“It was a reminder of what we’d lost—and also that my senior year was rapidly coming to a close. I’d barely noticed. Prom was in three weeks, and graduation was only a month after that. It was hard to believe that a few months ago, I’d assumed I’d be here with Nadia, enjoying all of this. Now that Nadia was gone, I had nothing to look forward to except the hope that I could prevent a bunch of evil spirits from overrunning Rhode Island. ”
Sarah Fine's Sanctum was a real surprise when I discovered it earlier this year. It had all the things I love about adult fantasy--grit, flawed characters, adventure, big consequences--in a compelling young adult package. Needless to say, I eagerly anticipated the sequel, Fractured.
[Tiny spoilers for Sanctum ahoy, though I've attempted to be as vague as possible.]
Fractured picks up shortly after Sanctum ended, which narrator Lela back home in Rhode Island. We find the power dynamics between she and love interest and Shadowland Guard Malachi have shifted. She's the boss, with a crew of guardians under her command. They're battling the demon-like mazikin, as in Sanctum, but this time they're on Lela's home turf, and the few people she's allowed to become close to her are all in danger, making the stakes even higher than before.
“Life as it was now: a weird intersection of normal and crazy, of life and beyond-life, afterlife, undead, whatever. I put my hand to my heart and felt it beating, remembered feeling Malachi’s pounding through his shirt as he kissed me. Were we alive? Were we here on borrowed time? Did we have a right to live or only to serve as Guards? Did we have a future, or were we headed back to the dark city when we were done? Did anything we did here, apart from eliminating the Mazikin, matter? Could we keep anything for ourselves?”
Second books in a series are a tough thing. In a lot of ways, when a first book is good, the second book's role as the second act in a three-act series (as in the case of a trilogy) can feel more like a bridge to the conclusion rather than a gripping story. Fortunately, Fractured avoided this fate, and is--in many ways--a stronger book than the first.
Shifting the setting from the Shadowlands to modern-day Rhode Island was a bold move, since it radically altered the character dynamics, and it really paid off.
We're excited to bring you another episode of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast! We have such a good time recording the show and love that the podcast lets us dig into issues with more nuance than the blog format allows.
In episode #15, Laura and I dig into the subject of reader expectations, the role of marketing in informing those expectations and the way consumers of creative works become intensely invested in those works. Please note, this episode was recorded prior to my writing this blog post; if it had been, we likely would have elaborated more regarding the notion of how we read, and if readers "owe" authors anything in that respect.
As always, you can listen to the podcast by streaming on this page, downloading the MP3 below or by subscribing in iTunes. If you're an iTuner, we very much appreciate your rating and reviewing the podcast, as it helps us to show up in iTunes searches. We're also now on Stitcher Radio, so if you prefer that app, you can subscribe here.
Laura and I recorded a podcast on Monday which will be up on iTunes (Don't forget to rate us, yo!) and blog in the next few days in which we discuss the topic of reader expectations and reactions, particularly in the context of series and authors with large backlists. While Laura and I go in depth into the topic on that podcast, I know not everyone listens to it, and the discussion just keeps morphing online.
The reader expectations discussion erupted earlier this year when Charlaine Harris finally ended her Sookie Stackhouse series. Readers were unhappy that they'd invest 13 years into reading the series, watched Sookie float from love interest to love interest and finally end up with a partner who was, to them, rather unexciting.
Then we had the whole Divergent debacle in which some readers were incredibly upset about the choices author Veronica Roth made in the final book in that series, Allegiant.
More recently, Gayle Forman has been criticized by readers frustrated with the companion novel to Just on Day, Just One Year.
And there was also the brouhaha in the romance world because an author and reader (because--shocker--people can be both) "live tweeted" her reading of Susan Elizabeth Philips' Nobody's Baby But Mine (Janet detailed this on Dear Author earlier this week).
This type of response isn't anything new, and it's not exclusive to reading.