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Jen Miller

Reading The Sword of Shannara: Chapters 31-35

The Sword of ShannaraThis week marks our last installment in our conversations about Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara.  You can find them all from the beginning here, and we'd encourage you to let us know what you thought of the book in the comments!

Dear Phil--

Congratulations! We did it! And some more of your predictions came true--Stenmin did get out and then back into the castle through a secret passage. Nice work! I kept thinking of our discussion of the predictability of the plot during these chapters as well. There was one moment in particular where Brooks completely tips his hand, deflating what could be a very climactic moment. This happens at the very end when Curzad Ohmsford tells Shea and Flick that someone is looking for them, and Flick says, “What can we do? We don’t even have the Elfstones to protect us anymore.” Instead of letting holding off until the last possible moment to reveal the surprise that Panamon has found the Elfstones and has survived, by having Flick say this, it plants the seed of this possibility in the reader’s mind, making the ending less exciting.


Is it all in your head?

DollhouseLast spring, I finally got around to watching the second season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse on Netflix streaming, while I was also watching the fourth season of Chuck in real time.  I really enjoy both shows, but this experience of watching them together drew my attention to something that I'm not sure I would have noticed otherwise.

The main characters of both shows, Chuck and Echo, both flash.


Our Fantastic Week Ahead: August 29

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryFor many, Roald Dahl's books are some of their favorites from childhood.

The BFG.

James and the Giant Peach.


And perhaps most well-loved, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Dahl's books bring together fantasy, everyday reality, and humor into a mix that is irresistable, and this week, we're excited about the relase of the Penguin Deluxe edition of the novel, complete with cover art by Ivan Brunetti and an introduction by Lev Grossman.


Fantastically Fun Fridays: August 26, 2011

Hooray!  It's Friday!

Yesterday, a former student of mine who now works at Orbit sent me a link to a trailer that she had worked on for Brent Weeks' The Black Prism.  It's pretty cool.

The idea of having a trailer for a book is an interesting one--part of me likes how it creates excitement for the book, but part of me also wonders about using visual images to promote a text-based narrative.  Does using these images somehow take away from the ability of the book to stand on its own? 

For me, the ideal book trailer is one that creates excitement for the book without showing the characters or the events of the story, so that the book has the first crack at creating these images in the reader's mind.  The trailer for the Spanish version of Pat Rothfuss's Wise Man's Fear is a great example of this--it sets the mood, but lets the book stand on its own.

What do you think?  Are there other fantasy book trailers that are available and worth watching?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Here are some other fun odds and ends to help you ease into the weekend:


The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Work of Sam Valentino

Clock TreesI came across the work of Sam Valentino as a result of our "magician's week" here at Fantasy Matters--Lev Grossman had posted a link on his blog to a picture that Sam had done of the Watcherwoman's clocktrees in Fillory, and like Lev, I was impressed by how well Sam conveyed the connection of The Magicians with The Chronicles of Narnia by imitating Pauline Baynes's style.  So I headed over to Sam's blog to see what else he has done--and what I found was artwork that is wonderfully fun and lighthearted, but grounded in personal connections that makes it very real.



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