The day is glorious, birds all atwitter, my antique roses blooming, warm and lovely so I was in a cheery mood even before I saw Debbie's five-heart review of Dark Companion at I Heart YA Books.
...after reading the first charter, I knew Dark Companion was going to be an awesome read. Let me start with the terrific characters—and there're plenty of them. My favorites are: Jane, who’s the main character and is as tough as they come, Jack, he's kind of the bad boy who's hilarious, Lucian (Lucky) who's Jack's jerk of a brother (I wanted to give him a piece of my mind) and then Mary Violet, she’s Jane's loads of fun new best friend...I'm so delighted that Debbie understood what I was doing with a character who was deeply damaged and her struggle to survive. Debbie is a prolific reviewer of YA and Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance and if you like to know what's new, be sure to follow her site, because she constantly updates her reviews and has wonderful contests!
Dark Companion gave me the creeps at how believable the storyline was. But as chillingly creepy as it was, it's also beautiful, and one I will love forever. I highly recommend Dark Companion as a must read.
Dark Companion also received a terrific review from Kirkus Reviews that said "It’s a breath of fresh air in a genre marked by creaky gender relations and unchallenged class stratification."
Despite her lack of pedigree, she’s befriended by upper-crust classmates and encouraged by teachers who recognize her potential. Still, Jane can’t avoid asking troubling questions—she’s no meek Eyre apparent. Any resemblance to Brontë’s governess is purely cosmetic; this Jane’s true peers are the heroines of the historical gothic romances. Quotes from such deathless classics as The Monk and The Castle of Otranto, among others, begin each chapter, making the book something of a survey of the genre all by itself.I do take issue with the reviewer calling Charlotte Bronte's Jane "meek." Jane Eyre was quite but she was strong, determined, and principled. Sometimes people mistake quietness for weakness. I adore snark and fantastic kickass heroines, but I also love those characters who are watchful, thoughtful, and stand up for what's right -- and Jane Eyre is one of those.
I recall hearing that Eyre was an ordinary Irish name, and Jane needs no explanation. I was thinking about characters names because I realized that I have no idea why I named a new character in a current project Ellis. Where did I get that from? I also discovered that I had named characters in two completely different novels Eugenia. Do I have a thing for E names?
Here are the reasons I've given characters the names they have in Dark Companion:
- Jane Williams: named as an homage to Jane Eyre. Williams is one of the most common names in the U.S.
- Mrs. Radcliffe: named in honor of Ann Radcliffe, the author of numerous classic gothic novels, including The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Romance of the Forest.
- Mary Violet Holiday: A close friend has a sister named Mary Violet. I heard the name many years ago and fell in love with it. I've never met the real Mary Violet and have no idea what she's like, but I imagined a Mary Violet who was hilarious and extravagant.
Some authors have a real talent for giving characters unforgettable names. Some of my favorite character names:
- Jennifer Estep's Gin Bianco: Seriously? Pass me a martini and I'll toast to her!
- Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden: Doesn't he sound like a detective who's not altogether on the up and up?
- Jaye Wells' Sabina Kane: Without trying too hard, she just sounds like a kickass chick.
- Stacia Kane's Terrible: He's not the main character of the series, but you'll always remember his name.
- Carolyn Crane's Justine Jones: Carolyn's going for the alliteration! But I also love the title for the series, The Disillusionists.
GRATUITOUS VIDEOS OF THE DAY
I've just spent way too much time looking for videos. I need to stop. So I'm just posting the first four things that I like, regardless of theme.
There's a brief flash of butt used for comic effect. If you have Issues with butts (perhaps not being cursed with one yourself) pass on it.
Hokay, the title to this Prodigy song is "Smack My Bitch Up" and the only lyrics are "change my pitch up/smack my bitch up" which the band claims is using bitch as meaning doing something in an intense way. Now, I am always willing to believe that young men are so clueless and peabrained that they actually could believe this. If you're complaining about paperwork and you say "ain't this a bitch" you're not making a slur against women. I would have skipped this video except it's beautifully edited and features kickass chicks.