martes, 12 de junio de 2018

THE SUMMER OF THE SISTERS (TGWDM)

Planeta
releases in Spain in summer



The book won the 2017 Newbery Medal in the US, which may have (given the unchanging iron law of supply and demand) something to do with its rights being given to European publishing companies.
A chase, a quest, an arranged murder: The story is so well plotted the pages fly by.
Barnhill’s language is lyrical and reminiscent of traditional fairy tales, but ­never childish or stereotypical. Magic abounds, both beautiful and dangerous. Enchanted but enigmatic images appear on rocks, and there are seven-league boots so “black . . . they seemed to bend the light.” Almost every female character turns out to have some supernatural ability when needed, but maybe that is another hidden truth: We have the power to make things happen. Speak up. Ask questions. Trust your instincts. Valuable instructions for any reader.
“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” is as exciting and layered as classics like “Peter Pan” or “The Wizard of Oz.” It too is about what it means to grow up and find where we belong. The young reader who devours it now just for fun will remember its lessons for years to come.
But the Lemony narration style is not the only quirk that drew me to The Girl who Drank the Moon: the mention in the review of "a ruthless all-female ­military force," which plays a major role in the plot, as also kept me on tenterhooks. Given that the style and setting, the Ruritanian/quaint Protectorate, place this novel on the map as a retraux flintlock/gaslamp fantasy, I am already wondering what the uniform of this force and its ranks are like -and the ideas of brightly-coloured coats paired with breeches and spats, and the classic Western military ranks we got from the French, are not only catnip for Yours Truly, but also the most likely scenario!-. No, the pet dragon or the origami cranes that fly and give real nasty paper cuts matter nothing to me, but the all-female military -ranks, uniforms, characters within the institution- keeps me on impatient tenterhooks. And, furthermore, there's the fact that at least one high-ranking officer in this all-female military force, like a general or colonel, has such supernatural powers. ****Lesbian Othello AU anyone?****
But now I see that maybe they turn out to be warrior nuns. I WANT NO NUNS. GUNS BEFORE NUNS. GUNS B4 NUNS.
The Sisters of the Shadow live in a tower that includes a working dungeon and torture chamber. They have expansive libraries and are skilled in many areas of arts, crafts, and combat. They don’t allow others to benefit from their knowledge.
We get to know that they are skilled in the art of poisons (and healing potions; the dose makes the poison after all), martial arts, and the finer point of assassinry.. so, something like Xiaolin/ninjutsu?
We'll see if these Sisters of the Shadow lean more towards the Catholic (Inquisition-style) or the Xiaolin (with a dash of ninjutsu), or if they are a syncretic Eurasian mixture of both: if they wear breeches and/or spats beneath robes; if they use firearms, blades, and/or hand-to-hand combat, if they are led by a prioress(/popess?) or a general/commander...
There is another branch of the order, the Sisters of the Star, who form the intelligentsia and artistic class of the Protectorate and hoard all their knowledge the arts and sciences for themselves in their tower, refusing to share it with the common people of the country-esque land. The leader of both orders, the Head Sister, appears to be one Sister Ignatia -a female Loyola? The name already makes the bells in my head tingle with that innuendo!-.
RS: Even with Sister Ignatia — we get a revelation at the end. It doesn’t change how we feel about her. She’s evil. She’s scary. But we understand her in a profound way, once we find out why she is the way she is.
KB: Yeah, totally. Sister Ignatia is so far away from her own story. As is Xan, actually. As are a lot of people.
RS: What do you mean by “far away from her own story”? That’s interesting.
KB: Sorrow is dangerous and memory is dangerous too, so there’s only right now, there’s only what’s in front of me. I think a lot of people live that way, and they do so at their peril. Sister Ignatia walled off her sorrow. And yet there it is, still impacting her life, even if she’s not thinking about it.
So there is a Freudian excuse...

