R.I.P. wrap up and doing NaNoWriMo again

lavinia-portrait small Today ends the R.I.P. reading event hosted by Carl@stainlesssteeldroppings. Like always, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed my books immensely even though I didn’t read everything I’d planned but that’s fine, there’s always time for that later. I’ve been so caught up in reading that I postponed writing reviews until the last day so I decided to do two mini-reviews for the last two books I read for this challenge.

Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein – The Monsters by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

This book finally provided the motivation to read Frankenstein, so after finishing with Mary Shelley’s famous classic, I dived right into it. If you ever wondered how Frankenstein came to be written and what Mary Shelley’s life was like, this is the perfect book. While the story centers mostly on Mary and on that famous summer night in 1816 that sparked the challenge behind Frankenstein, there’s also plenty of detail about the other participants in the challenge: her then companion and future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John William Polidori – who went on to write the first vampire novel, The Vampyre.

The Monsters I’m always fascinated by details from famous writers’ lives and how they find their way into their stories. The authors give plenty of details to show how different elements from Mary Shelley’s life may have contributed to the idea behind Frankenstein – an emotionally detached father, a mother she never knew, the pressure she felt to produce a great literary work (being the daughter of famous writers), the tumultuous relationship she had with Shelley, a scientific experiment she heard about involving electricity, and later on the deaths and tragedies that marked her life. The book abounds in such details and I’m sure I wouldn’t have found them as interesting had I not read Frankenstein first. It also describes her connection with lord Byron (through her step sister Claire), her strained relationship with Claire, and Byron’s rise to fame as “the first celebrity”. It was a time of travel and friendship, of connections and betrayals, of joy fraught with despair and ever present money problems. It was a time that inspired incredible work, not only from Mary but also from the other writers who took part in Byron’s challenge. A great book I’d love to read again.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Let me begin by saying I have never read a book quite like this. The story and the pictures (which I avoided looking at until I started reading so as not to spoil my enjoyment) seemed like the perfect combination to create something special. I loved the first part of the book – the grandfather telling fantastical stories to his young nephew, the incredible and unbelievable details about his life as a young man, his decline and death which started a quest for the truth.

Miss P The main protagonist, sixteen-year-old Jacob persuades his father to accompany him on a trip to a desolate island in the hope of finding the house his grandfather talked about in his stories – the monsters he was trying to keep at bay, the bizarre photographs of children he showed Jacob (the peculiars he called them), the “old bird smoking a pipe” who protected the children. And here the story started to lose its spark for me – it wasn’t the time travel, or the strange children with their otherworldly abilities. I’m not sure if I can even pinpoint what exactly it was that threw me off – perhaps the sudden romance between Jacob and Emma, which I felt didn’t really fit with the overall mood of the story. I wanted to know more about the monsters hunting the children and how the children were able to survive in that endless time loop without losing their minds. I wanted Jacob to find a way to live between the two worlds and I felt the story played up a lot on teenager angst and didn’t explore its dark potential to the fullest. But perhaps the answer is in the sequel, which I’d like to read, just to see how the children managed to live in the present and if their special gifts help or hinder them in their new life.

My rating: 3/5 stars

My R.I.P contributions:

The Unpierced Heart

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice / Frankenstein – Mary W Shelley

This House is Haunted – John Boyne / Sepulchre – James Herbert

The Quick – Lauren Owen

Deliver Us from Evil – movie review

Dracula Untold – movie review

I also went over to terribleminds.com and felt inspired to write some flash fiction:

Night Terror (the beginning)
Untitled vampire story (the middle)

NaNo pic And just like one great event ends, another begins. NaNoWriMo starts in less than two hours and I’ve decided to participate this year as well. If I can manage to stay awake past midnight long enough to get a few hundred words in, that would be great. Last year I had a really great time and wrote a story I really liked, even though The End came a few months later. This year I’ve decided to continue in the same genre, fantasy and horror. What greater way to celebrate Halloween than to write a scary story? I don’t know if the world needs another vampire/wizard story but I know I need to write it. Wish me luck.

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6 Responses to R.I.P. wrap up and doing NaNoWriMo again

  1. I often fin myself in a dilemma. Reading about the lives of great authors is enlightening and worthy.

    But, do I take precious reading time, that could be spent reading great works, and instead read about the authors? There really is no good answer for me.

    Good luck and have fun with NaNoWriMo.

    • Delia says:

      Hi Brian,
      For me, reading about the lives of authors and how they use that in their books only enriches the whole experience of reading. As a reader and writer I’m fascinated by how life translates onto the page. It makes me appreciate the books ever more.
      NaNo has started well but I’m a bit behind so I need to get writing! Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Vishy says:

    Beautiful reviews, Delia! I haven’t heard of Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler’s ‘Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein – The Monsters’. It looks so wonderful and I would love to read it sometime. I love Mary Shelley – it is so difficult to believe that she was just a teenager when she wrote ‘Frankenstein’. Also as Percy Shelley died young she had to keep writing to provide for her family and she had a tough life. She was a pioneer as a novelist – in addition to ‘Frankenstein’, she also wrote ‘The Last Man’ which is about the last surviving man in the world. I don’t think anyone had written a novel like that when she did that – it was a time when dystopian fiction had still not taken root. So, what I wanted to say is that I will definitely be reading this book. Thanks for writing about it.

    ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ looks like an interesting book. Sorry to know that you didn’t like it as much as you had hoped to. The premise of the book looks quite fascinating though. Hope the second part of the series is better.

    It is so exciting that NaNoWriMo has started! Wish you all the very best! Have fun writing your new novel! I can’t wait to hear all about it – what it is about and the challenges you faced while writing it. Happy writing!

    • Delia says:

      Hi Vishy,
      There were so many things I found out from reading this book. I would like to read The Last Man, especially since two of the characters are based on Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
      I’m glad you want to read The Monsters, I look forward to your thoughts on it.

  3. Priya says:

    Good luck with your WriMo novel. This is the second year I’m attempting, and it’s probably going to be the second time I abandon the effort. I can’t seem to be able to graduate from short stories, just yet. I love reading the horror you post on here, so I can only imagine what you’ll do with a novel.
    The Monsters sounds like a very interesting book. I don’t usually give much thought to an author’s personal history, but I’d like to try and this seems like a good place to start.

    • Delia says:

      Hi Priya,
      If short stories is what you do best, why don’t you write a collection of them for NaNo? As far as I understand from the NaNo site you can do that and just add your total word count from all the stories to get to 50k. How does this sound? Better, right? 🙂

      The Monsters was a very good book. I actually wanted more details, I’m always fascinated by the way writers are able to incorporate their experiences into their writing. Stephen King does that too in his book On Writing, which I love.
      Thanks for the nice words. I will remember them when I begin to lose steam (it happens).

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