Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
Even before I was officially part of Jordan’s family, I was hearing about Buccaneer Dan the Most Fierce and Good-looking Buccaneer of All Time, a book written by Jordan’s brother Leland Faux that was said to be “quite violent” and also “funny.” When Lee decided to turn it into an eBook I was pretty excited to finally read it.
Lee is a funny person, so I figured the book would at least be entertaining. What I was not expecting was to be laughing out loud and to be thinking, “I LOVE this book.” There’s so much hilarious word play, so many humorous allusions to real-life people and events, and even the violence is so cartoonish and exaggerated that it’s funny instead of gross (most of the time).
For instance, here are a couple of my favorite lines:
When most of Buccaneer Dan’s crew is drowning: “Econ Bob was still up at the surface. He would have sunk down too but being an economist his head was full of knowledge. And since knowledge is lighter than air, he wouldn’t sink below his eyes.”
“Buccaneer Dan had an idea develop in his brain — which is a wonderful place to develop ideas.”
After Buccaneer Dan had just cut in half the brain of one of Robin Hood’s merry men named Tony (yes, the book features Robin Hood as well) and everyone is standing around awkwardly: “One of the [other] merry men even made a joke about whether or not Tony was left brained or right brained, which of course made everybody laugh. (Tony was left brained.)”
“Buccaneer Dan and his crew, on the other hand, were quite adept fighters. So the fight was not much of a contest—it was like scissors against paper. Or some would say rock against scissors, as Buccaneer Dan’s crew did sustain some injuries. It certainly was not a paper against rock, where it’s not entirely clear how the victory occurred.”
THE RAVEN BOYS
My first experience with Maggie Stiefvater was Scorpio Races, and we all know how much I loved that book. I still recommend it to pretty much everyone I talk to. So when I was visiting my parents’ house and saw The Raven Boys on the shelf, just waiting to be read, I of course had to do it. And it hooked me—well, I wouldn’t say RIGHT away—but within a couple chapters?
I read it late into the night. I slept with the book beside me to make up for the absence of my husband who was still at home, working hard to make us moneys.
I read it in the airport while I waited for my plane. I read it on the plane. Once I got home, I read it late into the night a second time. I read it during every free moment I had the next day. And I finished it within probably 48 hours (would’ve finished faster if I didn’t have to work). I then went to download Book 2 on Kindle, but I discovered it’s not coming out until SEPTEMBER!
NO! I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG!!!
The thing about Maggie Stiefvater that I’m noticing—something that she does very well—is to pack so much information about a character into just a couple sentences. Or pack a ton of information about the plot into just one scene. It feels compact and complete.
Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys are really pretty different kinds of stories, despite the fact that they’re both full of a haunting sort of magic and gently building, just-the-right-amount-of-tension romance. But I think both books showcase the skill that Maggie has with writing.
They’re the kind of books that simultaneously inspire me to get writing myself and clarify for me just how hard it is to create something that’s truly good art. Speaking of which, it’s time to get cracking at my own book again. Here goes.