Of literary merit...I had the pleasure of hearing Robin LaFever's speak about PACING at the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrator's Western Washington Chapter's annual conference last month. Her presentation was full of understanding, encouragement, precision and knowledge from both her research on craft and her own experience. After her talk, I ran to the conference bookstore and purchased Grave Mercy to "read her technique in action." Not only is the novel a lively and engrossing read, it is a lesson in exquisite pacing. From plots to subplots (the plight of Duchess Anne, the evolving relationship between Isme and Duval, the secrets of Isme's childhood), from character development (the charming Beast, the frail Isabeau) to the question of larger themes (can death be both a curse or a gift; how can be loyal to an oath in the face of love), the book artfully interweaves romance, mystery and adventure. Perhaps most impressive of all, LaFevers gives readers a richly satisfying conclusion along with a winsome invitation to the next book in her Fair Assasins series.
Finally, just gotta say... Here is an instance where the girl-in-the-red-dress cover totally works. It is arresting and, for me, captures the spirit of the novel. LaFevers joins Katherine Longshore on my list of "authors who are persuading me that historical fiction totally rocks"!
Click on for more Bookanista fun this fine Thursday.
Elana Johson is enthralled by CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson
Christine Fonseca adores DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting
Corrine Jackson revels in ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sara Dessen
Katy Upperman is charmed by QUINTANA OF CHARYN by Melina Marchetta
Kimberly Sabatini is touched by TARNISH by Katherine Longshore
Lenore Appelhans loves The Originals by Cat Patrick