Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Raging Star - Moira Young

Raging Star is the final book in the Dustlands trilogy. There may be spoilers for book one, Blood Red Road, and two, Rebel Heart. You have been pre-warned.

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

It's Saba's final fight and time is running out. It's time to free the slaves of New Eden and put a stop to the Pathfinder's reign. 

My Review

Before we start, I think my tweet to Moira Young sums up how I felt about this book.

I was so excited to pick up this book because I loved the first two so much. I could hardly put either of them down and I couldn't wait to see where the end of Saba's journey was going to take her. However, I was equally parts terrified because I knew I was going to feel like I'd lost a little part of myself when I finished it. I was more than right.

My standards were high and Young was up for the challenge. Incredibly, I think Raging Star was my favourite of the trilogy.

It was so easy to slip back into the story. I love all the characters so much and I was desperate to find out how everything was going to come together. It was like I'd put down Rebel Heart down only a few minutes before picking Raging Star up. In reality, it was almost a year ago that I read Rebel Heart.

As always, I loved Saba's character development. By the time I got to Raging Star I understood her so well I knew what she would do and what she would think about everything. She was real to me. I backed up all her decisions and cheered for her the whole way through. I think she's my ultimate literary best friend. I would love to know her. It's so rare to feel this close to a character. I feel blessed to have read about her.

The progression of the other characters is great too, especially Lugh and Emmi. I just can't believe how much I've been through with these characters. And I loved every single one. Saba, Lugh, Emmi, Jack, DeMalo, Nero, Molly, Ash. All of them. 

I don't really need to say this as the picture already does it for me but I cried so hard whilst reading Raging Star. Not only did it make me cry but it made me shout out and sob. I may as well have been holding Saba's hand the entire time. Her feelings have a direct path to my heart.

Again, this doesn't need saying but I finished it sobbing with tears rolling down my face. Raging Star had the most beautiful perfect ending. 

I hope one day I can make a person feel as much as Young made me feel during the course of Raging Star.


Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. This series was incredible from start to finish. I'm going to force it on all my friends. They can thank me later.

Would I look up the author? I already have. I can't wait for her to write something else. One thing's for certain, I'll read it.

The Dustlands trilogy has made it to my top ten book series of all time. That is not an easy thing to achieve. And Raging Star has joint place on my favourite book I've read this year with The Fault in Our Stars. Incredible, just incredible.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wonder - R.J. Palacio


My name is August.

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

My Review

Wonder is one of those books I've heard so much about that I was a little bit afraid to read it. 

However, the first few chapters had me hooked. I loved the easy chatter of August as the narrator and somehow Palacio has mastered August talking to us and yet not telling us too much, if that makes any sense. This is so difficult to achieve that I was in awe from the offset.

I was also pleased that Wonder had chapter names. I miss chapter names in books, I read so few these days. I think in this case it's probably because Wonder is aimed at a younger audience than I'm used to. Unfortunately, because of this, I felt it was lacking some depth. I suppose it didn't need anything more because August is only ten (ten years my junior as I post this!) but picking it up, I had no idea how young a character he was. As a reader of mostly teenage fiction, this took a little bit of getting used to.

August himself, and all the other characters, were easily understood and relatable, which was of course, good. But as most of them were ten-year-olds I didn't connect with them as I wish I could have. August's sister, Via, however, I felt very connected to. Saying this though, August reminded me of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that was a very beautiful thing.

The different point of views was a great surprise which I know I've now ruined but it was so important to see things from the other characters' perspectives. The story really needed that. I got on with all the point of views other than Justin, which I felt I could've done without. Maybe that was because I didn't like him very much. Plus, his point of view was devoid of capital letters which made me cringe.


8/10 overall.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was truly beautiful and makes you think.

Would I look up the author? No. It was written for people younger than myself.

Wonder was a beautiful, heart-warming story that makes you proud to be human.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Post #1

I have REALLY made a commitment to my NaNoWriMo novel. Yes, I updated my NaNo page. Scary, yes. I also set up my donation page and donated my usual $10 to get that all important halo on my profile. This year I've called it 'The Big Ten'.
I know. How crazy is that? 

