Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday Reads: WOLF BY WOLF and some PERSUASION retellings

I read eleven books in March, which is A LOT. Seriously. I don't usually read this much. This past couple of weeks I read another four books. The first one was WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin. The concept to this book is so cool, and it totally delivered. It's an alternate history where Hitler wins (ICK) and it's a world where the axis powers are the rulers and the US is neutral (nothing said about Canada though...what's up with that?). This story is about a Jewish girl who was experimented on in a concentration camp as a kid and ends up with the ability to change her appearance. She eventually escapes and works for the resistance, then joining a motorcycle race in the hopes of winning so she can meet Hitler and assassinate him. The book was really well done, the race was exciting (kind of Iron Will but on motorcycles instead of sleds), the prose was exquisite. Best of all was this fully realized and totally scary world. Even with the "magical" element put in, I believed it. It was easy to see what the world might have been like if the Allies hadn't won the war. I'm definitely picking up the sequel.

After WOLF BY WOLF, I read three PERSUASION retellings in a row (all in the name of article research...and it's fun, too). The first one was PERSUADE ME by Juliet Archer. First of all, it's hard for me now to read other modern-day retellings when I've written my own because obviously I'm going to compare. And not in a "mine is better than yours" kind of way, but... okay, an example. In PERSUADE ME, the author stuck like glue to the original story. I don't think one character or tiny plot point was left out. I sorta did that too in my early drafts of SWAY, until I had beta readers and CPs tell me to step away from the original a bit. I'm so glad I did, but it makes it a bit strange, or makes me a bit biased, against stories that are the exact same as the original. There were things I really liked about PERSUADE ME though. Rick Wentworth is a biologist who wrote a book called Sex in the Sea (lol!), and Anna is a professor of Russian lit- love both of these jobs! I also loved the way the author portrayed Mrs. Clay and William Elliot. It was all around a fun read and definitely one for PERSUASION lovers.

Next came CAPTAIN WENTWORTH'S PERSUASION by Regina Jeffers. This is a Regency retelling told from Wentworth's POV. It was awesome to see the story through Wentworth's eyes and I really loved seeing the after... scenes were interspersed throughout the book from after Anne and Wentworth get married. I did feel the book carried on a bit long though once the marriage happened and then ended abruptly though. Personally I would have preferred a straight up retelling from his POV, and then a completely separate book of their life after marriage, but a four-star read all the same.

The last retelling I read was another modern called PERSUASION, CAPTAIN WENTWORTH, AND CRACKLIN' CORNBREAD by Mary Jane Hathaway. First up, LOVE that this takes place in the south. Also love that Wentworth and Anne are a mixed-race couple. And REALLY love how Anne (called Lucy Crawford in the book) is a curator at a civil war museum. The author made the story her own in a lot of ways that I really enjoyed. There were some characters thrown in that I thought could've been either cut or developed more, and again this was another book that ended very abruptly (after all the dancing around each other they do I wanted a bit more of them together), but otherwise, a fun read.

Stay tuned if you like PERSUASION, I've got more retellings coming up on my reading list...

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