Book #1 in the Songstress Trilogy
The Story...

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Abby Carson thought she had her secret under control. Who cares if after “the change” took place, she became so beautiful that all the girls at school hated her. And the boys, well, when they look at her, hate isn't exactly what's going through their minds.

But when Abby witnesses a teenage girl's murder by a preternatural creature off the coast of Cape Cod, her carefully controlled life slips into chaos. Hiding in the water until the killer's gone is a must. Getting spotted by Brian Baker, a boy from school, isn't. Neither is falling in love with him. That definitely wasn't part of the plan.

Combine all this with the mysterious mermaid box Abby receives as a postmortem birthday gift from her dad, and she's pulled even deeper into the world of shades and monsters. Once the full force of Abby's deadly siren powers are revealed, the only one she can hurt more than herself is the boy she loves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Torment... Back-story and the Series Writer's Dilemma

 I just finished Lauren Kate's Torment, and I have to say that, though I liked Fallen more, this book was still a fun read. The plot was engaging, and I especially enjoyed the time traveling sections. However, Kate's writing wasn't as crisp as it was in Fallen, and the love story between Luce and Daniel began to grow a bit stale.

The biggest reason I read Torment was that I wanted to see how much of Fallen's back-story Kate put into the book. Usually when I read a series, I read all the books in a quick succession, and so I often skip over back-story info that I already know. However, since I'd read Fallen over a year ago and many of the plot intricacies were no longer fresh in my mind, I was really interested in seeing how Kate handled the great back-story dilemma. (Since I'm currently writing the sequel to my own novel, I'm dealing with this situation right now. I'm finding that, as a writer, you really have to strike the right balance so that you're not boring the reader with too much back-story, but, at the same time, you're not providing so little that he/she is completely lost.)

Kate was actually pretty smart in how she handled the back-story in Torment. She basically spread out the important bits of Fallen throughout Torment's first seventy pages, while, at the same time, she began building Torment's plot trajectory. This method was very successful because it made it virtually impossible for the reader to be hit over the head with too much information that he/she already knew. Plus, Kate sustained the readers interest by moving Torment's plot forward instead of just treading water while she reminded the reader about what had happened in the previous book. (I've read a couple novels where writers struggled with this, and it's really slowed down the beginnings of their books.)

So, in the technical back-story sense, I think Lauren Kate did an excellent job. Am I still in love with the series's storyline? Unfortunately, no. Fallen really gripped me, but this could be because Luce and Daniel's romance was fresher then. I think it's going to be very hard for Kate to maintain their relationship's intensity throughout four book, but we'll see.

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