Nevermoor

Written by Australian female Lemony narrator Jessica Townsend, and upon its Spanish release due to the fact that it has what The Guardian calls a storm of foreign editions, (once more, supply and demand), this is another novel that keeps me on tenterhooks.
For starters, the genre -gaslamp and/or flintlock fantasy- is definitely one of my favourites, combining all I adore about both period pieces and the supernatural.
This is a gaslamp fantasy set against the backdrop of the Wintersea Republic, an alternate federal republican UK, with various provinces and frontier towns/forts at the borders with enemy country, aside from a resort community (Deepdown Falls Resort and Spa, a popular holiday destination for the upper class) and a Jackalfax Preparatory School, aside from the Harmon Military Academy (headmastered by one Colonel van Leeuwenhoek). The story begins in a provincial town called Jackalfax, which is about Castellón-sized and with the same hinterland mentality and comforts of Castellón, and there is word of frontier towns and forts being stormed by the enemies, since war is coming.
One point about this novel that instantly caught my eye was the use of onomastics here. In sooth, this Aussie has the same knack for coming up with meaningful names as easily as J.K. Rowling and Lemony Snicket.
For instance, the aides to the heroine's father, the ruling chancellor of the largest province in Wintersea, Great Wolfacre, based in a Gothic mansion on the outskirts of Jackalfax (and the usual too-busy widower), are designated by the sobriquets of "Left" and "Right," (which reminds me of Dextra and Nistro in Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, and their genderflipped Gangler counterparts Destro and Gauche in Lupinranger vs. Patranger! Not to mention Derecho and Esquerdo, the twin governors of Centro in Shoukoku no Altair; or Lefto and Raito, the adorable bunny twins of the Crescent Moon Shop, in Kyoukai no Rin-ne!), regardless of their places as secretaries being filled in by other people, which makes "Left" and "Right" secretary titles, designations for the assistants based on which side of the Chancellor they sit on. "Corvus was always firing his old assistants and hiring new ones, so he'd given up learning their real names."
The blue-eyed, ginger bearded hipster of an eccentric and cheerful, Zeus-y mentor replies to the name of Jupiter Norththe dashing Captain Jupiter North (military? sailor/aviator?), is a delightful combination of the best characteristics of Willy Wonka, Professor Remus Lupin, and Newt Scamander. Flamboyantly dapper, with a great flash of red hair. No better name could ever have been chosen for a Zeus-y bearded version of Monsieur Gustave of The Grand Budapest Hotel fame.
The alpha b*tch or queen bee of the Wundrous Society (la Sociedad Fabulánica) is named Cadence Blackburn. Just like "Draco Malfoy," "Cadence Blackburn" sounds equally velvety and aristocratic, and crisp like ice breaking beneath one's feet, with this mix of positive and negative qualities common to this rival type of character. If "Blackburn" alone has this Gothic sound, not unlike the surnames of noble pureblood families or Snicket characters, her given name is musical and elegant, not only semantically, but also phonetically: I think myself it's one of the loveliest words in the English language. (Cadence in MLP:FiM, Cadence as a name in my works).
Her beta b*tch  is Noëlle Devereaux -I love both the lyrical, Christmassy French given name and the French surname, which reminds me of both the assassin who killed Albrecht von Wallenstein, and the traitor Earl of Essex who lost his head during Shakespearean times (both were Devereaux; not to mention, moving from reality to fiction, "Mouth" of The Goonies fame). "Noëlle" and "Devereaux," IMOHO, go together like a horse and carriage, like peaches and cream, like berries and white chocolate.
Among the candidates, there is also the male lead, a mischievous trickster (Mercutio, or Weasley twins rolled into one) and comic relief, and also a dragon rider, known as Hawthorne Swift. I think it's a lovely first name, what with all the connotations of the hawthorn bush and its white blossoms with hope and faerie powers (for instance, the superstition a maiden who washes herself with hawthorn dew at sunrise on the 1st of May -May Day/Beltane- will never lose her beauty in her life). Swift, in the meantime, does not only connote eighteenth-century vitriolic satire, but also the speed and agility he displays as a dragon rider -exactly like Mercutio is named after both the liquid and the god associated with those same qualities!-.
Francis Fitzwilliam -Mr. Darcy and his colonel relative, some works of mine, Fitzwilliam as surname and as given name
Charlie McAlister -Alistair Brower in Candy Candy (a brilliant, nerdy amateur inventor turned aviation lieutenant, killed in action in the sky during the Great War), Alistair Payne, Alistair Wonderland (the descendant of Alice in Ever After High). My virtual husband Alistair, in Farmville 2, is named after all of these characters.
The Javert character, the lawful neutral persecutor of the protagonists, is surnamed Inspector Flintlock. I think it's a pretty excellent surname for a Javert. Furthermore, I think Flintlock(e), even more with an archaic final E, is a pretty radass surname, conjuring an age of the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, when men were men and gentlemen.
The antagonist overlord, the Wundersmith (and President of Wintersea), is named Ezra Squall.
The mega-neko feline versions of direwolves in this universe wear the clever bilingual name of Magnifi-cats (a bilingual pun based upon a Latin Catholic hymn; Spanished as "Magnifigatos"). And, furthermore, they are sapient and capable of human speech!! SQUEEE!!! The member of the species we get to know the most, the housekeeper (Head of Housekeeping) of the Hotel Deucalion where the kids live and the trials are set, answers to the name of Fenestra. She's a magnifi-cat, a giant talking feline, of  breed. At my mum's, we live two women and a dozen housecats with various personalities, so I consider it a purrfect species (imagine if we had magnifi-cats instead of our regular cats: Ginger would not even fit indoors, while Czarevna would occupy my whole bed!)... I know Czarevna, my favourite (a mackerel tabby kitten), will never become a magnifi-cat, and we are pretty glad that we don't have those at home, but I would prefer to rid a magnifi-cat than a direwolf -never been the doggy kind of person, nor my mum either-.
As for the name Fenestra, it means "window" in Latin (on my own Finestra; while the Fenestra in Nevermoor is named after windows in Latin, my character's name, with an I, is the cognate of the same word from the Italian and Valencian/Catalan - in my story, the one with Haru and Winfried/"Winifred", I am planning on making Cadence and Finestra sisters or blood-related otherwise, and their culture using Eastern name order with an initial D surname -Devereaux, Delacroix, Dermark, Dimarco... storming and adding even my own surname to the mix-; making them D. Cadence and D. Finestra!).
Elder Alioth Saga-Bullman: character type, personality. In my works: Alioth Black and "Aliöth," AKA Laurent-Pascal Enjolras. The star Alioth and Andreu Ciscar. // Saga: meaning in Swedish, in Icelandic. Goddess Saga. Meaning and appearance in my works.
Dame Chandra Kali, the chanteuse
Jack/John Arjuna Korrapati
The witches of Coven Thirteen include an Amity, a Rosario, and a Stella (and, with a Romance mother tongue like Spanish, these names, meaning literally Friendship, Rosary, and Star respectively, cannot conjure up more heartwarming fluff).
There are also lots of Snow Queen elements in this work, as there were in Tone Almhjell's novels, that make it definitely catnip for my taste. Not only the nineteenth-century fantasy world, but also the setting in winter, around Yule, and

