Monday, 25 January 2016

Beautiful People: Dreams vs Reality

http://paperfury.com/beautiful-people-14/
Today we're linking up with Beautiful People at Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In.

 What were your writing achievements last year?

I wrote 60,000 words for Camp NaNo in July -

(Which was only half a draft.)

- And I improved and plotted out a fantasy series I first came up with when I was eleven.

(Which you've just dropped because you HATED writing it for some unfathomable reason.)

 Why do you always have to be so negative?

(You also had an epic writing crash at the end of July which lasted for the rest of the year. Nothing was right. Nothing was good enough. You sucked. Your life was over...)

 *Leaves*

Two hours later.

*Returns*

(It's too well-planned, it's not malleable enough -)

HOW ARE YOU NOT DONE YET?!


Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year? List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

At the moment, I'm working on a high fantasy that combines a few plots, scenarios and characters from previous high fantasy ideas. There's magic, a fantasy pantheon, and a prophecy. It...doesn't really have a title yet...

  1. Finishing stories. I haven't had a problem with this for a couple of years but, for the last through months, I've been dipping in and out of things, trying to find something I enjoy.
  2. My magic system. I mean, I've got one that works and is deeply ingrained in the world, yada yada yada, but that's from an urban fantasy. I need a different one for my high fantasy world.
  3. Write what and how I want. Everything is original if you do it your way.
  4. Know when to give up. My writing crash was mainly caused by how hung up I was on the first story I ever finished. A story that will never work because of the way I structured it. 
  5. Return to writing every night. I've gotten so bad at this since I came to uni.

Are you participating in any writing challenges?

NaNoWriMo 2016, and the two camps, of course. It's tradition now.

(Two years ago, you'd never done either.)

 Emphasis on now.

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

https://giphy.com/gifs/celebrity-wish-noah-PQuKXWTPZWZYA
Source
 Critique partner? Betas? Yeah... I should probably try and find some of those.

Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research.

I have a copy of The Kick-Ass Writer that I open whenever I need a kick up the bum. Other than that, no.

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

I need to get to know ALL of the characters from my new project a little better. I know one of them very well, because I stole them from my 2014 NaNo story but, with the others, all I really know is where they're going development-wise. Usually, I make character sheets, but I sometimes find it better to write the first draft and then make the character sheets. I get to know my characters best by writing them, after all.

Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I'm first-drafting. I'm going to flesh out my plans as I write. When it comes to high fantasy, this works really well for me because the world grows with the story and the characters.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

I'd like to see more parody. Sometimes I think the world's gotten a little too serious. Everyone needs to laugh every once in a while.

What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

A decent first draft, preferably finished and maybe even a little edited. 



What are you writing at the moment? Link me to your Beautiful People Posts!

Friday, 22 January 2016

See How They Run (In Slow-Mo To The Bookshop)

5/5

About a year ago, at about three o'clock in the afternoon, I bought All Fall Down. By early evening, I'd finished it.

About a week ago, at about three o'clock in the afternoon, I bought See How They Run. By early evening, I'd finished it.

And no. This was not delibrate.

(She's not organised enough for it to be delibrate.)

But it does demonstrate the quality of this series. 

Grace and her friends are back with a new mystery to solve. It's a fast-paced, twisting, turning story. And it's tricky. Very tricky. It fooled me at least twice.

(You say that like it's hard.)

The group dynamic was on-point as usual and, this time, Grace, Noah, Rosie, Megan and Alexei are joined by a couple of new faces. There's Grace's brother, Jamie, who never actually joins the group, but is back on Embassy Row throughout, and another more familiar face whose reactions to the things they find out are hilarious.

"You almost act like you've done this before," [line omitted because of spoilers], "You've done this before?"
I'll be honest that I was dubious when they first showed signs of being plot-relevant, but I can't imagine the group without them now. It's even a little weird to flick through All Fall Down. The team's a lot more cohesive this time round too. Grace has essentially accepted that she, like all YA protagonists, is stuck with a quirky supporting cast.  

This novel, like Only The Good Spy Young, has accomplished the impossible. It made me like Alexei. It took three books (okay, four, but he wasn't in one of them) for me to warm up to Zach from Gallagher Girls, so this is quite the record breaker. Part of it probably came down to the way his relationship with Jamie was portrayed. 

Source
 Some characters get 101 moments that show how much they care about each other. Others get just TWO. I never thought the latter could be more powerful until I read this novel.

