Daughter of the Burning City – AKA My Excitement

Hi! Hello! Salutations!

I hope all of you U.S. people had a good (and safe) holiday this week. I didn’t really celebrate beyond glancing out the window at the fireworks. So much work, so little time.

BUT I have a LOT of energy right now. Presumably it’s from the extreme amounts of caffeine I’ve consumed in the past week (editing life, gotta love it). However it is ALSO from how excited I am for Amanda Foody’s debut novel Daughter of the Burning City (which comes out on July 25th)(just an FYI).

Here’s a little bit about the book, from Goodreads:

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

Okay, but how awesome does that sound?

Anyway, in honor of this release, I thought I’d share some of my reasons that I’m excited for this book. Or a, “here’s why you should read DOTBC” post, if you will.

But (special announcement) I am not the only person here to gush about the book today. The wonderful, amazing, and extraordinarily talented Amanda Foody herself has been so kind as to agree to be a part of this post. (everyone be sure to tell her how awesome she is so I look super good and she wants to be my friend)(I’m kidding of course)(except she is awesome. Her twitter is pretty cool).

So, without further ado, here are our reasons.

Amanda’s Five reasons to read Daughter of the Burning City:

1. The spin on the carnival setting. I absolutely adore the Gomorrah Festival, the carnival where Daughter takes place. Not only does it have all your typical carnival attractions, from freak shows to menageries to excellent food, but it’s huge, as big as a city, and it’s known for all things debauchery. Also called the Festival of Burning Desires, you could find just about anything at the Festival…no matter how sinful, no matter how seedy. You just might stumble across a few of these attractions in the book.

2. The heroine. As a lover of YA fantasy, I read a lot about heroines who are totally badass—which I adore. But as a teenager, I’d grown a touch tired with girls who wield bow and arrows and don’t realize they’re pretty until that ball scene halfway through the book. We all love our tropes—that’s why they’re popular! But I set out to write a different sort of character. Sorina is a performer, not a warrior. She’s selfish, haughty, and at times, immature for her age. She longs to be beautiful in a way that, due to her unique facial disfiguration, she never will be, and a lot of her arc is coming to terms with her own acceptance and empowerment. Writing her, she felt like a real person, not a character in a tale, and that really helped pull me into the tragedy of the murder mystery, of a girl who felt so “freak-ish” that she used her powers to create her own family…only for them to be murdered.

So if you’re on the hunt for a girl who rocks her lipstick, who cries, whose bravery is more than rushing into battle, I’d definitely recommend Sorina. I threw my heart into her.
3. The LGBTQIA+ elements. A lot of the characters in Daughter represent the LGBTQIA community. Most notably, the love interest is on the ace spectrum, which plays a large factor into his character and their relationship. Sorina, the protagonist, is bisexual. Because empowerment and beauty and romance are all sort of intertwined at their age, their sexualities and preferences come into play a lot over the course of the story, since they’re both navigating something new, something uncomfortable at times, and something they never thought they’d have. I might not have written any super overtly sexual scenes (I can always save those for my next book), but their relationship, for me, always felt honest, real, and endearing. I like to think the reader will still be smiling and avidly turning pages even with some frank discussions about consent, comfort, and pleasure. 😉

4. Twists. There are some twists throughout the novel. Some you might be able to guess—one I wrote specifically to be guessed. Another one, as far as I’ve been told, no reader has yet to guess. Maybe you’ll be the first?

5. It’s a stand-alone. Ok—I’m a huge fan of fantasy series. I get hooked on characters and worlds and never want to leave them. But writing Daughter has really taught me the beauty of a single work. As a writer, I get to do something different with my ending; I’m trying to leave an impression rather than drop a cliff-hanger. As a reader, I love how a stand-alone manages to tell one, intimate story without needing to develop into a sweeping, multi-arc narrative. Stories like UPROOTED, THE SCORPIO RACES, THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and THE SECRET HISTORY all got me loving the art of the stand-alone. Plus, it’s good for our future TBR piles! (My next book is one of those sweeping fantasy series, and I’m currently plotting and writing book 2, so this perk seems extra perky to me at the moment.)

Kailey’s five reasons you should read DOTBC:

1. LGBTQIA+ Rep. Okay, so this was already brought up. But I’m really excited for it. As you might remember from my semi-recent post, I’ve been on the search for books with queer rep that isn’t necessarily gay or lesbian. I like seeing diversity in the books I read. DOTBC? Bisexual MC. AKA something I’ve been hunting for a lot lately. I’m kinda (ahem: extremely) excited for Sorina.

