Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Inspired by Danielle E. Shipley (& Where Have I Been!?)

Title: Inspired
Author: Danielle E. Shipley
Number of Pages: e-book
Rating: 4/5
Date to-be Published: March 17, 2014
For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

Summer classes started when I said I started this, and I didn't have time to read... Let me tell you what, cramming five months worth of classes into two months is no walk in the park.

I finally sat down to read this yesterday, and the first few chapters were, surprisingly, a bit grueling for me. Trying to keep up with each different character's personality and Luc's rushed explanations were a bit daunting, up until we meet Annabelle. From there on, I could not put this book down. I laughed. I despaired. I wanted to hug each and every character. Each one had such a different charisma you felt a different love for each and every character, and THAT is why I love Danielle Shipley's books. Her characters are so DIVERSE! I'm sure she'll blush if/when she reads this, but I could very honestly say her characterization is on par with JK Rowling.

I didn't even know Yves' backstory yet, and I already just wanted to hug the crap out of him every time he spoke. Uri's attitude, Wilbur's amity, Luc's openness, Abishan's love for Annabelle (that was adorable!!), and Annabelle's - well, everything about her was terrific. The pacing of the story was fantastic, as usual, and the twists and turns were both expected and unexpected - enough to keep the reader on their toes.

I'd be a liar if I said this book didn't have its cons, though. Some points got a bit rambly, and those mainly belonged to Annabelle's writing. I can understand why, and how, for that was just her character and she was learning. That didn't change that I had to fight not to skim a few times.

I also felt like the main premise of the story was... I don't really know how to explain it. I feel cruel to say that Luc was acting parasitic, but I don't know how else to say it. I understand, I mean, and I LOVED the premise, but I just felt like it was almost cruel. MAINLY because Luc seemed to, I don't know, kick Annabelle's old muse(?) out and he was never heard of again. Despite that, the ultimate relationship was symbiotic, so it wasn't exactly a horrible point, but it had its moments where you just wonder...

Somewhat branching off of that, Annabelle's and Luc's relationship deteriorates later, and it struck me as odd as how Annabelle was willing to ignore her characters so quickly, and how easily Luc told her she was replaceable. I never once saw my characters like that - but hey, that IS just me. I've always loved my muse and always looked forward to seeing him (for I do have a muse that often pops up in dreams!) and I don't think I could just toss him in a pit of darkness like that - though, if he spoke to me as Luc had to Annabelle... *Shrugs* I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. Maybe just that Annabelle's sudden cruelty to Luc and vice versa was unprecedented. Luc's demand that Annabelle write his story and Jean's seemed unreasonable to me. THIS, however, is just my problem as a reader, and should not let any possible readers detract their possibility of reading it. Because if you haven't read it yet and plan to, why are you reading this? Get out of here, there are spoilers here! :P

Final nag: I felt like Yves' arc went too fast. The end of the book itself went too fast. I got...very lost. What I essentially understood was that Yves and Avelaine were one and the same, but were his three short stories one and the same as well? If Avelaine was a dancer because of his parents, when did Yves fall in love with Lucille and get Streetcar? Were they separate beings for the sake of Annabelle's lesson? (Which was AWESOME, by the way, I loved her learning the hard way that some characters have sad endings.) I also lost sense of where the mask came into it in the circus blaze. Maybe I was reading too fast? No doubt I'll reread this later, so this opinion could change.


Altogether, this book was fantastic. As I said before, the characterization was out-of-this-world, the pacing was phenomenal, as both are expected from Danielle Shipley at this point, the premise was well-thought and creative, and the story itself was just enchanting. The tale did have a few stalling points, as mentioned, but with the overall quality of the book, they could be forgiven, as seen from the four-star rating. As always, my expectations have been exceeded, and I eagerly await Danielle's next addition to her family of characters.


Where Have I Been?!

School, work, scholarships, procrastination? All are valid answers. My writing is getting a little bit more into the flow now. As mentioned above I took some summer classes, and those were time-consuming. Work has been hectic as we've been undergoing massive staff changes and been shorthanded, so I've had to take several hours. I'm preparing to go to a university, so I'm doing what I can to fill out scholarships in hopes of avoiding loans I worry I won't be able to pay back. And then, yeah, laziness/procrastination. Why write blog posts when I could, I don't know, watch Orange is the New Black or play the Sims? Haha... Yeah, that happened.

I'm not going back into posting on here with high expectations. What I'm going to try to do is just make SMALL posts. And by small, I mean maybe one or two paragraphs. Maybe this will work out for the better of us. Those of us who are busy will only have a little to read, and maybe - just maybe - I can keep up. Not making any promises. We've seen where that gets us (:

I hope everyone who sees this is doing well and let me know how you are in the comments if you so desire! Let's try to keep the rest of 2014 semi-productive!