I still love the setting. The way they talk about buildings like they're actual countries -

(That's because they are.)

 And the way they utterly freak out about entering certain embassies. Noah seems to have gotten over that now though, at least, in regards to Iran. I love the fact that an abandoned embassy has essentially become their base.

It ended on an epic cliffhanger (made even more epic by the fact that I believe she might actually do it) so now I need the next one like I need oxygen.

(I wouldn't hold your breath, the estimated release date is 2017.

Rain?

Rain?

...I think she's dead, folks. Idiot. I told her not to hold her breath. Oh well. 

Have you read See How They Run? Are you planning to? Who's your favourite character?)

 All quotes taken from See How They Run are copyright to Ally Carter and co.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What's Wrong With Green-Eyed, Redheaded Heroines?

Seriously, why all the hate? I was writing a story a bit ago with a redheaded heroine. Then I got into YA fiction and realised that people were sick to the back teeth of them. Why?

(Um...maybe because they're legion?)

That depends on what you read. Off the top of my head, I can only list a few. Twylla. Ginny. Rowan. One of them is brown-eyed and isn't the main heroine, one of them only becomes the main heroine in the second book. I can think of far more who are dark or blonde - Katniss, Grace, Annabeth, Sam, Jude, Puck...

Besides, there are good reasons for why writers choose a green-eyed redhead for their lead heroine:

1. It's one of the rarest hair-eye combinations

 Not the rarest - blue eyes are rarer than green, after all - but certainly rare enough that it'll make your major player stand out from the crowd. 

2. Varying your cast

So the lancer is brunette with blue eyes, the smart gal is blonde haired and brown-eyed, the love interest is dark haired and green-eyed - where does that leave your heroine? Members of your main cast should all have their own look. That's not to say a couple of them can't share features, but the main character shouldn't be one of them. In the average novel (as in the real world), there'll be a lot of blondes and brunettes. Redheads are rarer. 

Of course, the heroine doesn't have to be striking. Janey Brown, for example, was a delibrately plain and average heroine. There's no law that says she has to stand out (and your characterisation should make that happen anyway).

3. Nobody's complaining about redheaded villains, or pale, dark-haired girls

Nine times out of ten, a hair/eye colour combination in fiction is a cliche. Redheads are stereotyped as short-tempered, and so are cast as villains and bullies as often as they are heroes.


Of course, not all villains stay villains
Then there's dark-haired characters. They're often pale, aloof, or both. Blondes are popular and street smart, but book dumb. Bald guys are thugs. 

Or are they? It's becoming increasingly common to spin these tired old tropes on their heads a la Legally Blonde. The bald guy is a gentle giant. The redhead is the voice of reason. The popular girl is dark haired. And on, and on, and on. With that logic, why not write a redhead? They aren't at any more risk of cliche than a blonde or a brunette.

4. Isn't it kind of...shallow to judge a character on their appearance?

Red is a hair colour. Not a personality type. Not picking up a book because the heroine has red hair and green eyes is like crossing the road to avoid someone because they have brown hair. At the end of the day, people might moan about it, but it's probably not going to deter them.

Do you feel like this combo has been done to death? Do you avoid red hair and green eyes when creating heroines? How about other features?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, the topic is ten books you recently added to your TBR. Like most readers, my TBR is slightly out of control.


(Just slightly.)

But, hey, look on the bright side. We can finally do a Top Ten Tuesday post that actually involves a Top Ten.

(What do you want? A medal? A national holiday?)

1. Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan

This one takes first place purely because I already own a physical copy of it. I picked it up the same time I bought See How They Run, because Waterstones were offering buy one get one half price. I was struggling to decide between All The Bright Places and The Sky is Everywhere when I spotted this one. It was short and it sounded good, so I took a third option. 



For anyone who doesn't know, this is the light novel that inspired the swimming anime Free! Iwatobi Swim Club! I'm not usually a sports person in books or anime or anything really, but I swam in a swimming club for six years so it has a nostalgic appeal.

(Of course, it hasn't been released in English yet.)

It will be! Hopefully...

 This is another light novel. It's set in a dungeon-crawling-type world, a la Dragon Quest. Most dungeon-crawlers want fame or riches. Bell just wants to play the hero to a damsel in distress...unfortunately, he's a bit of a damsel in distress himself...


