May. 10th, 2010

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Just FYI, I'm pushing the contest entry date back to Friday the 14th (instead of the 13th) to give myself more time to write a fourth book analysis. That post will remain open for entries until 11:59PM PST on Monday the 17th and I'll draw 2 random winners ASAP after that.

I'll be out of town (on a wonderfully remote island without any internet connection) this weekend so after Friday I won't be able to answer questions until late Sunday at the very earliest. Please look over the rules and ask any questions before Friday, if possible.

A quick recap: I'm giving away 2 books for three-weeks-for-dw [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw (aka 3W4D). 2 winning participants will get to choose from a selection of books that I'll be analyzing over the course of the 3 weeks. Chosen books will range from romance to fantasy to YA. Here is the introductory post and giveaway rules, and all giveaway-related posts will be filed under the book giveaway and three weeks for dreamwidth tags.

I really love this one: Hawkspar by Holly Lisle.

Genre: Epic fantasy
Release: June 2008

So, as irrelevant but nonethless interesting background information, I remember back when Holly Lisle was still writing Hawkspar. She endured quite a bit in her struggle publish it in a way that did the book justice, and so to see it in its 600-page glory is cheering. Hawkspar a pseudo-standalone, pseudo-sequel to her other book set in the same world, Talyn (which is also very good). I've always been a huge fan of Lisle's worldbuilding abilities, but her novels prior to Talyn fell a little flat. They were okay. Not amazing, but decent. I feel like Talyn and especially Hawkspar are the height of Lisle's writing ability, the two books that went above and beyond all her previous works.

Hawkspar is a slave in a religious cult. Her eyes are replaced with the stones that goes by her name, and thus she becomes the new goddess of war, one of several goddesses whose eye are likewise replaced. She can no longer see what's in front of her, but she can slip into the streams of time and see the past, present, and future. The book is split into two POVs--Hawkspar's and Aaran's--but because Hawkspar's is written in first person, the reader is intimately connected with her every thought, and I think this may be why Lisle was so successful in writing about a character that is blind.

Humans are very visual creatures, and we depend on sight more than any other sense. A lot of the narrative in any book consists of visual descriptions of people, places, things. Because Hawkspar couldn't describe any of these things, Lisle was forced to focus on Hawkspar's thoughts, feelings. Her actions, others' actions. Lisle wrote this so fluidly that I was almost to the end of the book before I realized that, in the majority of Hawkspar's scenes, nothing visual had been described. She relied on other senses to describe the tangible: sounds, smells, texture. Hawkspar's sensory perception enhanced the overal feel of and my connection with the story.

There is at least one gritty scene that made me go, "It's not gonna go there. It wouldn't go there. ...holy cheesecake IT JUST WENT THERE." It was one of those moments where I knew that things would have to work out, because the story was no where near over, but I couldn't figure out how they could.

Hawkspar herself is calm and collected, but vengeful. She has insecurities, and feels incompetent at times, but she remains strong in times of crisis. I liked her a lot, if that says anything. She uses her Eyes to her advantage, but being able to see the future is only useful if the seer is able to make the appropriate decisions that would turn at least one possibility to her advantage. Hawkspar does just that, and plays a mental chess game with opponents that don't even recognize there's a gameboard.


spoiler alert: discussion of Hawkspar's status as disabled )

Warnings: Trigger warning for mentions of sexual assault against tertiary characters. There's also a decent amount of violence, but oddly enough a lot of it's off-screen.

Want to win Hawkspar? Hang around until Friday, May 14th when I open a post for contest entries!


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