November 23rd, 2013

raven

Books 209-210: Raven Girl and After Dead

Book 209: Raven Girl.
Author: Audrey Niffenegger, 2013.
Genre: Fantasy. Fairy Tale. Animals. Graphic Novels.
Other Details: Hardback. 80 pages.

Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven…

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child – an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This is a dark modern fairy tale that combines the elements of classic fairy tales such as metamorphoses, sentient animals and unlikely unions with modern elements such as medicine and stem cell research. Audrey Niffenegger was asked to write a 'dark fairy tale' to be used as the narrative for a new ballet for the Royal Ballet, which premiered at the Royal Opera House in May. The illustrations by Niffenegger are stunning and it was easy to see how this would would make a very powerful ballet - a modern Swan Lake yet with ravens. The graphic novel flows beautifully and takes hardly any time to read. I was enchanted.

Raven Girl takes wing and flies onstage - Audrey Niffenegger writes in The Guardian about creating the story for the Royal Ballet. It includes a number of illustrations from the book.

Book 210: After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse.
Author: Charlaine Harris, 2013. Illustrations by Lisa Desimini.
Genre: Paranormal Romance. Southern Gothic. Vampires. Werewolves.
Other Details: Hardback. 208 pages.

With characters arranged alphabetically - from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli - bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favourite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You'll learn how Michele and Jason's marriage fared, what happened to Sookie's cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB's twins grew up to be solid citizens. This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions - including details of Sookie's own happily-ever-after... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This book also features interior art by artist Lisa Desimini and includes a Sookieverse Alphabet, colour endpapers, and several full-page black and white interior illustrations.

I bought this well aware of what it was as Orion/Gollancz had featured it in an email newsletter some time before its publication. I was happy to round out my collection of the series with it and loved Lisa Desimini's playful artwork, which I had admired on the USA covers.

The various answers provided reminded me that this was a comedy/drama and not to be taken too seriously. I also seem to have forgotten a lot of minor characters along the way.

When Dead Ever After was published earlier this year I was in the minority of fans who were very happy with the outcome and here I felt that in the entries involving the one she didn't end up with there was sadness and a sense of regret for a path not taken. I doubt it will change any of the strong negative opinions but I was pleased as it gave recognition of the importance of that relationship.