Posted in InFlight

Unwritten – Tara Gilboy

“If you could meet your main character, would they forgive you?”

This is a question that floats around writers circles often. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen it on twitter. It’s a question that really digs at you as an author. Your characters are your babies. As an author, you spend so much time crafting the characters, back stories, personalities, the world they live in, and so much more. By the time a book makes its way into the hands of readers, it can feel a part of you.

We throw our characters into stressful situations to see how they’ll handle it. Sometimes characters will even surprise the author in how they react to things. It’s happened to me, where a character definitely took on a life of her own, and started driving a way I did not anticipate. I was just along for the ride at that point.

“Once upon a time,” Gertrude Winters wrote, “in a land called Bondoff, in a castle on a hill . . .”

Our characters feel real. But what if they actually were? What if your character was walking around in the world, and you ran into them at the bookstore? What would they ask of you? What would you say to them? Would you even recognize them? This is the premise that Unwritten, by Tara Gilboy tackles. A fairytale storybook character Gracie, is taken from her story by her parents, and brought into the real world, because she is supposed to die in the story.

This story is so amazing. Tara takes this really great premise and runs with it. As Gracie moves through the book, she wrestles with her own emotions, fate, and forgiveness. Gracie’s adventure takes her through the real world, along with her own world within her story. She meets her author, and has so many things to say to her, which are not always good.

Tara does an amazing job crafting a world filled with all the fun elements you would find in a fantasy story, including castles, moats, and even an evil witch. Throwing a couple kids from the real world into a fantasy land has never felt so much fun, at least for one character. Who wouldn’t want their own fantasy storybook after all?

Gracie feels genuine throughout, reacting in ways that any young kid would when faced with the decisions, and the information, that is thrown at her. She wrestles with her temper, and if she can overcome the fate bestowed upon her. Can Gracie become her own person, with a personality not forced upon herself by the author of her story, or is she destined to live out what was written about her within her storybook, never to see the real world again?

It’s a fun adventure I couldn’t put down. Literally. I read the whole thing over the course of two plane flights. The premise felt unique and fresh. You should definitely go out and find yourself a copy right now!

Unwritten – Tara Gilboy

Twelve-year-old Gracie Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she’s never read. When she was a baby, her parents learned that she was supposed to die in the story, and with the help of a magic book, took her out of the story, and into the outside world, where she could be safe. 
But Gracie longs to know what the story says about her. Despite her mother’s warnings, Gracie seeks out the story’s author, setting in motion a chain of events that draw herself, her mother, and other former storybook characters back into the forgotten tale. 
Inside the story, Gracie struggles to navigate the blurred boundary between who she really is and the surprising things the author wrote about her. As the story moves toward its deadly climax, Gracie realizes she’ll have to face a dark truth and figure out her own fairy-tale ending.

You can find Unwritten here

Posted in Review

Review – Double Crossing the Bridge

There’s something magical, that Sarah J. Sover has tapped into, with her debut novel, Double Crossing the Bridge. She’s taken a story we all know so well, The Three Billygoats Gruff, and put a modern, very adult, spin on it. In the city of New Metta, the corporation TCB, owns and manages the bridge which allows humans access to the world below. The bridge generates untold wealth and prosperity for the elite underlings of society, while lesser beings are left to fend for scraps. 

Sarah has managed to take a beloved children’s story, and breath fresh new life into it. She has created a something that is rich with captivating characters, a unique world, and of course, a story that is begging to be told.

Granu, who is no longer deemed fit for her job as a teacher, is left to attempt the one thing no one has ever been able to do before. Steal as much as she and her lifelong friends Fillig and Kradduk can carry from TCB, and escape to a better life. This is of course, if those damn billy goats don’t get in the way.

Sarah’s strength easily relies on her ability to take something and turn it on its head. So often, a world where trolls and billy goats are at odds, is a world set in medieval times. Where you think of wooden bridges and stone arrowheads and maybe even Robin Hood. Instead, we’re greeted with cell phones, and laptops, and television. It’s utterly unique and amazing.

She has also managed to turn everything we as humans know and love on its head. General standards of beauty such as a short thin woman, or a tall bulky man, are completely reversed. The underlings delight in eating unicorn meat, and children as well. Even the act of marriage is tossed on its head, where a male who longs for a mate is ultimately considered a failure of a man, and therefore not worthy of a woman’s time.

Each new chapter bring hilarious new ways for our own world to be turned around and it’s just as amazing in the final pages, as it is in the beginning.

The book, like everything, is not without faults, though they mostly feel minor, and don’t detract from the overall story. Odd choices here and there are made by our group of thieving heroes, and at times the pacing feels just a little off. But in the end, all the strings that weave this hilarious story together are cleaned up nicely and create a wonderfully fun read.

Overall, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars! 

Double Crossing the Bridge is written by Sarah J. Sover, and published by The Parliament House. You can find links to purchase the book from the publishers website listed below, along with all the details on how to find Sarah, and The Parliament House. Synopsis in the comments.

Instagram: @sarahjsover
Twitter: @sarahjsover

Instagram: @theparliamentpress
Twitter: @parliamentbooks
Facebook: The Parliament House

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