Caitlin is a good, Catholic girl.
Caitlin is also currently sitting in a jail cell with a pierced nose and a tattoo she doesn't remember getting.

It sounds hilarious. That is all.



I caught roughly the last half hour of the film at Christmas and, whilst it made no sense to me, I still want to read this for no other reason than because it sounds like the Swedish version of Annie.

There are three reasons I want to read this: one, dragons, two, it's set in China and, three, dragons. 


I had to read the sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, for my course last term. As soon as I put it down, I swore I would never so much as look at another Mark Twain book again.

And then I wrote an essay on it.

Suffice to say, I now want to read Tom Sawyer.


 Also known as the book Love, Rosie was based on. It's a childhood friend romance, and I love a good childhood friend romance, so this one went straight onto my list as soon as I could remember the title.


My university was giving out free copies, so I picked one up. The blurb is giving me some serious Woman In Black vibes.


Partly because my dad watched the films whilst I was in the room, and partly because it's considered the grandad of all fantasy ever. 

(...That's a lot of variation for you.)

Y-Yeah... *Checks arms and legs*

(What are you - FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! VARIETY IS GOOD FOR YOU! IT'S NOT GOING TO BRING YOU OUT IN A RASH!)

What was the last book you added to your TBR? Link me to your TTT posts!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week - The Essential Guide for the Newly-Dead Norseman

As a child, how much thought did you put into your games, your dreams, your ambitions?

As a teenager, how much thought did you put into your university application?

As an adult, how much thought did you put into where you would settle?

(Those are some pretty big questions. Wait. Are we answering those today? Are you finally going to sit down and give these things some serious -)

So why, why, why are you not putting more thought into your afterlife?

(I stand corrected.)

You're being good, you say? Charitable? Honourable? Kind? Ha! What do you think this is? Brownie camp? Your good deeds will do nothing for you. Your morality will be ignored. Your principles, laughed into Helheim. 
You should thank Thor that this handy guide to the Norse Underworld has been compiled. Odin only knows where you'd be without it.

Valhalla

This is it. The place to be. Valhalla is ruled over by Odin, the leader of the Gods so, if you want to get in, you better be ready to impress him and his valkyries. But not by winning some Britain's-Got-Talent style contest, oh no. To gain access to Valhalla, you have to die in battle. 
To be fair, Valhalla is almost always depicted as a place of constant battle, so you probably need that qualification to stay sane during your eternal rest war there.

Folkvangr

Freya's equivilant to Valhalla. Like Odin chooses the warriors who end up in Valhalla, she chooses the ones who go to Folkvangr. Not that anyone's really sure how they choose. Or what they do if they both want the same warrior. Toss a coin, maybe? 

Helheim 

Hel's domain. Where everyone else ends up. The sick. The old. The warriors who die on the operating table (you have to feel sorry for those guys). The good and the evil. All of the children. Most of the women (I'm assuming, since there's some debate as to whether women were allowed to battle or not. Armed female remains have been found, but there are many sources that say women were not viewed as warriors.) No one's really sure what happened here. It was just...Helheim.

And, to confuse you newly-dead Norsefolk further, only Snorri bothers to seperate Helheim from Valhalla so, for all we know, you could be going to Helheim no matter what.

The moral of this not-very-informative information guide? Think before you take that enemy spear in the gut - it might not be as worth it as you think.

Sources - The Poetic Edda (Snorri) and http://norse-mythology.org/concepts/death-and-the-afterlife/

...And...that's...Norse...Mythology...week..over... Holy Frigga, I am never blogging five days in a row again. 

(Lazy.)

You're one to talk. I can count the number of times you've spoken this week on my hands! 

I'd ask you which part of the underworld you thought you'd end up in, but I think that question's been rendered moot. Tell me your favourite Norse deity instead. I'm rather partial to Loki and Ran, myself.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week - Marvel-Loki has nothing on Runemarks-Loki. Just saying.

 For day four of Norse Mythology week, we have reviews of all three of Joanne Harris' Runemarks books.

(Warning for unpopular opinions ahead. Seriously. If I catch any flamers in the comments, I'll set them on fire.)

...You mean we'll respectfully ignore their comment, right Ivy?

(Something like that...)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2444163.Runemarks
Runemarks - 4/5 Stars

"I speak as I must and cannot be silent." - Mimir the Wise. Constantly.

