Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 2
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.
Who: Sarah Rees Brennan, author of YA books, currently preparing the third book in her trilogy of brothers-fighting-evil which started with The Demon’s Lexicon (one of Ana’s top 10 books of 2009) for publication in 2011. You can find Sarah blogging from her livejournal and occasionally writing a guest post for us (because we are stalkers), like this excellent one on Why YA.
Recent Work: The middle book in the trilogy, The Demon’s Covenant (reviewed by Ana HERE). Also a story (“The Spy Who Never Grew Up “) in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology (about Peter Pan working as a spy for Her Majesty. Plus, Ninja Fairies).
Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Sarah and her best of 2010, a Demon’s Surrender‘s cookie and a giveaway:
2010, Baby, You’ve Been Good To Me
The year started out with my first book The Demon’s Lexicon being named as one of the Top Ten ALA Best Books of 2010, so I think it started out excellently on the media front. In fact the media has been so great this year, I felt I couldn’t pick favourites. Since I couldn’t pick favourites, I decided to go with the book, movie and TV show that surprised me most with its awesomeness this year.
2011 Book I Can’t Wait For Everyone Else To Read
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Picture the best of Gossip Girl. Set in historical Baltimore. With super powers. A lady who can tell the future. A rake. CRAVATS AND FORTUNE TELLING Y’ALL. Deaths seen in the sunset, and love in the wind.
I can’t wait for people to be awed by it.
My 2010 Book Sensation
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff.
I heard good things about this book. But you know, faeries. I’ve been known to love them (In Holly Black’s Valiant, for instance) but they are the hardest supernatural sell for me: I’m not really sure why. Maybe just the fact I’m Irish, and that means a Long and Troubled and Painful Past with the fey. (No! No more books about dancing with faerie princes on the hill of Tara! The hill of Tara is covered in sheep poop and beer cans.)
But then – an inhuman hero trying to be good! A loving family trying to understand! Sibling bonds, and a heroine who is on a mission! Plus the prettiest cover ever, a small town with secrets, and beautiful writing.
Why hello Ms Yovanoff. Let’s see what you have up your sleeve next.
My 2010 Movie Sensation
I love a good teen romcom. Mean Girls, Ten Things I Hate About You, Clueless, Saved! But I hadn’t seen one in a good long while. I thought their day might have passed.
I’ve been to see Easy A twice in the cinema, and the second time it was because I was having a terrible day, and I knew this movie would turn it right around.
Loosely based on the Scarlet Letter the same way Clueless is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma – oh, well, the heroine addresses that herself. ‘Isn’t it funny the way the book you’re studying in English class often reflects your life? I guess we never study Huckleberry Finn because none of the guys I know have flouted society to run off with an older black guy.’
… Except then, one of her friends does just that. ‘My apologies to Mr Mark Twain,’ she muses.
It’s a movie about life being painful, weird and hilarious all at once. And it stars an amazing heroine, who is allowed to be cleverer than almost everyone else and be seen as awesome for it. And her extremely cool, extremely supportive and nontraditional family. (At one point the heroine discusses the false rumours about her sex life with her mother. Her mother says ‘They talked about me, too.’ ‘People spread lies about you?’ asks Olive. ‘No, I slept with a lot of people’ says her mom. And her mom is fine, it wasn’t a big deal: she’s happy, she’s in a loving marriage, she’s beautiful. So’s Olive.)
Easy A, people. It was clever and funny and lovely, and you felt it liked and sympathised with almost all the characters in the movie. And in the end, so did I.
My 2010 Television Sensation
The Vampire Diaries. The show. The promotional picture I can’t believe they got away with.
I watched the (truly awful) premiere at Comic Con in 2009. I have mocked the first two episodes somewhat extensively in my journal.
A few episodes in, and I loved it with an unholy passion.
Of course I did. There’s vampire, witch and werewolf shenanigans.
There are two brothers with a troubled past. (1864, SCENE OF TWO BROTHERS, ONE GIRLFRIEND, NO WAITING. Stefan: We should tell our vampire hating daddy how much we LOVE our vampire girlfriend! Damon: Well, on the up side, he might actually pass out from horror before we even get to the vampire bit?)
