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Holly Black
#1  Luffy 11-27-2019, 02:48 PM
Is anyone familiar with her work? Her newest book is out, and I've forgotten its name.
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#2  pwalker8 11-27-2019, 03:00 PM
She's mostly known as a YA/middle grade author. Her book The Queen of Nothing is the new book. I read her Magisterium series, but not her other stuff.
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#3  hildea 11-29-2019, 01:03 PM
I've read some of her YA books: The darkest part of the forest (faeries), The coldest girl in Coldtown (vampires) and the Curse Workers triology (magic and organised crime). I liked them all, she's good at giving her own twist to things.

The stories I've read are pretty dark, here's the protagonist in the first chapter of the first Curse Workers book:

Quote
Don’t be too sympathetic. Here’s the essential truth about me: I killed a girl when I was fourteen. Her name was Lila, she was my best friend, and I loved her. I killed her anyway. There’s a lot of the murder that seems like a blur, but my brothers found me standing over her body with blood on my hands and a weird smile tugging at my mouth. What I remember most is the feeling I had looking down at Lila—the giddy glee of having gotten away with something.
No one knows I’m a murderer except my family. And me, of course.
I don’t want to be that person, so I spend most of my time at school faking and lying. It takes a lot of effort to pretend you’re something you’re not. I don’t think about what music I like; I think about what music I should like. When I had a girlfriend, I tried to convince her I was the guy she wanted me to be. When I’m in a crowd, I hang back until I can figure out how to make them laugh. Luckily, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s faking and lying.
I told you I’d done plenty wrong.
I haven't read her newest series, you can find info on it here: https://blackholly.com/
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#4  Luffy 12-04-2019, 05:50 AM
I didn't like that characterisation. It was clumsy and cheap. Sorry about my reaction. Not my thing, simple as that.
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#5  hildea 12-05-2019, 01:55 AM
* shrug * OK, not everything is for everyone.

Since you started a thread about Black, I assume something about her books caught your attention. If you were thinking about checking out her books, I hope one quote won't put you off her. In case it matters, that quote is in the voice of a protagonist who has at that point in the story just been expelled from school because he's suspected of being a victim of a curse and the school is worried about liability, and he has to sort out how to handle his illegal betting network at school while he's away, face moving back to his mafia family which he has a strained relationship with, and also find out if he actually has been cursed, so he's under some stress
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#6  gmw 12-05-2019, 02:07 AM
The characterisation does seem rather explicit - perhaps related to the author's more usual stomping ground of YA. One might hope things would settle as the story moves on. But just as some author voices work for us on a some personal/intangible level, some don't. I see Holly Black is putting out some collaborations with Cassandra Clare, which hits my point exactly. I haven't read Holly Black, but I have read a couple of Cassandra Clare's books and they just don't work for me: she has a way of expressing things that often grates on my nerves, despite finding some of the stories to have potential. But given her popularity it's obvious not everyone feels the same way.
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#7  hildea 12-05-2019, 02:27 AM
Quote gmw
The characterisation does seem rather explicit - perhaps related to the author's more usual stomping ground of YA.
The book I'm quoting from is YA And while the characterisation is explicit, it isn't necessarily completely true -- there are reasons why the protagonist goes to some pains to try to convince the reader that he's a bad person.

The dividing line between YA and books aimed at adults seem pretty murky to me, by the way. Frankly, I often can't tell if a book is YA or not without checking the publisher's categorization.
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#8  gmw 12-05-2019, 05:39 AM
When I checked that series on Kobo it didn't classify it as Kids/Teen/YA, as it does many other works by the same author (Kobo AU only had book 3).

Yes, works in any genre may be widely diverse and difficult to categorise. But, with that disclaimer out of the way, the excerpt was what I would describe as first-person self-obsessed, so YA would have been my first guess if Kobo had not suggested otherwise. (Yes, first-person is annoyingly ubiquitous these days and not limited to YA, and no, self-obsessed is not the exclusive purview of YA, so I might have been wrong, but my initial reaction was still: YA.)
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#9  Luffy 12-05-2019, 09:13 AM
Quote hildea
* shrug * OK, not everything is for everyone.

Since you started a thread about Black, I assume something about her books caught your attention. If you were thinking about checking out her books, I hope one quote won't put you off her. In case it matters, that quote is in the voice of a protagonist who has at that point in the story just been expelled from school because he's suspected of being a victim of a curse and the school is worried about liability, and he has to sort out how to handle his illegal betting network at school while he's away, face moving back to his mafia family which he has a strained relationship with, and also find out if he actually has been cursed, so he's under some stress
I tried to read White Cat and it was unreadable to me. I wanted some more opinions to decide if I should give another book of hers a chance. Thanks to you, I've made up my mind.
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#10  hildea 12-05-2019, 02:51 PM
You know, it would have been useful if you had mentioned that you had tried "White Cat", then I wouldn't have wasted both your and my time by quoting from the one book of hers you had already tried.

In case anyone else is considering trying out Holly Black, here's the beginning of "The darkest part of the forest":

Quote The darkest part of the forest
Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.

As far as Hazel Evans knew, from what her parents said to her and from what their parents said to them, he’d always been there. And no matter what anyone did, he never, ever woke up.

He didn’t wake up during the long summers, when Hazel and her brother, Ben, stretched out on the full length of the coffin, staring down through the crystalline panes, fogging them up with their breath, and scheming glorious schemes. He didn’t wake up when tourists came to gape or debunkers came to swear he wasn’t real. He didn’t wake up on autumn weekends, when girls danced right on top of him, gyrating to the tinny sounds coming from nearby iPod speakers, didn’t notice when Leonie Wallace lifted her beer high over her head, as if she were saluting the whole haunted forest. He didn’t so much as stir when Ben’s best friend, Jack Gordon, wrote IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS in Sharpie along one side—or when Lloyd Lindblad took a sledgehammer and actually tried. No matter how many parties had been held around the horned boy—generations of parties, so that the grass sparkled with decades of broken bottles in green and amber, so that the bushes shone with crushed aluminum cans in silver and gold and rust—and no matter what happened at those parties, nothing could wake the boy inside the glass coffin.

When they were little, Ben and Hazel made him flower crowns and told him stories about how they would rescue him. Back then, they were going to save everyone who needed saving in Fairfold. Once Hazel got older, though, she mostly visited the coffin only at night, in crowds, but she still felt something tighten in her chest when she looked down at the boy’s strange and beautiful face.

She hadn’t saved him, and she hadn’t saved Fairfold, either.
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