This is it. The book that introduced me to the nonsensical world of Norse mythology. 

Maddy Smith is a teenage girl who has grown up an outcast in her own hometown thanks to a strange birthmark on her hand. She has one friend, One-Eye, who occasionally passes through. One day, One-Eye sends her into Red Horse Hill to search for something, and our story begins...

 Runemarks is a story of twisting plotlines, vibrant settings and humorous dialogue, but the characters blow all of those things out of the water. The Gods are all absolutely hilarious, and Maddy is an awesome heroine. She's pragmatic and quick-witted enough to go toe to toe with Loki who is, essentially, the hero...or is he? Either way, Loki is the stand-out star of the novel. He's sarcastic, utterly hilarious, and cannot catch a break. 
Just to give you an idea of his awesomeness...
“You seem to know a lot about it," she said. "And you do subtleties."
"Yeah. Like I've always wanted to destroy the Nine Worlds while committing suicide."
If you love complex world-building, hilarious characters, and plotlines that spin you around and around until you're stumbling around in embarrassed confusion, then you need this book in your life. 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16242422-runelightRunelight - 3/5

"Nothing dreamed is ever lost and nothing lost forever."

This book broke my heart, because I wanted to love it.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it. I just...

Let's start of with the positives. First off, LOKI. Sorry Thor fans, you may think that Marvel has the best incarnation of Loki, but that honour actually belongs to Joanne Harris. And then there's Maddy, who's gotten even awesomer over the time skip. There was plenty of both of them, but not enough of them together. Maddy is Loki's only friend (mainly because he's had neither the time nor the inclination to betray her yet), and I like the dynamic they have going. But I wanted more of it. A lot more of it. This book also introduced Perth, who essentially took up Loki's role from Runemarks since this book was effectively split into three plotlines. You had Maddy's plot, Loki's plot, and Maggie the newcomer's plot.

Unfortunately, Maggie was my main problem. She was brought up in World's End, which appears to be rather sexist, and we're told several times that she values purity/modesty/other stereotypically female virtues. All of this so far is fine, and I was actually impressed at how different she was to Maddy...on paper. You see, I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but she'd kind of turned into Maddy by the middle. This annoyed me. And then there's her entire relationship with Adam. Now I can't vent all my grievances here (because spoilers) so I'll just say that it happened too fast and that I didn't see a parallel between how we're told Maggie will act and how she does act. I can see the attraction of course - she's been completely alone for three years and then, suddenly, there's Adam. But still. Something about it just didn't work for me.

Still, the three plotlines tie together nicely at the end of the novel, and it's better than Maddy or Loki getting pushed into the background to make room for Maggie. I still have my fingers crossed for a third one.


And yes, I was fabulous." - He was. 

The Gospel of Loki is a prequel to the above two books. A prequel written entirely in the voice of Loki. 

A PREQUEL WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN THE VOICE OF LOKI.

When I saw that this was coming out, I expressed my feelings to my family in the most controlled way possible.

(She ran downstairs and screamed the news at them.)

...Self-control is overrated, anyway. 

This is basically Norse mythology told from Loki's point of view. Most of the myths are accurate to the eddas and other sources, though there's obviously a bit of artistic license here and there to fit in with the Runemarks universe. It takes us from Loki's arrival at Asgard all the way to Ragnarok, giving us some serious character development along the way. It's weird (according to both my brother and my old book club), but that's mythology for you. Weirdness is par for the course. More to the point, it's absolutely hilarious and, at times, strangely philosophical.
Observe -

 “There's also a lot of random stuff about poetry, flowers and lute music, plus kissing and cuddling (lots of this), wearing similar outfits, talking incessantly about the current object of devotion, and generally losing one's faculties.” - Loki on love
 "God of peace. Yeah, right. Known as Balder the fair. Handsome, sporty, popular. Sound a little smug to you? Yes, I thought so too." - Loki on Balder
 “A man often meets his destiny running to avoid it.” - Norse mythology in a nutshell

Oh, and one more bonus quote for Cait -

 “Most problems can be solved through cake.” - Loki gives the best life advice.

All quotes taken from Runemarks, Runelights and The Gospel of Loki are copyright to Joanne Harris and co. 