This NaNoWriMo is super special to me because I will be writing my tenth novel and I'm terrified!

Celebrate with me by donating (or adding me as a buddy on NaNoWriMo) and your prize is this, the only thing I've written of my novel so far, the short synopsis for the NaNo site:

There are always a host of flowers on the side of the road, whether brand new or shrivelled from weeks of rest. Their appearance, though sad, was never odd. So when another wave of flowers showed up on the outskirts of my home town, I didn't pay much attention apart from a deep aching sadness within. It was only upon mentioning it in passing I realised something was wrong. I spoke to everyone but to no avail. 
Maybe I was going crazy but . . .
I was the only one who could see the flowers.

An ecstatic,

Molly Looby

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: Chancing the Truth

You made it! Here is the fourth and final post in my Immorality of Immortality blog post series. If you've missed the three before it, go and read the introduction so you know what's going on.
And here are the Playing with Reality and Gambling a Fairytale posts from last week and the week before.
This week it's Chancing the Truth, my absolute favourite for so many reasons! And I can't wait to share it with the world!

“We’ll never be free.  Only the end can release us.”

“Forget Adelina, Stephan’s the real god of this castle.  You disobey and you get punished.  You’re plunged into hell and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Unless of course he goes too far.  Unless of course you’re given something to live for.  Unless of course you’re strong enough to fight.
I wasn’t a year ago.
I am now.
I am Felix Hesper and I am in control."

Through the eyes of Felix, Damien and Lilya, the newest addition to the Senate, Chancing the Truth takes you on a journey to the heart wrenching finale of the Immorality of Immorality trilogy.

A Lot of Background

*You should know before I begin that I changed quite a lot of this to save you from too many spoilers.

Well ‘Chancing the Truth’, enter Lilya. What else can I start with? This new character changes everything and I am more excited about seeing what everyone thinks of her than I am about what everyone thinks of the plot.

I thought up the plot of CTT while still writing ‘Playing with Reality’. It essentially just continued from ‘Gambling a Fairytale’, which wrote itself in my head at the same time. The two seemed to come to me instantaneously. It may not seem like it, but I had to decide where one ended and the next begun. But of course that divide would be Lilya shaped.

I outlined the plot much the same as I did for GAF except there was a lot more of it meaning a lot more notes. I scribbled all over these pages. Well, let’s face it; I had a lot to cover. And no, I never thought it would ever be 500 pages long.

CTT was the most hands-on I think – note wise. I have notes for everything. But I did have a lot to do. I had chambers and clothes and back stories and all sorts. You see more of the Senate than ever before, which meant I had to walk around the corridors of the Senate with my eyes and my notebook open. Basically sitting at my desk with my eyes shut talking to Felix, Lilya and Damien (or myself if you want to be like that).

Not only this but I had to outline to myself in the greatest of detail the pasts of Stephan Hunter and Hugo Sharpe. I knew them – of course – but I needed every gory detail. That was a fun week I can tell you. Up to my eyeballs in Renaissance and Dark Ages research is always great.

More fun still was seeing how Damien coped not being Felix’s number one concern. This I found very interesting, and at points I felt I was the only one who loved him even through his stupidity.

Something new that came out while writing CTT was that I loved being girly with Lilya. You’ll notice she talks about her clothes more than the others. I loved imagining and describing her outfits, but in such a way that wasn’t girly. I loved that. I'd not really been able to do that before. I loved Lilya’s whole attitude.

I just adore Lilya.

Her chapters essentially wrote themselves. It was a job to keep up to be honest. And in comparison to this, writing Felix chapters always felt so much slower. I love Lilya’s chattiness. The way she speaks to the reader, she’s not just telling them a story, she’s holding a conversation. She's asking your opinion and imploring you to understand. That style is great fun to write.

The editing process for CTT was the most involved I’ve ever been in making my work perfect.The final draft of CTT is 60 pages and 15,000 words shorter than my first draft and it is so much better to read because of it. Everything means something and leads you somewhere, without missing any of the personality of the narrators.

After me and my reading team had spent a good seven weeks going through it, I was more confident than ever in my trilogy.

