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Showing posts tagged: worldbuilding click to see more stuff tagged with worldbuilding
Jun 16 2017 12:00pm

“Love, Magic, Reckoning”: A Beginner’s Guide to Madhuri Pavamani’s Keeper Series

The Keepers Series by Madhuri Pavamani

Everything you need to know to make The Keepers Series your next keeper

When you start a new series, quickly getting a feel for the setting is key, and that's never more important than when reading a paranormal. One of the most original romances we've read this year is Madhuri Pavamani's Keeper series, which introduces readers to the world of Poochas, Keepers, Deaders—and the hot romance between Dutch and Juma.

Want to know more? Of course you do! With help from author Madhuri Pavamani herself, allow us to present an introduction to Books 1 and 2 of the Keeper series, Dutch and Juma, as well as scoop on Book 3, Death.

First off, what are the important terms?

Poocha: Death’s reclaimers, those beings who help the dead cross back into life. Poochas have nine lives and are the archnemeses of Keepers. Death chooses who shall become a Poocha.

Deader: Nickname for the dead used by Death, her Poochas, and the Alighters.

Alighter: Alighters work with Poochas to assist in the reclamation of the dead. Fixers of memory and circumstance, they often work in teams around the globe to wipe memories and clear the way for a Deader to return to life.

Keeper: Deadly assassin of The Gate, trained to hunt and kill Poochas. Only Keepers may become Ren and lead The Gate.

Each of these roles is dependant on the existence of the others, Pavamani tells us, adding: “These three are intertwined by necessity more than desire—without deaders, there would be no need for poochas, and without poochas, there would be no need for keepers. Each is the reason for the other’s existence, a most twisted co-dependency based upon death, death, and more death.”

[Read more...]

May 10 2017 12:00pm

From The Thief to The King: How Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides Stole Our Hearts (and the Queen of Attolia’s)

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Note: This post contains spoilers for the series. Really, really good spoilers, but spoilers nonetheless!

It's been seven years since the last book in The Queen's Thief series appeared, and fans are thrilled to finally get to return to the alternative universe in sort-of-ancient-Greece this month. Although the series mostly belongs in the young adult fantasy genre, deft characterizations, clever plotting, and an astonishing enemies-to-lovers romance arc in the second and third book have made it a hit with romance readers as well. Thick as Thieves is supposed to stand alone, but here's a spoiler-filled catch-up on some of the major plot elements and characters of the first four books.

The Thief (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) is told by Gen (short for Eugenides), one of the most delightful unreliable narrators of all time. At first glance, he seems a braggart and a whiny weakling, despised by virtually everyone. We meet him in the prison of Sounis, where he's offered a bargain by the king's magus: steal something for the king, and he'll go free. The prize, we learn, is an ancient artifact which the king can use to force a marriage with the queen of Eddis, a naturally well defended mountain country that stands between him and an invasion of the country of Attolia.

[Read more...]

Aug 22 2016 12:30pm

We Want to Be a Part of Kerrigan Byrne’s World

The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

World building is a facet of historical romance that’s often overlooked. Contextually, it’s assumed that even though what you’re reading is fictitious, it’s still happening in a past that doesn’t need much explanation because it’s grounded in something very real and researchable. It’s unlike the structure of world building in paranormal or sci-fi fiction because it’s expected to be easy to grasp.

While this is true, I’ve found through reading historical romances that there are extensive missing elements—like people of color.

It may seem like an inconsequential thing, but if you study the breadth of historical romances and put them all together as your basis of what the past could have actually been like, there’s an enormous chasm between what was and what’s on the page.  

That’s why when I found Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series and began to read, I was so delightfully, pleasantly, and wholly enamored with the world Byrne presented us because it actually mimicked a world full of delightful color. Through her wealth of characters, she brings a sense of completeness to the world of her historicals.

[A world full of color...]

Dec 6 2013 9:30am

First Look: Alexis Hall’s Iron and Velvet (December 16, 2013)

Iron & Velvet by Alexis HallAlexis Hall
Iron & Velvet
Riptide / December 16, 2013 / $16.99 print

First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.

My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.

It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.

I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks.

It’s going to be an interesting day.