Have you read any of these books? Got any recommendations for me based on them? Leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week - Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, a Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25090719-the-sword-of-summer4/5 STARS

I'd already read a Norse mythology-based series by Joanne Harris, so this was my first ever Riordan book to have competition. It performed admirably, though I took a star away for some of the more info-dumpy exposition. The subtler nods to certain, ah, we'll say less PG, Norse myths made me smile - the goat thing, for example, and Loki being mother to a horse. As someone who once had to spend half an hour explaining that to her English teacher, I appreciated the awkwardness of that conversation.

Our 16 year old protagonist, Magnus Chase, is sarcastic (like Percy) but that's pretty much where the similarities end. He's not a fighter. He's a healer. Also, he has a better sword (sorry, Riptide). I did manage to call who his dad would be, but only because of some very subtle foreshadowing that I only spotted thanks to Runemarks. The other characters are awesome too - there's Sam, a valkyrie who wields a battle-axe and has a magical hijab. Blitzen, a fashionable dwarf. And Hearthstone, a magical elf. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that we have a magical elf in a novel that isn't high fantasy? The relationships between all four major players were spot on, but Blitzen and Hearthstone's friendship was especially adorable. Riordan's interpretation of Loki lost out to Harris' (no surprise there - everyone's does). On the more minor front, I adored all of Magnus' roommates. ALL of them. Especially Mallory.

The plot was interesting. I love it when protagonist power fails and the main character dies. All of the side adventures contributed either to plot or character, and they all took us one step closer to Fenris and the final encounter. I was a little disappointed by the ending though. It was a little too perfect, if you know what I mean.

Overall, this was a great book with three-dimensional characters who were quite different to Percy, Jason and the rest of the Greco-Roman gang. 


And so begins the wait for the sequel...

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Nine 2015 Releases I Failed to Get To

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html

I suck at reading recent books. I really do. Usually, the only books I read the year they're released are either part of a series, or written by one of my favourite authors.They're also (shamefully) the only ones I really take an interest in. Hence how I've only managed to find nine.

(I think I can count the number of times we've had a list of ten on Top TEN Tuesday on one hand.)

Ivy, we can count ALL the Top Ten Tuesday's we've ever done on one hand.

(See? My point is valid.)

...I'm not having this argument. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


(Objection! You've been reading this one for months!)

Yeah. Reading. I still have Heracles and Jason to slog through - the two biggest chapters of the book. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent book and it's great to be reading from Percy's POV again, but Frigga is it thick.

2. Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

I finished this one in January, but it still counts. The review'll be up tomorrow, so I won't say anything here.


Depending on where you look, this one either came out right at the end of last year, or this year, but I'm putting it here anyway because I was so desperate to get my hands on it. I'm sure a glowing review will be put up at some point but, until then, be content to know that I bought it and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. 

In two books time, I'll have read all 72 volumes of what was possibly the first manga series my brother and I read from the beginning, rather than just reading the odd volumes we could find at the library (I'm looking at you, Yu-Gi-Oh!).




I only read Seraphina last year, and I was thrilled to hear about the sequel...which I promptly failed to get my hands on. This is a mistake that MUST be rectified, and sooner rather than later. I love Seraphina's voice and, even if I didn't, there are dragons, Abdo and Lars.

Three words - childhood friend romance. 


And the two that come before it. This was one of my favourite series as a kid, and it seems a shame to let it go unfinished.
Also, Camicazi is a MUCH better heroine than Astrid. Just saying.


I just had a minor panic because I thought I might've marked this as to-read at the start of 2014, and that really would've been bad. I had every intention of reading it last year in January, and I still do...it's just a question of when...

I think it was the cover that caught my eye originally, but the main character's called Echo, and she's a pickpocket, so this just moved up my list.





Link me to your Top Ten Tuesday posts. Oh, and, if you spotted the Norse mythology reference, help yourself to a gingerbread angel! 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week: Who's Who in Norse Mythology

The Greeks had three successive pantheons (Primordial, Titan and God).

The Romans had a Goddess of thresholds and door hinges (Cardea, if you're interested).

The Norse didn't have either of those things, but they made up for it with possibly the first ever family feud story. 

The Norse Pantheon that everyone's familiar with (Odin, Thor, Freya etc.) is actually made up of two families who started out hating each other's guts. On one side, you had the Aesir. On the other side, the Vanir. Eventually, these two families joined together and became the gods of Asgard (though Mimir lost his head first). They weren't always the most peaceful pantheon, but the one thing they never argued about was spoilers. In Norse mythology, there were no spoilers. All of the Gods knew exactly what was coming for them at the end because Ragnarok (basically the Norse apocalypse) was forseen in great detail. They knew who they'd kill. Who'd kill them. Who the traitors were going to be (*cough cough* Loki *cough cough*). Oh, and the worst thing about Norse mythology? You can't fight fate.