There’s a heroine who’s sensible, loving and active. (ELENA: One day I’m going to get to write sadly in my diary again. But since I have to drug my boyfriend with a huge dart, rescue my boyfriend from a well, and throw a grenade into an enemy vampire’s face, today is not that day. Anyone got more grenades?)
And there has been – and this is a miracle – a season two just as excellent as the season one. Shows don’t DO that! Think about Veronica Mars. (No… don’t think about it. Veronica Mars only had one season. Any memories I have of other seasons, clearly a nightmare.)
There are evil doppelgangers, brothers learning to work with each other, torture scenes, and best of all, my favourite character Caroline (a sassy blond cheerleader keenly aware that she isn’t the protagonist of the show – ‘She doesn’t even have to try. And I try so hard!’) has got an amazing storyline. I won’t spoil it for you. But if you’ve ever loved a minor character, and got to see them have an awesome moment or twenty, you know how I feel. Caroline, laughing in the face of evil vampires and pushy werewolves!
2010: A Summary and a Present
… So Smugglivus is about wrapping up a year, and looking forward to a new one, both as regards media and Our Lives Generally. Well, my 2010 was a complicated one! I spent a lot of it weeping, tearing out my hair, planning a career as a sherpa herder (apparently that… isn’t a job. As sherpas are mountain guides, and not mountain goat/llama crossbreeds. I don’t know where I got that idea from).
Because the Demon’s Lexicon series, well, critics have been lovely about it! Those who pick it up seem to like it! But in the US at least, not a lot of people picked it up. Serves me right for writing a family drama in a romance-focused time, maybe? Who can say! So I spent the year writing The Demon’s Surrender, the last book of the series, and being scared brainless (long nights full of not much thought, but lots of fear and trembling, ice-cold under the covers) it was the last book I’d ever get to publish. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer: and it’s hard to know where to go when you got your dream and it didn’t work out. Especially as it’s still all I want to do.
And then in November 2010, I got some awesome news. And now I’m looking forward to 2011, and The Demon’s Surrender coming out – the last book in my first series, which I love and am really proud of. And I’m looking forward to other things, too. 😉
So, for a signed copy of Demon’s Lexicon and Demon’s Covenant (so you’ll be all set for Demon’s Surrender) tell me about a good surprise you got this year. A book, a movie, a TV show, something in your life. Anything!
And here is a snippet of The Demon’s Surrender as a present for y’all this Smugglivus!
“So I heard you tried to kill a guy with a paintbrush.”
“Don’t try to stifle my artistic self-expression,” Nick said.
Sin laughed. She saw a few heads on the playground turn, and realized with a sinking sensation that they would remember this, when her goal was always to avoid too much attention, any questions about the Market, any focus on her or the kids.
But she did feel like she owed Nick more than a dismissal now.
“Hey,” she said. “I’m sorry about the way I acted yesterday. I was just surprised to see you here. At school.”
“It wouldn’t have killed your brother to have given us a heads-up,” Sin added.
Nick stared at her with even more murderous coldness than usual.
There was a sudden chill wind in the air, striking Sin’s face and sending cold fingers crawling tip by freezing tip down her back. She looked into Nick’s blank face and thought: possessed, and did not know why she had not seen it years ago, why everyone didn’t see it when they looked at him. There was no human being behind that face, only a creature who owned but could not animate it.
Alan had lived with this for most of his life, knowing exactly what it was. The wave of sympathy that washed over Sin at the thought shocked her with its intensity.
She couldn’t work out what kind of man he was, good or evil, terrifying or terrifyingly misguided. She couldn’t imagine what it would take to bring up a demon.
All she knew was that she’d had him all wrong.
“Shut up about my brother,” Nick said.
Thank you Sarah, for the post, the cookie and the giveaway.
For a signed copy of Demon’s Lexicon AND Demon’s Covenant tell us about a good surprise you got this year. A book, a movie, a TV show, something in your life. Anything! The contest is open to ALL and will run until Saturday, December 4 at 11:59pm (PST). To enter, simply leave a comment here. ONE entry per person, please! Duplicate and/or multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!