2. Different beauty. Again, already mentioned (sort of) above. Sorina has facial disfiguration that causes difficulties in her life. She has no eyes. She’s never going to be traditionally beautiful. I think it’s very important for girls reading YA to know that not every single girl is going to be the drop-dead gorgeous model often described as the heroine. The genre is moving towards more realistic depictions, but it’s still got a long way to go. Sorina is a good step in the right direction.

3. The world. If you’ve read more than this post, you know my love of YA fantasy. I’ve read more than my fair share of this genre, but I can’t think of a single one that takes place in a carnival. It’ll be worth the read just to see another new world and another new setting.

4. The novel aesthetics. Okay so this isn’t technically a reason but I’m making it one. Here are a few examples.

Convinced yet?

5. It’s a debut. Supporting an author this early in their career is not only great for them, but it’s good for you too. You’re helping them gain an audience every time you recommend their book. You’re showing them that someone out there is reading their work, reading something they’ve worked a long, long time on. But not only that, you’re getting the chance to watch them grow as a writer. When you find an author from their debut, and can read their subsequent books, you get to watch as their works explode into creations you could never have imagined getting better, but somehow they do. They always do. Amanda’s next novel comes out in April of 2018. And while Daughter is set in an entirely separate world from it, you’ll still get to see how much her writing has improved since then. And an improvement from Already Seriously Talented™ is going to be something we all want to read.

Okay, so those are our reasons. Hopefully we’ve convinced you. If we haven’t, sad face. If we have, here is where you can purchase the novel on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re as awesome as I know you all are, you can follow Amanda on twitter (feel free to follow me as well)(we can chat about books and things).

Hope you guys are having a good night. I’m off to get some more editing done for Camp NaNo. It’s never-ending, I swear. Fingers crossed that it’ll be finished come Pitch Wars.

Oh, speaking of Pitch Wars, here is a link for information on it. And here is my post about it from last year. It probably isn’t too much help (it was my first year participating and I mixed up some of the details) but I’ll make a new post once the blog hop goes live later this month.

Must edit. Wish me luck.

Kailey

Change of Plans

Remember a few months ago when I was like “I want to read more diverse books. I’ll get you guys a list”? Yeah, about that . . .

I know originally I said I’d be providing a list of books with neurodivergent main characters. I still am (sort of), but I’ve decided to add in a few more things to keep it interesting. So I’m actually going to have MULTIPLE LISTS!! (cue the confetti)

First up we’ve got our list of neurodivergent MCs:

Next I thought I’d provide you with a few books with some lovely trans characters:

  • Transformed: San Francisco by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey (amazon) (goodreads)

Thirdly we have our beautiful aces:

And finally allow me to present you with a list of books that have gorgeous bisexuals:

Thanks so much to my friend Caitlin for helping me compile these lists! You should all go talk to her. She’s cool I promise.

Yeah, okay, I know. This list is pretty pathetic. Do you want to know why? Because if I sat here and typed up every book I found, none of us would be going anywhere for a long, long while.

Here’s the deal: I found a lot of information. When I started researching, I was pretty overwhelmed. These books are definitely out there you guys. You just have to look for them.

I was so excited to share these titles with you. I actually started writing this post almost two months ago. At the time I had a more optimistic idea about it. And then I stopped and thought for a minute. There was no way I could read all of these books before posting this. It would take so much time, and I did want to get this list here for you. And the idea of posting a list of books I (or in this case someone I trust the opinion of) haven’t read? To me that is a terrible idea. They could be offensive or badly written or not representative in a good way. So, I went with listing a few books that Caitlin has read (along with a couple I have) because I trust her opinion on this and know she would never lead you guys astray.

But don’t think I’m just going to leave you guys at that. Nope, I found exactly what I needed in a Twitter thread. So, without any more babbling from yours truly, here is a list of trans #ownvoices authors, as recommended by Ana Mardoll on Twitter.

Here is a link to the neurodivergent #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

Here is a link to the bisexual #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

Here is a link to the asexual #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

I’m also going to plug Tristina Wright here because I’m so excited for her book 27 Hours it’s crazy. It’s got plenty of representation too (see you thought it didn’t fit in this post but it does)(I sometimes get stuff right).

If you guys want to do more research on this, I recommend just typing that into your searchbar to start. Yeah, you’re probably going to run into problems sooner rather than later, but it’s a place to start. And I would like to really, really stress the importance of supporting #ownvoices creators. Seriously. This is so important. I can’t even begin to explain how much it matters that you support your #ownvoices creators.

(Have you noticed I keep using the hashtag? Have you taken the hint and plugged it into your favorite social media yet? You should. Just saying.)

I know this isn’t what I promised. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what I thought this post would be. But I hope you explore the titles here and find some of your own that you love.

Well, I have editing to get back to. Bye!

Kailey