Archive | June 2011

100 Books in 2011 Challenge: Wolfsangel

I’ve been on blog hiatus for a little while as I was on holiday in Vienna. Which was lovely. You may also have noticed from the sidebar that I’m running a little behind on the 100 Books in 2011 challenge. This is because I have been re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire before A Dance with Dragons is released on 12th July. Have I mentioned that I’m excited?

Anyway, while in the beautiful city of Vienna, I read Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan. I had been looking forward to this for some time, having read a number of rave reviews, and generally enjoying stories about Vikings.

The story follows the lives of twin boys separated at birth, one of which grows up as the son of a lord and the other is raised by wolves. They find each other as young men and their destinies are entwined with that of a young healer whom they both love. At the same time a witch is trying to protect herself from being killed by a god by bringing forth another god, using the bodies of the twins to achieve her goal.

My synopsis doesn’t really do it justice, but to be clearer about the plot would be to give away what happens. The plot is elegantly convoluted and the twists and switches are wonderful. People are not who they think they are but the reader only comes to this relevation along with the character so it is deliciously surprising.

The point of view is interesting. It’s omniscient third-person, which I’m not usually keen on, but this is done so well it really highlights why I don’t normally like it. Lachlan starts with a limited third-person pov, then pulls back to a gods-eye view and then circles down into another limited third-person pov. Everytime the perspective changes this happens. There’s no head hopping. While the perspective changes can happen quite quickly and we may visit more than one head in a scene, there is always at least a paragraph with an authorial tone that separates them. This is how it should be done and how it so often isn’t. It is controlled yet appears effortless.

Something else I enjoyed about the book was its lyrical style. At one level this is a re-telling of a myth and the language suits that. It takes a few pages to settle into the rhythm and, once you’re there, it’s hypnotic. I think this is especially notable in a book that is quite earthy and gory. It takes some skill to show the torments Lachlan visits upon his characters in such poetic language.

The characterisation, dialogue and setting are all good. The pacing is well handled. This is an incredibly well-written novel and a great story. I loved it. And considering that I read it in the midst of re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire (which is amazing) and it still stood out to me, that makes it all the better. Do read this.

A-Z blogging challenge: G is for Grammar

I love grammar. I’m a grammar nerd. And I believe great writing requires a deep understanding of the fashions of grammar.

Grammar, punctuation and spelling are the tools we use to convey subtle meaning to the reader. Even if the reader doesn’t know enough about grammar to truly appreciate how we’ve done it, they will respond to what we’ve done. The word grammar derives, via Old French and Latin, from the Greek grammatike tekhne meaning ‘art of letters’. It is an art – you’ll notice I said fashions of grammar rather than rules. Grammar is what the majority agree is an understandable way to structure language. It is how we order words so that we can communicate.

The ‘rules’ change, sometimes slowly and sometimes quite fast. What you were taught at school may or may not be correct and I guaruntee that, unless you did linguistics at university level, it avoided the glorious complexity of language structure. Grammar in written English is different to grammar in spoken English. Lolspeak becoming a language of its own which is incredibly exciting. The writer who gets what grammar does and how to use it in both expected and unexpected ways has the power to use her words to maximum effect.

An excellent resource for improving your grammar is the Daily Grammar Lessons blog. The other is reading a lot.

Announcing a read of A Dance with Dragons!

Inspired by Leigh Butler’s fabulous A Read of Ice and Fire blog on, I am going to do a chapter by chapter commentary of A Dance with Dragons. When not gushing about the general awesomeness of GRRM, I will be focussing on the writing.

And as I have temporarily suspended the 100 Books in 2011 challenge in order to re-read A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, I shall be prepared to spot all the clever hints and tricks. In theory. Part of me knows GRRM is a smarter writer than I am a reader. I’m so excited.

A-Z blogging challenge: F is for Fortitude

According to, fortitude means:

mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously

Fortitude is something that writers need. Writing can be hard and very often it forces us to face our inner truths and demons.

Weirdly, an image search for fortitude mainly returned pictures of trainers so I made my own. First, there’s the demotivational poster, just a reminder that taking things too seriously can be counter-productive.

And then there’s the seious one.

The artist who created the second picture (which is amazing) is Gild-a-Lily on DeviantArt, but I can’t find a link.