Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Copper On Her Lips

Now Playing: Joe Hisaishi - Dragon Boy (Spirited Away OST)


Some people might not know this--unless you followed the book community closely as this novel was being talked about--but this one's a bit controversial. It's a fantasy steampunk book inspired by Japanese culture and mythology. When it came out, there were two kinds of reviews for it--this book is so cool and amazing and I love it, and, this book is a blatantly racist example of cultural appropriation.

A lot of people have debated over it and whether or not Jay Kristoff had a right to write about a culture that isn't his, if he had the right but if he didn't pay enough respect/do enough research, if there's no issue at all, etc. Things get kind of personal and complicated and I don't know if I'm in the best position to discuss them. Just know it's there and it is important to talk about.

There's something this book does have going for it: it is very well written.At least in my opinion. It does a little too much with the environment descriptions--to the point where it takes pages and pages of set-up and establishing of the setting before things happen--but I didn't mind as much. Good writing can carry me through anything.

The very best is when action gets going and it's somehow complete chaos without ever disorienting the reader. It was difficult to chose a specific section because so much of this book is written so well, but I decided on one that happens early on and illustrates the whole Chaos With Clarity .

Onto the deck. Light blinding above them, bright as the sun. Too close, heat curling the ghost-pale hair on her arms, leaving behind tiny black cinders. A roar, terrifying, crackling across the rigging with ruinous, hungry hands. The nightmare sound that woke cloudwalkers in the dark, stomachs in knots, soaked in sweat. Fire. 
Fire in the sky. 
The balloon was ablaze. The canvas had spilled wide open, the hydrogen within clasping hands with the lighting strike and giving birth to a conflagration, sucking the very breath from their lungs. The heat of a funeral pyre beat upon their backs. Screaming men, feet running across the deck, panicked voices. The hiss of rain, great gouts of pitch-black smoke rising in a veil from the marriage between fire and water. Vertigo swelled, the clutch of gravity denied by the speed of their descent. Falling. 
They were falling. 
Dragged up the ladder to the pilot's deck, vice grip on her wrists, press of bodies all around her. Across the shifting wood, steering wheel spinning free, Captain Yamagata's voice rising above the din. 
"Masaru-san! Quickly!" 
She felt hands on her, dragging her through a metal hatchway, the volume of the world dropping to a dull, reverberating roar. The smell of sweat, tang of iron in her nostrils, copper on her lips. Yukiko blinked away the blood, looked around her, trying to focus. She was surrounded by heaving, sweating bodies, packed into the confines of the life raft fixed to the Thunder Child's stern. It was filled to capacity, two frantic cloudwalkers working to uncouple the small beetle-shaped pod from its burning mother. 
"Hurry up, we're going down!" 
"Lord Izanagi, save us!" 
Hissed curses. The sound of iron crashing against iron. And then she heard it. A vibrato scream of fear, of rage. Louder than the thunder, tipped with the electricity, grating across the back of her skull. 
"Oh no," she whispered. 
She turned to her father, pawing the blood from her eyes. 
"Father, the arashitora!"
- Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff


  1. Anonymous8:59 AM

    The library only has the second book...? @_@ Is there a book request form somewhere?

    1. I keep hearing there is...? Somewhere? We might have to call and speak with a human and that's scary D: But that's probably the way.

    2. Anonymous10:20 AM

      I fouuund it @_@

    3. ....PERFECT.



"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.