The Aesir

Odin/Wotan/Woden - Associated with magic, battle, runes, death...Norse Gods weren't exactly the Gods of specific things. They were more well-rounded and were associated with many things. Odin was the leader of the Aesir, and the spouse of Frigg. According to the Eddas (books of Norse poems), he was the father of Thor and Baldr, Vidar and Vali. Blood brother of Loki. He ruled over Valhalla, where half of these slain in battle went after death.

Thor - Traditionally not a blonde, not clean-shaven, and not Loki's brother. Adopted or otherwise. He does, however, wield the hammer Mjölnir, which he loses in Thrymskvitha.

(You'd think he'd take better care of an all-powerful hammer.)

Associated with thunder, lightning, storms and strength. Husband of Sif.

Tyr - Associated with war. Lost his hand to Loki's son, Fenris.

Idun/Ithun - Associated with youth because she looks after the golden apples which the Gods eat to remain young and strong.

Bragi - Idun's husband. Associated with poetry. Basically a godly bard.

Heimdall/Heimdallr - Generally regarded as the watchman of Asgard. He sounded his horn, Gjallarhorn, to warn of approaching danger. Destined to kill (and be killed by) Loki at Ragnarok. He also had nine mothers.

(How -)

Do not even ask.

Baldr/Balder - Son of Odin and Frigg. What he was associated with is highly disputed, but peace, purity and love are the typical suggestions. Killed accidentally by his blind brother, Hod, and ended up as a guest in Helheim. Husband of Nanna.

Mimir - Lost his head when traded to the Vanir. Associated with wisdom and knowledge.

Frigg/Frigga - Wife of Odin. Possibly the goddess of Friday, though there is an endless argument over whether that's her or Freya. 

Sif - Wife of Thor. Goddess of plenty. Sif is famous for her long, golden hair, which Loki once relieved her of. He's nice like that.

Loki - A member of the Aesir through being blood brother's with Odin. A trickster and a  jötunn (frost giant). Fated to fight against the Gods at Ragnarok. Husband of Sigyn. Father of Hel, Fenris and Jörmungandr by Angrboda, Vali and Narfi by Sigyn, and mother of Odin's steed, Sleipnir. 

(How -)

https://giphy.com/gifs/yTAugkkABvlfO


You do not want to know.

The Vanir 

Frey - A fertility god, associated with the rune fehu


Freya - Frey's twin sister. Associated with love, beauty, fertility and wealth. Also, war. Freya ruled over section of the underworld called Fólkvangr, where half of those slain on the battlefield went.

Njord - God of the sea, father of Frey and Freyja.

Other Notable Norse figures 

Hel/Hella - The original two-face. Hel is always depicted as half beautiful maiden, half rotting corpse. She's the goddess of Helheim, the daughter of Loki, and a major player in Baldr's death, which she refuses to reverse.

Fenris - Loki's son. A wolf who ate Tyr's hand and will kill Odin at Ragnarok.

Jörmungandr - The world serpent who lives in the one sea. Loki's son. Will kill Thor at Ragnarok.

Angrboda - Loki's jötunn mistress. Mother of Hel, Fenris and Jörmungandr.

Ran - Goddess of drowning. A jötunn who owns a giant net in which she collects drowned souls.

Aegir - A jötunn God of the sea. Liked to party.

Guthrun - A Norse heroine who could not catch a break. Her first husband was killed by her brother, she was drugged into marrying her second husband, who then killed her brothers after she sided against him with her family. In revenge, she killed her sons. She then travels to Sweden where she remarries and has two sons and a daughter. Her daughter is killed by her husband and, when she sends her sons to avenge her, they die too.

Brynhild - A valkyrie who swore only to marry a man who could defeat her in battle. 

Vali and Narfi - Loki's twin sons by his wife, Sigyn. In some myths, one of them was turned into a wolf and ripped out the other's guts. Then, both boys' guts were used to tie Loki down whilst a snake dripped venom onto his face. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Norse Gods thought you could stop someone from turning traitor. 