So in 2014 at 20 years old, I published ‘Chancing the Truth’, by myself this time, and at last, the ‘Immorality of Immortality trilogy’ was complete. *

*I know it's not out yet but it's coming. I swear. Before Christmas!

So now you know some of what I went through when I sat and decided yes, I wanted to write a book about vampires. Not only that, I wanted to prove that I could achieve anything. To this day, I've written four books since finishing 'Chancing the Truth' and it's still perfect in my eyes. That's saying something pretty powerful. CTT, like all the others, changed me as a writer. Maybe it'll change you as the reader. Just you wait and see.

Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality trilogy
Immorality of Immortality Facebook page

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Immorality of Immortality: Gambling a Fairytale

Welcome back and thank you for joining me in this continuation of my descriptions of what it was like to write the Immorality of Immortality trilogy. Too long an intro? Whatever. This week it's book two: Gambling a Fairytale! Like Playing with Reality, Gambling a Fairytale can now be found on Kindle for 77p! It is also in paperback.

And here's the introductory blog post if you missed that too. If you did, where have you been?

“Life just isn’t fair.  And death is no exception.”

“The unknown is filled with darkness and darkness is where nightmares become reality.

Sometimes you awake from nightmares.  But sometimes you’re not so lucky."

Through the eyes of both Felix and Damien, Gambling a Fairytale leaves you breathless as the trilogy continues.

A Lot of Background

So after ‘Playing with Reality’ there was a lot of work to do.  In the process of writing PWR, Felix and Damien fed me information about what happened next: ‘Gambling a Fairytale’ and ‘Chancing the Truth’.  I knew straight away that GAF was going to be very difficult to write as it was going to break my heart in places.

I had to write the plot out in bullet points with gaps between so when I got round to it I could fill in the spaces.  Now this page has arrows everywhere as with GAF one thing really does lead to another.

The thing that was most certain was that I’d have to introduce Damien as a narrator.  Now this was something I was very excited about.  Not only do you get to know things that Felix doesn’t know (you gotta love dramatic irony) but you also get to know Damien personally.  Maybe his mind works a little differently than you expected, or perhaps you hit the nail on the head and he’s everything you’d thought he’d be.  Either way, Damien’s point of view is vital for the progression of the story.  And as you can image, he was chatty in my head.  His chapters were always faster to write that Felix’s.  Damien talks more and thinks less.  But less about what you already know.

The experience was very different from PWR because I wasn’t waiting for pieces of plot.  I had everything, I just had to fit it altogether.  This did frustrate me eventually and I stopped writing it about twenty-per-cent of the way in.  After a couple of months however, I got over myself and created James* to push me in the right direction.
The reason for this character, as well as the little nudge to finish off this story, was that my boyfriend was appalled that he hadn’t had a character named after him.  How could I not oblige?  He is my illustrator after all.

*Luckily for me, James made the plot make a lot more sense!

I’ve never been more glad that I stuck to it, because once I’d started again, that was it.  I couldn’t stop.  For anything.  I fell in love again and cried when my characters did.  It was emotional for all of us, GAF, I can tell you that.  I felt like a part of me died when I’d finished it.

Phew.  A breather was needed.

So I wrote a zombie book: ‘ZA’.*

Yep, between finishing GAF in October 2011 and starting CTT in January 2012, I wrote a novel.  If I was going to be accurate I wrote it between the first and the twenty-ninth of November.  This is was, of course, NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) 2011 was my first wrimo and I've done it every year since. It's too rewarding not to!

*ZA can now be found on Kindle for 77p and the first few chapters are on Movellas.

After a very painful and long editing process (which took me until 2013!) I was absolutely certain that GAF was ready and that both Damien and Felix were looking their best.  It was then I published GAF in February 2013.

So that's Gambling a Fairytale, a book that improved my writing in a remarkable way. I learnt to stick with it and write and carry on regardless. I must've taught myself something because it's never taken me as long to write a book than it took to write GAF. GAF was a lesson I had to learn and I realised, even more, how much I wanted to be an author.

Next week's the exciting one. Chancing the Truth (still coming soon Autumn 2014)

Molly Looby
Author of the Immorality of Immortality trilogy