Morrigan has her own hurdles to overcome and tasks to endure. In order to join the Wundrous Society, she must compete in four trials, pitting herself against hundreds of other children. Move aside Triwizard Tournament; with so many competitors desperate for a chance at recognition, glory and an education, this is seriously cutthroat. This is a Battle Royale in the very same spirit of the original Japanese novel. If that weren’t bad enough, each child boasts an extraordinary talent that sets them apart — an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have.
Morrigan’s gift of observation is her true skill, she has a wonderful habit of noticing things even the all seeing Jupiter has overlooked. She’s a whip smart protagonist with a kind heart and a shrewd intellect.
Townsend gives Morrigan a fine cast of friends whose personas are all equally engaging. Her mischievous best friend and fellow troublemaker, Hawthorne, the dragon rider. Their steadfast friendship as two oddballs is where you can really feel the sense of family, friendship, and belonging that Morrigan so craves. They thoroughly enjoy each others company, as we do theirs.
Alongside Hawthorne are the inhabitants of the Hotel Deaucalion, including fearsomely loyal Fenestra, the giant cat and housekeeper. Townsend’s writing style is playful and engaging, full of brilliantly whacky flights of fancy such as
transforming buildings that slowly reinvent themselves to fit the personality of their inhabitant, a transport system that would make Mary Poppins proud, and a landscape peppered with startlingly contrasting ideas that make Nevermoor all the more magical.