Magni and Modi - Thor's twin sons who will survive Ragnarok. Associated with anger (Modi) and strength (Magni) respectively. Modi is thought to have been a patron God of beserkers. 

Skadi - A jötunn Goddess associated with skiing, hunting with a bow, winter and the mountains. Wanted to marry Baldr, but ended up married to Njord. 


This is by no means EVERY figure in Norse mythology, but it's your major players plus a few that I threw in just because I like them (Guthrun) or because they play a key role in a mythology-based novel that I've read (Magni and Modi).

Do you have a favourite Norse mythological figure? 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Announcing Norse Mythology Week

I always get my best ideas in bed. On a bad night, I'm up and over to my memo block six or seven times. Norse mythology is my favourite mythology, and I already knew quite a lot about it before I started reading Magnus Chase so, rather than just review the book, I figured I'd do a theme week. Next week, to be precise.

The schedule looks a little something like this -

Monday 11th: Who's who in Norse Mythology

Tuesday 12th: Break for Top Ten Tuesday

Wednesday 13th: Magnus Chase review

Thursday 14th: Review of Joanne Harris' Runemarks series (Runemarks, Runelight and the prequel, The Gospel of Loki)

Friday 15th: Tourist Guide to the Norse Underworld

I hope you'll drop by for a week filled with tragic death, Loki, and more tragic death. Warning, because Norse mythology is DARK. Be prepared for murder, betrayal, and cursing by Norse deities. 

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 Resolutions (which probably won't last until January 31st)

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html
Resolutions. We all make them. None of us stick to them. But today, I aim to change that.

(No, you don't.)

Are you kidding? I'm baring my goals on the internet for all to see. I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish in an attempt to hold myself to the things I want to achieve.

Writing Goals

1. My writing time is sacred and should be treated as such. It is not to be taken over by reading, binge-watching (a wonderful terrible habit that I never understood until I started university), or eating.

(We both know this isn't going to happen.)

Watch this space, oh ye of little faith.

2. Finish and begin to edit another story.

Reading Goals

1. Read more novels and less manga - of the 100 books I read last year, almost half of them were manga.

2. Read 100 books for the Goodreads challenge.

Blogging Goals

1. Blog more regularly. It would be nice to get two or three posts up a week.

2. Comment on other blogs more often.

3. Continue to reply to all comments.

4. Grow my blog.

Life Goals

1. It takes eighteen years to get into good habits, and a single term at university to get out of them. Let's see the return of getting a decent amount of sleep, not treating my body like a dumping ground, and doing some regular exercise.

2. Have more social confidence.

(Congratulations. You seem to have learnt how to count.)

Now I'm tempted to add another one, just to annoy you. How about learn to silence my inner editor?

(How about not?)

What are your resolutions? Do you share any of mine? Oh, and please link me to your Top Ten Tuesday posts.

Monday, 4 January 2016

'C' is for Classical Hero

https://giphy.com/gifs/hunger-hutcherson-par-qCVzpiEUa1XDa

(Mr Perfect. Just who I don't want to see on a Monday morning.)

You and me both, Ivy, and I don't say that lightly.

The Classical Hero is goodness personified...and that pretty much sums up his personality. He (and it usually is a he) is handsome, noble, and -

(- Completely unbearable.)

In a word, yes. The Classical Hero is reguarly dismissed as boring and unrealistic. He's also the number one male character archetype to be accused of being a Marty Stu.

(Well who wants to read about some blonde-haired, blue-eyed chosen one who always wins and never sins?)

I do, actually.

(...Why doesn't that surprise me?)

Cast as the foil to an Anti-Hero, the Classical Hero provides an interesting (and often amusing) dynamic. It's also a great way to develop a usually flat character, with the Classical Hero growing less uptight over time.

Classical Heroes in literature include -
  • Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games - in the first book at the very least. In an ARENA DEATHMATCH, his ONE KILL was an ACCIDENT. He still won.
        (You're never going to get over that, are you?)
  • Jason Grace from The Heroes of Olympus series. Though he may just appear as one in comparison to Percy, and he still goes through character development.
  • Theodore from The Castle of Otrano, which is generally regarded as the first ever Gothic novel. Traditionally, if there's a good guy in a Gothic story, he's this type of hero.
Do you want to see Classical Heroes die out, or do you think that they still have their uses? Drop anymore that you can think of in the comments.