Last week I told you what makes me want to write. One thing is reading good books. I wrote that post after finishing Jill Williamson's book, To Darkness Fled. Williamson is a new author, who debuted with By Darkness Hid.
I write fantasy, so I love to read it. And Williamson does not disappoint. By Darkness Hid (Book 1) was full of action, intricate plotting, and believable characterization. To Darkness Fled gets even better.
Achan Cham, a "stray" even lower than a slave, has learned that he is actually the rightful king of Er'Rets. However, and imposter has taken the throne, and he is forced to flee into the perpetually dark half of the kingdom to hide and attempt to raise an army.
Achan is accompanied by Vrell Sparrow, a boy who is a gifted healer. But unknown to Achan, Vrell is a young woman, fleeing an arranged marriage to the false king. Both Achan and Vrell possess the gift of bloodvoicing--the ability to speak to others through their mind. This ability saves both of them on many occasions, but having someone read her mind endangers Vrell's ability to keep her secret.
Traveling through a dark land for most of a novel is no task for a light-weight writer. Williamson does a masterful job of engaging the senses--especially smells, sounds, and textures to create a mood. The setting is definitely a character here. But the characterization is even better. When a writer is unable to use facial expression in much of a story, the skillful use of tone and accent keeps the reader engaged without realizing what's missing.
Reading these books makes me want to write better. Add more action to my manuscript. Stay away from predictable plotting. Deepen my characters.
Have you read a novel that made you stop and pick up a pen?