This month, Teens Can Write, Too! is focusing on self-publishing and small-press publishing, and that’s where this month’s prompt comes from. With self-publishing, you don’t have to wait for someone to read your manuscript and then possibly be let down anyway because they don’t think it’s good enough for publication. But for the same reason, self-publishing doesn’t have a great reputation. You can publish anything, good or bad. For example, Eragon by Christopher Paolini was originally self-published and that’s why I’m usually a bit iffy about self-publishing. Ah, I know this blog post is off to a good start when I open it by dissing Paolini. Ha ha!
Before I bash the little Tolkien plagiarist any more, let’s get on to this month’s prompt:
“Choose one self-published book to read, then briefly review it or talk about your experiences reading it.”
A list of excellent self-published books was provided for ideas so because I’m lazy and didn’t want to look for some on my own, I chose one from there. I picked Mythology by Helen Boswell because the summary sounded interesting, I already knew a little bit about it from a review on Miriam Joy’s blog, and the cover was gorgeous.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
See what I mean? Such a pretty cover. I love the color combination and the “soft” style of the art. I’m practically petting the cover on my computer screen right now. Sorry, was that creepy?
Hope Gentry appears to be a normal high school senior, but she has a weird talent. She can see auras around people that show her their worst memories. It’s like this with everyone, except for a cute guy named Micah whom she meets one day. Immediately getting a huge crush on him, she is drawn into a world where demons and guardian angels are real. Someone close to her may even be a demon…
This is a very difficult book to review, not least because just a few minutes ago I was madly scrolling through pages on our Kindle to finish it in time to get this post out and now I’m trying to write a review in fifteen minutes.
I’m not saying that Mythology plagiarizes from any of the following, but it reminds me of a cross between Percy Jackson, Twilight, and Kirsten Miller’s books (the Kiki Strike series, The Eternal Ones, et cetera). I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. It’s just something that had never crossed my mind before, that it would be possible to mix these books. It has the humor and “mythical things are real”-ness of Percy Jackson and the slightly irritating romance of Twilight. But I can sort of ignore that because Helen Boswell has the same talent for making impossible things seem possible, as Kirsten Miller does. Both of them have me fully believing that their characters actually exist.
Secondly, I have conflicting opinions on this book.
The idea is awesome – I love the idea of demons and guardian angels each trying their hardest to influence humans. I also found Hope quite interesting. She reminds me a bit of myself. She’s smart with a slightly sarcastic sense of humor; she cares more about books than clothes.
However, I have some issues with her. Actually, I don’t so much have issues with Hope as I do with Helen Boswell, her creator. I knew that Mythology had some romance but I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. I’m not averse to romance in books, although I don’t seek it out. In the end Mythology‘s love story irked me. This is a four-hundred-page book; Boswell had plenty of time to allow the romance between Hope and Micah to develop. But instead, she has Hope and Micah ridiculously in loooove by about the second chapter. (This might not be 100% accurate, but I don’t feel like reading any more than I have to on the Kindle so I’m not going to check.)
I’m not annoyed at Hope. I just don’t think literary instant gratification is a good thing. Imagine how boring Lord of the Rings would have been if when Frodo was told he had to destroy the Ring he said, “Sure thing!” then teleported himself to Mount Doom and dropped it in. It doesn’t matter that in the trilogy that Tolkien actually wrote, we know Frodo will destroy the Ring – leaving that for later still creates a sense of anticipation. I think this goes for romance, too. The sense of will-she-won’t-she? was entirely missing in Mythology. I think the book would have been much more interesting if Hope had a crush on Micah, learned he was a demon, and then decided whether or not she would stay away from him.
Another problem I have with Mythology is its title. First of all, it’s confusing. Angels and demons are, I believe, Christian mythology, which isn’t what most people think of when they think of mythology. They think of Greek and Roman mythology. Secondly, Mythology is just a boring title! It doesn’t focus as much on mythology as the title would lead you to believe. A much better title would be Angels and Demons but Dan Brown already wrote a book by that name. The characters in this book even mention it.
Finally, some of the characters were not very well fleshed out. I would have liked to know more about Jonathan, Davis, and a couple of others whose names I have forgotten at the moment.
In some ways, I felt terribly let down by Mythology, but there are still a few high points. I liked the action, the humor, the description of the demons’ society, and the character of Jonathan. This book is apparently the first in a series and I liked how it was revealed that Jonathan also loves Hope. Because I’m a bad, bad reader I hope that Hope and Micah will break up and she can date Jonathan as he’s much more interesting. However, that probably won’t end up happening.
Is Mythology worth your time? It depends. If you have enough of an interest in fantasy to not be dissuaded by the slightly cheesy romance, then yes.
That wasn’t so bad for something written in very little time, was it? It helps to listen to intense film score music that fight scenes and the like because it makes me type more quickly. Nerd discoveries for the win! But if this was a bad, disjointed review, then feel free to yell at me in the comments.
Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:
February 5th – http://the-writing-junkie.blogspot.com/
February 6th – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com/
February 7th – https://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
February 8th – http://fida-islaih.blogspot.com/
February 9th – http://sarahhudsonscribbles.blogspot.ca/
February 10th http://avonsbabbles.wordpress.com/
February 11th http://notebooksisters.blogspot.com/
February 12th http://mirrormadeofwords.wordpress.com/
February 13th http://www.lilyjenness.blogspot.com/
February 14th http://www.writerbewildered.blogspot.com/
February 15th http://realteenreader.wordpress.com/
February 16th http://epistolarygirl.wordpress.com/
February 17th http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com/
February 18th http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)