‘Sarah Rees Brennan has made a bold choice in putting Nick in the narrative center of this story. It’s risky because he’s not immediately likable in a traditional sense. Now, I sort of hate using that word – likable – because I don’t want to imply that he’s hard to like or that people don’t like him, as I’m a clear exception to that case. Nick is very abrasive as a narrator. He’s openly flawed in the text, he’s rude, he is not prone to the type of narrator heroism I’ve seen a lot of in YA literature, and at times I do want to slap him in the face. And that’s all part of his characterization, something that gives him this immediate sort of distinction that I am quickly loving. Essentially, I can’t think of a narrative character like Nick.’
GUYS ISN’T THIS FUN.
MARK KNOWS NOT WHAT HE DOES.
I am enjoying this tremendously. Thank you to Mark, our lovely reader, and also to the two lovely ladies whose chapterifications have happened!
*waits like a toad in the water, patiently, for The Pain to commence*
Apparently, but hey, this is the internet, we all come here when we care about fiction very a lot. ;)
So, you have asked a multi-pronged question, let me answer it in a many-pronged fashion, since it’s been a while since I answered a TDL question!
Why not Nick, Mae and Alan?
a) Well, because I have always thought Alan’s POV would be dull.
ALAN: Here’s my genius scheme.
ALAN: It’ll take a while for the others to catch on. Look at them all run around and around.
ALAN: How have you been?
Specifically for the events of Surrender, if it had been told from Alan’s POV, I would have had to do something pretty tricky and possibly either dull or confusing. (Those who have read Surrender know the Event of which I speak.)
b) The primary bond of the TDL books, the bond given loads of focus for all three books, is that between the Ryves brothers. I thought it would be fun to write my Familial Series, and it was.
But I absolutely don’t believe that bonds between men are more pure and awesome, so I thought that the case of too many misters, not enough sisters that was potentially developing would be fixed by having this story told mostly by ladies: giving them the voice.
I have seen some people be like ‘What an awful mistake, dude point of view, dudes dudes dudes, they are the gr8est.’ ;) I am aware of this point of view: hey, a book with a dude protagonist or a dude point of view is much more likely to win an award.
(Excerpt from an interview I did last year: ‘in the last three years, there have only been two Printz winners (including honor books) that didn’t feature male protagonists’
I just do not agree with it. So, ladytimes, because girls are just as awesome as boys.
c) I believe that in a series, the world should expand: that’s what different points of view are for, and Sin’s pov felt more different and felt like it expanded the world better.
Alan is Nick’s brother, and Mae’s good friend: we already know he’s important. Sin’s point of view is a widely different one—she lives in the magical world in a way the others don’t, she has different priorities
Nick has to learn empathy with like, anyone, Mae has to learn more about the world she’s found herself in, Sin learns to care about our main characters… and we get to see why she mightn’t, originally, and the reader gets to see her thoughts, her feelings, why they might care about her.
Be the heroine of your life, said Nora Ephron: I thought Sin was that, and wished to showcase it. ;)
d) I like playing around with point of view. Mysteries are awesome that way: the main character in each case is shown the world is different than they think. So that was what inspired the switchy points of view, which I know is weird and causes a feeling of disconnection between novels in a continued series—because readers know if a book is another character’s story, it’s less of a continued story.
I remain very grateful to readers who stayed with me while I did a weirdo thing! And I know several of them asked apprehensively if I was doing the same thing for Unspoken, to which I said: no, Kami’s the main character all the way through, but I am doing different weirdo point-of-view stuff!
At which point I think maybe people murmured ‘Oh… good’ and wandered off to lie down.
My favourite point of view to write depends on when you ask me, because I liked different things about different povs: today, I’ll say Sin, because the question made me think about writing from her point of view. Tomorrow, the answer may be different!
Nick’s family has been on the run from magicians his whole life. His father is dead, and his insane mother hates him—she starts screaming if he touches her. After Nick’s protective older brother is marked with a demon sign that means death, danger is unavoidable. The only way to erase the sign is to kill a magician.
As Nick and his brother play a deadly cat and mouse game with the magicians, Nick begins to suspect that everything his brother has told him about their past is a pack of lies. Not knowing whom to trust or where to turn, he walks into a trap—and a startling revelation that changes everything he’s ever believed.
I’ve heard so many good things about this book and I’ve been a fan of Sarah Rees Brennan’s tumblr so when I first cracked opened this book…I had pretty high expectations! I have to say, the beginning was a bit of a let down. It felt pretty slow to me and I just couldn’t quite get into it. But I kept going… AND OMG I AM SO GLAD I DID! The real action happens in the last half of the book. All those little things that I barely noticed in the first half or just chalked up as being cliches all added up into one helluva a plot twist. I should say twists actually because more than once I was thrown, FLOORED, by the revelations in the second half of the book. I was MIND blown. Every time I thought “okay, I know where this is going”, I was WRONG! The book really ends with a bang and gave me this whole new perspective on the entire story. This is a very well thought out, plot heavy book and I would definitely tell the people who are having a hard time getting through it to just tough it out because it is WORTH IT.
That said, I had some issues connecting with some of the characters… namely Mae (the female lead). I just couldn’t wrap my brain around her and get under her skin and it made it hard to get invested in her interactions with the Ryves brothers. But the brothers! Oh man, they are the stars for a reason. I love Nick and Alan (Alan particularly). Nick was so snarky and fun, but Alan… Alan turned out to be one of the most complex, dynamic, and intriguing characters that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time. He’s just so much more than meets the eye. And while the book is mainly written in Nick’s perspective, the majority of the reason why the book is AWESOME, is because of Alan. I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to spoil anybody, but if you don’t finish this book without falling a little bit in love with Alan Ryves then you are not reading it right!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Aw, my tumblr sold someone on me! *pats tumblr* Thanks tumblr, I will prepare you an electronic treat. Lexicon seems like so long ago… but it still lurks, like a shar… LIKE A TREASURE WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED.
“He knew her now. She was the weird girl in the class above him, who dyed her hair pink and always wore a lot of pentragrams and crystals. Right now she was also wearing giant chandelier earings and a violent pink T-Shirt that bore the words ROMEO AND JULIET WOULDN’T HAVE LASTED.”
Aw. Hey there you with your pink hair. ;) Very pretty lady who I can’t wait to see in Great Expectations being heartless!