own stamp on the idea with no need to borrow from McGuire except for perhaps the premise.
Lisa has one other series out-no single books-and again if you have not read her other one . The fantasy “Raine Benares series” do so. She knows how to write; maybe not quite as good as McGuire but not far behind. It is worth reading.
Grendel, as I mentioned, takes place in New York City. The female hero doesn’t dance though and hasn’t been trained to fight creatures and she has one power. She is a seer-not a predictor of the future but she can see through glamours so no creature can hide from her. And this one isn’t lighthearted. But as it with McGuire’s some creatures are very bad while others just want to live their lives and aren’t dangerous, however some are good guys in this one.
As with McGuire Shearin knows how to write: she is great at putting her characters in danger and getting them out, her fight scenes are good, she describes things and events well. Today I kept reading longer than I had planned. I needed to know how that scene ended. A tractor in NYC? It had already been set up that Makenna comes from a back ground that it is not surprising that she knows how to drive one. Shearin keeps her characters reacting and talking as she set them up in the beginning.
Again I could say more but would need to use examples. Shearin has an interesting reason that Makenna uses stairs not elevators--yecch even if it didn’t happen to her. Shearin comes up with some interesting comments for her hero to make which I believe add to the story. Something in the Raine books. This book is worth reading and as I said I will read the next one.