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Be sure to check out the other participants' picks by checking the linky on Katy, Jessica, Tracey, or Alison's pages.
Today we get down into the nitty-gritty of storytelling, narrative, and settings with ELEMENTS OF FICTION, including all the books we've read that were published in 2011.
Most Wonderful World-Building: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Laini Taylor crafts Prague into a place of gothic beauty and mystery right alongside a supernatural world every bit as real and grounded.
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld - It takes masterful world-building to create an alternate historical timeline, where World War I was fought with steam-powered, Clanker machines and fabricated Darwinist war beasts, and make it plausible. This is a fantastic, alternate vision of our world.
|Alek & His Stormwalker (c) Keith Thompson|
|Secrets in the Rookery (c) Keith Thompson|
- Honorable Mention: The Island of Thisby from The Scorpio Races. This place is entirely fictional but felt like it was REAL. I could smell the salt in the air, taste the sticky-sweetness of the November cakes, and hear the screams of the capaill uisce, the pounding of their hooves. I could see the windswept cliffs and the cozy town of Skarmouth, populated by the islanders and mainland tourists. Maggie Stiefvater made me believe that somewhere in the Atlantic there really is an island where water horses wash ashore every November.
Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to.): Wither by Lauren DeStefano - Girls die by age 20 in this world. So there is the constant threat of being kidnapped and sold into marriages or worse. Also, since we're both over 20, we'd both be dead. We want to live, dammit.
|Thx for the Prague montage, Wikipedia.|
Fairy-tale city. From the air, red rooftops hug a kink in a dark river, and by night the forested hills appear as spans of black nothing against the dazzle of the lit castle, the spiking Gothic towers, the domes great and small. The river captures all the lights and teases them out, long and wavering, and the side-slashing rain blurs it all to a dream.
This was Akiva's first sight of Prague...
Best First Line: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater -
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
Best Use of Theme: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - This book is everything I (Krispy) wanted and hoped it would be. It's a story of a place and a community, of a way of life, of a girl and her horse and her struggle to keep her family together, of a boy and his horse and the true bond between them. It's about wanting and needing, about tradition and breaking tradition, about sacrifice and bravery and loyalty and love. With the island of Thisby as their backdrop and the races as their shared goal, Puck and Sean's story lines compliment each other, teasing out everything they care about and everything Thisby is to them.
I can't put it better than the lovely Erin Bowman, who not only put this book on my radar but gave me my own copy of it (I won her giveaway):
"What an absolutely beautiful story about love and sacrifice and the things that bind us together..."
- Honorable mentions: Daughter of Smoke and Bone for its interweaving of hope, magic, and the need to belong somewhere even if its among monsters. Divergent for its exploration of selflessness and bravery, flaws and virtues, and the complicated paths of family and self-discovery.
And lo, those are our choices for best elements of fiction. What are your picks?
See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the Superlatives blogfest! The topic? Best in Show! (Side note from Alz: Krispy is still freaking out over Scorpio Races even as we blog this. I need to read it.)
Superlative Blogfest RECAP:
Head of Class