Victim of MIA Backstory

This book was alright. 

If you haven’t read it already, try The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden. It certainly is a refreshing read with a young, hip style that is all its own, throwing in so many elements I would expect from a weird-as-a-compliment Austin author.

I was semi-interested when I read its synopsis:

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

And then I was even more interested when I peeked at the first page:

His birth certificate reads Muzikayise McCarthy, but nobody calls him that except his grandfather and anyone looking for a busted lip. Though right now, you could curse his name a million times, and he wouldn’t hear you.

He’s too busy mourning the fate of his dick. (3)

Certainly a liberal read if you’re already throwing dicks around on the first page. But, as I kept reading (and trust me, you will. This is a quick book), the conflicts kept building. I guess it’s safe to say this is a well-rounded book, but to me, it feels almost overwhelming to the point that each of these conflicts seem shallow. To the point by the end, I feel underwhelmed. I’m left with so many questions, from so many unresolved conflicts, asking myself why did all these things have to happen this way. Such as, SPOILERS:

  1. Syndey, for being a ‘young’ demigoddess, why do you have so much anger? Why must you prey on others fear? Just from reading, we can see that not all demigods behave in this manner.
  2. Nomvula, you were destroyed. And, I thank you for your bravery, but obviously you will be reborn. Sydney had told of when this happened to her once, so are you two fated to do this fighting again?
  3. Mr. Tau, which wife was this who had died? You originally had six tree-wives, each with the heart of a crab, an eagle, a dolphin, a peacock, a rat, and a serpent. Was the one who had died the serpent? Is that why Felicity has so much persuasion to command. If so, wouldn’t Felicity be the strongest? Isn’t Felicity your son/daughter? I wish I knew the full relationship going on here.
  4. And what happened to the drug that is ‘godsend’? Are we all going to ignore what happened at Riya’s concert? How a million people were loosed with the drug? And why did Rife ever think that was a good idea? It seems I would be concerned on the aftereffects, especially since it took Muzi and Elkin maybe one or two trips before these two teenagers experienced these permanent powers. So how come there aren’t more high-powered teens running around?

I have a lot of unfinished business with this book until I could call it good, but you know what, it looks like this is Nicky’s first book, so manybe round two, we’ll see what happens to all this material.

Just goes to show you backstory’s important because a lot of what was missed was how these characters had developed, and to not ever forget about resolution because there’s a more than a few conflicts we forgot to see the end for.

Drayden, Nicky. The Prey of Gods. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2017. Print.

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Setting the backstory

Unfortunately I have this talent that causes things I own to mysteriously disappear and never show up again until months or years later if it at all, and it seems one of those the things that has decided to walk is the book I most recently read.

A huge hardcover, colored blue and green – you think would stand out amongst your apartment, but I guess that’s the stereotype with things being lost. They can’t be found. -_-

It makes it a little more difficult to write about a book that’s missing, but luckily what I want to talk about is on the first page, which is easily revealed thanks to sample chapters. Thank you Barnes and Noble!

One of the things I really liked about this book is how quickly it sets the scene, thrusting you immediately into the action while slowing down enough to introduce you to some of the characters and backstory.

Navarr Ardelay’s body was laid to rest in a blazing pyre, as befit a sweela man who owed his allegiance to flame. Zoe stood numbly within the circle of mourners, unable to speak, as she watched her father burn away to ashes. Even as he had wasted away for this past quintile, growing thinner, more frail, uncharacteristically querulous with pain, she hadn’t really believed he would die. (Shinn 1)

Here, I can see a man’s body atop of the pyre, burning and releasing all his ashes to the sky, and in front of him stands his daughter. It’s a very heart-breaking image, especially as she stands with the mourners, reflecting on the last quintile of how she struggled to take care of her father. That’s a lot on the shoulders of a poor simple girl, especially one by herself since there’s no other family revealed to us, and it makes the reader feel sympathetic for a child to do this all on herself.

This is a great demonstration of how to set the scene and bring us into the action while revealing enough back story that we as the readers understand what’s going on.

The idea is to be careful of what image to reveal. What draws us immediately into the action or pulls us in enough that we connect with the character, as we did here in sympathy for Zoe?

I can say for sure that this was a book I was interested in from the beginning  – no slow start here!

Shinn, Sharon. Troubled Waters. New York, NY: Ace Books, 2010. Print.