The tone of the cover copy makes it clear that this is a mystery written by someone who appreciates Dashiell Hammett.The materials for any standard murder mystery are present—a victim or two, and a few attempted murders, and Kate Kane is hired to find the killer. But Kate is more than a dame with a gat and a P.I. license. The victim was a werewolf, Kate’s client is a vampire, and Kate might look like an ordinary human, but her mother is the Queen of the Wild Hunt, some sort of fae, and she has some powers of her own.

Okay, so how to describe this book? It’s like a high quality fruitcake and if you like dense pastry with lots of ingredients, it’s perfect.

[Perfect for the holiday season...]

Aug 22 2013 3:30pm

Living Book of the Lore: The Worldbuilding of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Series

New Orleans French Quarter picture by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr Creative Commons~If you read The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole, then you know the information I’m about to impart is punishable by death if shared with a human, so of course the logical place to put it is on the Internet (I have a “Valkyrie in Training” T-shirt, so I hope you realize the risk I undertake). However, it seems only fair that with the Accession growing closer, and factions fighting to the death that humans should be aware of why their neighbors have all of a sudden mysteriously disappeared, why their friend’s eyes are suddenly growing red (you should probably invest in a sharp blade for beheading purposes), and that when lightning strikes, they should probably cower.

Laissex le Bons Temps Rouler: The Big Presence of the Big Easy

You could talk about Cole’s worldbuilding without talking about New Orleans, but where would the fun be in that? I fell in love with Cole’s New Orleans so much, in fact, that I recently took a pilgrimage there to see the city that seemed like a living, breathing element of her story. Strangely enough, though, very little of the city actually features in her stories. Her characters have gone all over the world from Eastern Europe, the Amazon, Scotland, and even different dimensions. But New Orleans stays present in every other exotic locale Cole takes her characters—from the rolling Southern drawl some of her characters have acquired, to their yearnings to return to the rundown plantation nestled in the bayou.

[There's no place like home—or New Orleans...]

Jul 10 2013 1:00pm

Most Unusual World-Building from Darynda Jones, Meljean Brook, Lauren Dane, and More!

First Grave on the Right by Darynda JonesThe greatest appeal of the paranormal genre and its various limbs—urban fantasy, steampunk, dystopian romance—is the endless possibility contained within. This is a place where authors make their own rules, and with these limitless boundaries, we've moved from standard vampire and werewolf fare to a kick-ass grim reaper heroine, a hospital exploding not only with demons but every supernatural creature you could dream of, a futuristic dystopia with a complex vision of the planet in the coming centuries, as well as a return to another era, re-imagined to include mechanical flesh and steam-run engines, just to cite a few. These series offer some of the most unusual worldbuilding in romance. Creativity abounds in spades, and this is where romance is really cutting edge, evolving constantly so there's something for everyone.

Charley Davidson is Darynda Jones's unique heroine: part grim reaper, part private investigator, all trouble and never-ending humor. The fact that she's in love with the son of Satan adds another bizarre component, but it all works together in a series that is equally paranormal, mystery, and romance. Each addition to the series is that perfect balance of serial and mythological, with a supporting cast that enhances every element.

[Like a tasty, grim reaper milk shake...]

May 14 2013 8:30am

Otherworldly: What to Read and Watch If You Love Lost Girl’s Worldbuilding

Season 3 cast of Lost GirlOne thing about the creators and writers of Lost Girl: they’ve spent a lot of time constructing this interesting re-imagination of the world we live in. Everything from the Dal being a place of neutrality between the Light and Dark Fae...not to mention the unaligned ones...to incorporating Dyson’s wolfness into a variety of Fae are just a small sample of what we’ve encountered over the last three seasons. It has taken things we may have learned (and quickly disregarded) in high school to whole new levels.

Sure, along the way, they may have some continuity errors. They might have also irked their fans with storylines that sometimes go against popular opinion (you really can’t please everyone), but they work hard to bring interesting mythologies from around the world and make it entertaining for us viewers. With the introduction of Tamsin, a Valkyrie, in season three, we caught a bit of Old Norse in the works. If resident expert, Kiersten, is correct we’ll be looking at more to come in the form of the head Norseman himself, Odin.

While we wait for the big reveal (confirmation?) of the identity of Bo’s father, here are some book recommendations that may please the Fae worldbuilding contingent.

[May these recs soothe some of our Lost Girl needs...]