Welcome to Smugglivus 2012! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2012, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2013.
Recent Work: Unpoken, The Lynburn Legacy, Book 1, first in a new trilogy which promises to be as great as her first one.
Give a warm hand to Sarah, folks!
THE LIST OF TWO
(note: there are more than two things on this list)
Book two of a trilogy, I think, tells you more than book one about where the series is going. Book two is where you step it up or you make it clear that there will be no stepping up! Ever! No gamechangers, no character development, hope you enjoyed this very dull bridge to book three!
I feel like TV serieseses…es work in the same way as book serieseses, often: you know with book two or with season two if what you’re getting is a story sustainable over time.
Me bagging on the second books of a series would be like school on a Sunday–no class!–and also, look, I have one second book in a trilogy out already, and another coming: those who live in glass houses should not throw stones or get super naked and do dances in their glassy living rooms.
But I figured I could talk about the season twos of TV shows that I have been watching, and shed some light on how serieses fall down or step it up.
So my friend Karen and I are both big fans of Revenge, the tale of a lady with a cold heart and a dark secret set in the glitzy world of the super rich in the Hamptons, plotting to take down all her enemies while cloaked in a secret identity!
Karen hasn’t had the chance to watch season two yet…
SARAH: Uh-oh, wait until you meet AIDEN.
KAREN: Who is Aiden?
SARAH: a dark revenger! motivated by the rapey maybe-murder of his sister so many revengey skillz!
In one episode he handles the situation while Emily sits in her house… next door.
He’s got the revenging covered, little lady!
Sometimes he does things for Emily without her knowledge or consent!
When she finds out that these things have been done, she is upset.
But Aiden knows best!
Emily’s markedly more emotional with him: key characteristics of her, like her fear of and chilly withdrawal–at times–from intimacy, are suddenly wiped away. A lady’s not going to hold back from her MAN.
(Unless said people are handsome! It’s important to trust the handsome.)
It’s just boring: this guy’s Batman, and a billion hard-boiled private detectives, and a billion more comic book and TV show heroes whose path of darkness and pain is strewn with the broken bodies of women (who make him feel really bad! Oh my God, was it really super duper necessary to put his sister aboard Sex Slave Train? We have a WORD for this: it’s called fridging, it’s a thing!) and he’s making a really unique, compelling heroine more boring, too, by pushing her into a role and behaviours we’ve all seen one million times. Snooze!
Aiden himself isn’t the issue: the issue is that Aiden and his role makes me worry that the Revenge people didn’t know what made this show fresh and new and interesting, or what made us love Emily: that seeing a lady who could play Batman, and who hid ruthless badassery behind blond curls and sweet smiles and politeness, was great, and that we weren’t all praying for a big strong man to come sweep her off her revengey little feet.
If someone had told me this time last year that I’d be liking season two of Once Upon A Time more than season two of Revenge, I would have called them a liar. ‘Liar! I saw the episode where the dwarf born out of an egg romanced the fairy in the jellyfish costume!’ I would have said. ‘Liar!’
In the first season, all about fairytale characters cursed to forget who they are and live half-lives, cursed lives, in Maine (no, not MAINE!), there was a whole lot of a birth mother laying claim to her biological child, and the biological child rejecting his adopted mother the Evil Queen as, well, evil. Now we’re actually going deeper, looking at fairytale archetypes like the one in Rapunzel and saying, well, if the wicked witch adopted and raised you, the wicked witch is your mother, and how do you deal with that?
(Evil Queen Mother and Son: divided in morality, united in judgin’ people and awesome magic. You raise ‘em, you teach ‘em the cold stare.)
Especially when she loves you, and you love her: especially if one story folds into another folds into another, and not all of them end well: if the good and innocent become evil, because good doesn’t always defeat evil, if the Beast truly hurt people before (and after…) he met Beauty, and how hurting people can become a loop with everybody hurting others, and no way out of the pain but to put down your weapons, hope–and know that means you could be hurt worse than ever.
Plus, season two has the spell broken, and an entirely different situation going on: how to deal with life after the curse, how to be fairytale characters in the real world, with bonus giving us new interesting characters and establishing a happily married, totally committed couple as one of the main focuses of the show.
Then there’s Teen Wolf, season two.
Lord, was that a shock. I was not overly impressed with Teen Wolf season one, though I did think it was kind of ridiculovable and definitely ridicularious:
SARAH: Watch Teen Wolf, the first season is terrible, I turned off the pilot in a fit of rage!
FRIEND: Your selling skills are masterful.
SARAH: But season two is much better!
SARAH: I mean, there’s a giant lizard.
FRIEND: Are you actually playing a prank on me now?
SARAH: I DON’T JOKE ABOUT GIANT LIZARDS.
SARAH: … that’s not true, I’ve got so many jokes about giant lizards. If you watch Teen Wolf with me you can hear them all!
The hero, who in season one kept hiding things from his girlfriend and kept valuing lacrosse over other people’s lives, went through a sea change, but was still believable as the same person. You felt like he’d always had good intentions, and now you were sure he’d keep to them. And also, the plot of season two was that everybody loved Scott McCall, and… you understood it, because suddenly, you loved him too.
The heroine got told she had a DESTINY of possible darkness and violence, and ended up embracing said destiny after a personal tragedy, and did some REALLY BAD THINGS (stabby, stabby things) and was like ‘No hero! Mine is a high and lonely destiny, I gotta think about my issues, we cannot be!’ and the hero was like ‘<3 <3 <3 baby I’ll wait.’
Also, they added some new werewolf dreamboats, I mean come on, I’m not made of stone.
(Werewolf dreamboats. The first rule of werewolf club is to be really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Now who wants to go get their eyebrows waxed with me?)
… I like e-evil ladies may be the takeaway here?
In 2012 the first book of my new series came out, which was wonderful and challenging and terrifying. In 2013, the second book will come out, and you guys will see if I keep the narrative promises made in the first book, and change the game to a more exciting one.
If you want to be ready for Untold in 2013, you can win the first book Unspoken now by commenting and telling me about the second season of TV, second book or movie, that either disappointed or delighted you.
You heard her! Comment away for a chance to win a copy of Unspoken by telling us about the second season of TV, second book or movie, that either disappointed or delighted you. Contest is open to ALL and will run until Saturday January 5 at 11:59 PM (PST). Good luck!