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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Titan Magic: Body and Soul by Jodi Lamm | #FairyTaleFortnight

 I've read aloud from this gorgeous book for you, and given you the opportunity to win both it and its predecessor, Titan Magic, but now it's time for me to tell you just why I think you should really want this book in your hands, right now.
Right now.

Titan Magic: Body & Soul
Get It | Add It
Fantasy/Mythology, 455 pages
Published December 17th 2013
“Don’t fool yourself. Fool everyone else, but never fool yourself.”

When a young golem called Kaspar befriends a beautiful baker and her daughter, he wishes, for the first time in his life, to be more than just a counterfeit, wooden child. But such a simple wish comes at a high price, and Kaspar won’t be the only one to pay. With the few who can stop him distracted by their own dreams, Kaspar is free to set in motion a naive and gruesome plan. He hasn’t gone entirely unnoticed, though. He’s a powerful weapon left alone and ungoverned, and he’s already caught the eye of someone with an even more costly wish.

The thing I love about Jodi Lamm's writing is that there are a lot of things I love about Jodi Lamm's writing. 

I was going to list an actual item there, like that her writing is deep and layered.
Or that it's lyrical and lovely.
That it uses the inhuman as a canvas for a study in humanity.
That it's heartbreaking. Triumphant. Poignant.
But as you can see, as soon as I try to pick out the thing I love, a whole host of others clamors to be chosen, too.

The thing I love about Jodi Lamm's writing is the way everything works in concert to create something that is more, much more, than the sum of its parts.

Her writing,  these characters, this story, it affects me emotionally. I feel for these characters with my guts, I feel real tension and emotion for them, which is always so important to me. This is what separates a 4 star read from a 5 star. This is what makes me enthusiastically and exhaustively push a book on as many people as I can find a fit for. But even beyond feeling for them, I find the story so utterly fascinating. It's just so very unique, it stands apart from what is out there, which is doubly impressive when you consider the fact that it has aspects of a retelling. It's based in myth and fairy tales, in thing we know, but it manages to be fresh and original, and that, is impressive.

There's a thing I said in my review of the first book that, even though it seems ridiculously pretentious to quote myself to this extent, I'm gonna go ahead and quote, because it's still so apt:
[I]t had me constantly reevaluating not only what I wanted to happen, but what should happen and what needed to happen. And Maddy questions this, too, which is part of what makes her a great and intriguing character. Everything is built on shifting sands, and I was constantly wondering where and when the sinkhole was going to open up and swallow everyone whole. This, like some of the philosophical nature of the book, is something I think may make people uncomfortable because they like to have a clear idea of who to root for, who to fall for and who to hate. But for me, the best stories are never cut and dry. Everyone is flawed and even the most flawed can be good. Lamm really capitalized on this.
Now, it was a little different in this book, in that I knew much more of the characters and understood (or thought I did) the lay of the land. But Lamm still explores the gray area so well, and how motivations are murky and not always understood even to the person who is acting on them. I don't know whether it's natural or something she really works at (it feels natural), but her characters exhibit such an impressive and well-employed understanding of human nature.
It resonates.

And it's not just within the characters themselves that the gray area is explored; of course, their actions are going to have plenty of gray area to dive into, as well, and Lamm doesn't shy away from what's difficult. There are obstacles, there are moments that cause pain, there are things that you - the reader - worry about and hope will come out right, even when you're not sure how they possibly could. Good people do bad things for good reasons, or bad reasons, or both. Things aren't cut and dried, and I always appreciate it so much when a story allows this to be so; there's so much more meat there to dig your teeth into, on both the first and any successive readings (and it encourages you to take on those successive readings).

Once again, I'm nothing but impressed, and a little bit smitten. Jodi Lamm has charmed me with her world, her characters, and her deft hand as a storyteller, and I eagerly await more.

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  1. You raving over this book only makes me want to read the book so much more. It sounds simply amazing.

  2. I ended up getting both the Titan Magic books based on your recommendation and enjoying the first very much so far! :)


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