Morrigan discovers that she must compete in a series of trials for a place in the prestigious Wundrous Society, pitted against hundreds of children with exceptional talents. Morrigan, however, has yet to discover her own.
Don’t be fooled by the gothic opening chapters. Once the mist rises over Nevermoor’s silver gates, a Wizard of Oz-style technicolor transformation takes place. And what a world it is: from the surreal Hotel Deucalion to giant Magnifi-cats and the London-Tube-inspired Wunderground transport system, Townsend’s vibrant world-building is what really sets Nevermoor apart. Spectacular set pieces like the Fright Trial and the Battle of Christmas Eve lend a deliciously cinematic feel to her writing. Add to this clever plotting, irresistibly quirky humour, a truly treacherous villain, and real heart in Morrigan’s quest for courage, hope and identity. It’s very firmly the first in a series – readers finish the book with as many questions as they started – but few will be disappointed: there’s still a whole Wundrous world to discover in future books.

INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA TOWNSEND
1. What are some of your favorite words?
My favorite word of all (and incidentally my favorite smell) is petrichor. I also like mellifluous, egalitarian, mournful, slumgullion, malevolent, benevolent, diaphanous, and resplendent.

7. We create a spelling list for each book we choose, and we had so much fun choosing words from Nevermoor particularly because so many of the character names are really great words you can find in the dictionary. Can you tell us a bit about how you choose character names and what your favorite character name from Nevermoor is?
I’ve always been obsessed with names. When I was little I would write endless lists of the names I loved, so I knew I’d either need to write books or have fifty children. There are some names in Nevermoor that I chose simply because they sound nice together, or they look good on the page, or they just feel right for their character—Noelle Devereaux, for example, and Kedgeree Burns. Others were chosen for their meaning, like Hawthorne Swift (a talented dragonrider of exceptional speed and agility), or Cadence Blackburn (…that one’s a bit of a spoiler).
But my favorite character name is probably Jupiter North. He was named for the Roman god Jupiter, who was the king or father of the gods. Although he is a vaguely rubbish adult, Jupiter does function as Morrigan’s sort-of father figure, and he is also the moral compass of the story—Morrigan’s True North.


UN GIRO INESPERADO 2 (POST-AS OLD AS TIME)

It should have been simple: slay that dragon, cut through that hedge of thorns, pass by all those slumbering guards and courtiers, then up the spiral staircase into the Rose Tower... However, when Prince Philip himself falls unconscious as his lips touch those of his sleeping fiancée... it is clear that the fairytale is far from over.
Aurora and Philip find themselves in their shared dreamland, trying to escape a completely different fortress and completely different thorns; those created by the inner landscape of their subconscious, by identity crises, by their own hopes and anxieties, putting them to the test. With Maleficent's agents following their every move, but also with the three godmothers' assistance, will these two young royals ever awaken from their dream?

With the impending release of a second title in Spain, the canonical title of Braswell's novel series Twisted Tales is now finally revealed to be Un giro inesperado. Hope we get the Jasmine and Mulan books as well, knowing the demand for girl-power fantasies in this title...
Did I mention how much I adored the previous Beauty and the Beast installment, As Old as Time, with its vivid eighteenth-century, surprise villain, and Final Solution parallels? I was instantly hooked to the story told in a fleshed-out setting that emphasizes the period piece nature of the classic fairytale film: Belle eagerly reads Voltaire and listens to Mozart... I am sure as hell that the Sleeping Beauty version will also accurately portray the Gothic Middle Ages in the same lyrism and vivid detail! Still on tenterhooks until the release of next month...

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