Our Favorites Are Not Perfect

I absolutely adore Maggie Stiefvater. She is my #1 favorite author. My queen. The Moon of my life! I read The Raven Cycle no exaggeration, at least once every two-three months. I adore the world she has made, I love the characters, I love Will Patton. I love her art. You get the idea. I adore Maggie Stiefvater.

But just because Maggie is my favorite, does not neccissarily mean that I believe her writing is the best thing I’ve ever read. In fact, I think the opposite. Her writing can be very, very wordy. Sometimes often flowery, and a tad bit overdramatic. I can admit that. I accept that. Her writing flows, and she tells her story in the best way that she knows how.

I wouldn’t call her a “guilty pleasure” because she’s very much not. I am not guilty at all for loving Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. I love Blues family. I love the magical realism, unapologetically. And yet, there are so many flaws. And I take them for what they are. It does not mean I love anything about it any less.

TRC is not the only work I’ve read by Maggie. I’ve also read the first book in the Shiver series, The Scorpio Races, and now I’m lucky enough to have an ARC of “All The Crooked Saints.” I haven’t finished it yet, but while I was reading all of these I noticed some things all of these stories have in common.

There is no way of distinguishing which character you’re inside the head of, unless Maggie spells it out for you on the page. The character that sticks out the most distinctly for me out of all these works? Ronan. Ronan is the only character I’ve come across with her that has his own little inner monologue, narrator, head voice, whatever you would prefer to call it.- And I’m not just saying that because he is my favorite either.

You know you’re in Ronan Lynch’s head, not just because he dreams, but because of his mannerisms. He’s the typical bad boy, the only one I’ve spotted so far, that has his own voice on the page. Because he’s so different from the rest of the characters.

I also decided to stay away from Shiver because I don’t know what it is about Young Adult werewolves,  but they just don’t mix with me. Not a fan of them, and so needless to say, I found Shiver very boring.

I was so very excited to read The Scorpio Races. Then I started reading it, and I became very much less excited. Why? Not because horses were eating people! But because I just couldn’t tell the difference between the two characters when the POV changed. I’d forget who was who. It became exhausting to flip back and fourth to go “Oh okay, thats what character I’m listening to. I gave this book two chances, and I’m considering giving it a third.

The read through I attempted was just the book itself. I stopped reading a few chapters in for the reason’s I listed above. I let the book sit around for a few months and after looking at it hopefully for awhile, I decided to give the audiobook a try. Maybe that could help me know who was who!- Well, it certainly solved the whole “Who’s Point of View am I reading from” issue. And this time around, I managed to tough it out, and get through it. However, I didn’t really enjoy it. I couldn’t get past the “sameness” of it all.

i’m noticing this slightly less with ATCS. I love how Maggie always has some sort of animal in her work. It shows her passion and enthusiasm for wildlife! (And also cars if you read TRC.)

So why am I writing this? Because I still love her. I still put her at the top of my “favorite Author” list. Despite all these flaws. Despite her not being the best writer, her ability to write realistic characters, and have a passion for them. To make them feel real, makes all the difference in the world to me. Sure, they might have a “sameness” to their monologues. But that doesn’t make me love them, or her any less.

Our favorites are never going to be perfect, and it’s important to acknowledge that. We can love something to heaven, hell, and back again, but it’s never going to be perfect.

Don’t shy away from acknowledging your favorite authors flaws. Embrace them with open arms, and never, ever feel like you have to apologize for it. Just remember to acknowledge that they exist.

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Our Dark Duet Review

**The first half of this review will be what I would consider to be spoiler free. All major spoilers will be put under a read more tag to discuss all major character deaths and things of that nature. Those are what I consider spoilers.**

Our Dark Duet is the second and final book in the “Monsters of Verity” Duology . The fist book in the series is This Savage Song.

Our Dark Duet synopsis as it is on the dust jacket:

Kate Harker isn’t afraid of Monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it. August Flynn once yearned to be human. But no longer. He has a part to play, and he will play it. No matter what the cost. The war has begun. The Monsters are winning. Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new Monster is waiting- one that feeds on chaos and brings out it’s victims inner demons. Which will be harder to concor: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

Let’s talk about character development and how it was done really, really well with August, because he was the one I felt had the most ups and downs overall over the two books. Yes, Kate certainly had her fair share of it. Not nearly as much as August though.

August has essentually taken up Leos position- and since you’re reading this review, I think it’s fairly safe to assume that you already know that Leo is dead. If you have not read the first book in the series, then well.- That happens and now you know. August also has Leo’s voice constantly going through his head. At first, I thought the poor boy might be experiencing some sympotoms of PTSD. Over the course of the book, and by the time the book broke back into part two, I firmly believe that Leo’s soul perminantly resides in August, and he listens.

This was one of the most frustrating things . Augusts’ dramatic personality change during the first part of the book and about halfway through part two, after Kate’s return, he comes to his senses, and sort of tunes Leo out. Then we get to see the August we knew and fell in love with during TSS. I understand the change. I just didn’t find the progression of in all that natural. That being said- In his defense, it very well could simply be because Sunai are naturally controlling. Leo being as manipulative as he is, probably progressed the change. And in a way, August just kind of accepted and gave in.

He starts to back peddle a bit when he is reunited with Kate, as stated before. Kate knocks sense back into him, and Leo has less of a hold over him. Kate gave August back his “humanity” and I think it’s a wonderful display of friendship. It shows just how much Kate means to August.

Kate, had very little character development in comparison, however I also felt that not much character development was needed with her. She had spent a good chunk of her life fighting, and inner turmoil.  The best character development seen from Kate is that she can finally bring herself to let people in. To accept help when she needs it.

Although the reader doesn’t get to hear all that much from the newer characters, (With the exception of Alice) they were all good. Which leads me to believe that this might not be the last we see from Verity. Somewhere in the future- perhaps not the near future with everything Victora has on her plate for the next few years. It’s a fairly safe assumption that there will at the very least, be a short novella.

For those of you who love Diversity! A new Sunai has arrived! And they go by they/them pronouns!

That concludes the spoiler free discussion of this book. If you have not finished Our Dark Duet, proceed with caution. I will be discussing the ending, and who did not make it to see the end of the series.

I believe the epic conclusion is worth the read!

Links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble provided for convenience. Not sponsored in any way!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab/1124651131

Continue reading “Our Dark Duet Review”