Monday, December 10, 2012

Best of 2012 (6): Writing

Writing. It can make a slow story utterly captivating. It can make an action-packed scene unfold before your eyes. It can drag your eyes across the page and never let go. It makes a story. I don't need brilliant writing to enjoy a story, it's true. But I recognize it instantly, and it makes stories stick out much more than others. It gives me that warm, happy feeling just thinking about the gorgeous prose. Good writing can also mean well developed characters and intriguing dialogue. So, today I'm talking about the books in 2012 that I read that are the most well written.

10. Kendare Blake 
(Read in 2012: Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares)
I think the thing about Kendare Blake's writing is that it's very realistic. Even when Cas is fighting off demonic ghosts or traveling through a hellish landscape, I never once doubt what is going on. The reactions are all genuine, the dialogue sound, and the characters are so well developed that I don't doubt any of their actions. The plot is well imagined and fresh, Blake's writing never dull, and the characters are all unique and awesome. Kendare Blake? *applauds*

9. Stephen Chbosky 
(Read in 2012: The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
(I know, I'm really behind in reading this book, but I love love loved it, so I feel that makes up for it). I'm not really a fan of diary style writing. As I said in my review, I find it can lessen the impact of some scenes and often makes me feel disconnected from the story. This was the exactly opposite case in Perks and it had to do with Stephen Chbosky's writing itself. Charlie's voice was magical, and it came out with no false note. You could see into his soul and the way the diary entries were written made you feel the impact of the events like they were happening to you. It was stunning, heart-stopping, and beautifully done.

8. Veronica Roth
(Read in 2012: Insurgent)
Veronica Roth manages to write a strong, fast-paced novel that has everything. Action, romance, beautiful characters, an intriguing plot like, and strong writing. She manages to juggle all these things, while leaving none under developed. I have no trouble understand what's happening, what the motivations of certain characters are, and the relationships between characters because Veronica Roth has given all of these significant face time. I think the relationship between Tris and Four is one of the most realistic YA relationships out there, and I just want more and more.

7. Cassandra Clare
(Read in 2012: City of Lost Souls, Clockwork Prince)
World-building and brilliant dialouge are Cassandra Clare's strong suits, and the books I read this year do not disappoint. Clare knows her mythical world of Shadowhunters inside and out so every scene is so developed and true. She writes smart dialogue that makes me instantly jealous of her talent. Seriously, this gal is talented, not that everyone doesn't know that already. Her writing is flawless, and her characters are strongly established. I think I'll always enjoy (save COFA) a Cassandra Clare novel simply because her writing is so well done.

6. Lauren DeStefano
(Read in 2012: Seeds of Wither, Fever)
I have no idea how she does it, but Lauren DeStefano is insane when it comes to writing. Wither was one of my favorite novels last year, and a majority of that love was for her gorgeous writing. The words grabbed my eyes and pulled them along, never letting them go. It's lyrical, the way Lauren DeStefano writes, like reading a song. I don't know how she strings words together like that, but however she does it she amazes me.

5. Lauren Oliver
(Read in 2012: Pandemonium)
Okay, Lauren Oliver has come up with an AH-MAZING idea. Seriously, the whole Delirium concept is fantastic. But, what Lauren Oliver does even better is writing. I literally want the last line of Delirium tattooed on my foot (just in case you were wondering it's "Remember. I love you. They cannot take it." Did you just get goosebumps? I just got goosebumps). Her words are enchanting, her world gut-wrenching, and both things have put her on my auto-buy list. The words she puts onto the page are exquisite and moving. I need more. Like now. 

4. Melina Marchetta
(Read in 2012: Jellicoe Road)
Okay, I haven't talked about Jellicoe Road on these list and that's a little sad. See, I loved this book. You'll understand if you read it but, MY GOODNESS was it fabulous. I read it earlier in the year though, so my memories a bit fuzzy on all the details. But the one thing that stood out above all others was her writing. She effortless flowed between the past and present, and intertwined their stories with ease. Her writing was in depth, and beautifully done. Jellicoe Road didn't necessarily have a personal edge to it for me (like, I didn't relate to it on a I understand what you're going through kind of level) but that didn't lessen it's affect. Seriously well done, and I bow down to Melina Marchetta for creating such a fantastic novel.

3. Maggie Stiefvater
(Read in 2012: The Raven Boys)
Maggie Stiefvater's words are like poetry and my goodness am I blown away. Reading The Raven Boys was like a shock to my system because Maggie Stiefvater created such an amazing novel. I couldn't believe how brilliant the writing was. I knew Maggie Stiefvater was a fantastic writer but I didn't know she could be THIS good (I didn't know anyone could be that good). The imagery her words created was simply magical, and my eyes wouldn't dare leave the page. Not only was her writing beautiful, but so were those broken and honest characters she created. Gansey, was you may know, was my favorite protagonist this year because he was everything I love in a character. He was also someone I related to. Maggie Stiefvater stunned with every single aspect of her story, and man did I love it.

2. Courtney Summers
(Read in 2012: This Is Not a Test)
I'm usually not a fan of minimalist writing. Okay, that's not true. I think it's more I'm not a fan of minimalist writing when anyone but Courtney Summers does it because she's so brilliant at it. Every word Summer's wrote in This Is Not a Test was a punch to the gut. They were strong, impacting, powerful words, put into stunning sentences with thought and meaning behind them. They commanded you to notice them, and they never let you go. I felt every pounding of the undead, every single painful thought Sloane threw at us and it was gorgeous. I mean, it was heart-breaking but in a beautiful way. If I could have half the talent Courtney Summers does, I would be gosh darn happy.

1. John Green
(Read in 2012: The Fault in Our Stars)
John Green is funny. Actually, I think it's more accurate to say John Green is bust-your-gut-hurt-your-cheeks-make-you-die-of-laughter funny. The road-trip scene in Paper Towns has literally brought me to tears with the humor while sitting on a bench at Ottawa U (I got some weird looks). And while he's making you laugh, John Green is also tackling some seriously tough subjects. But it's never in your face. Even TFIOS which definitely address it's main tough subject, only subtly hints at all the other theme's woven in. John Green writes compelling words and impacting characters. I want to put an adjective beside TFIOS to explain what I feel about it, but that's pretty hard to do. It was so many things, and John Green's writing brought all of that to life. I still, even right now as I'm writing this, feel the affect of what John Green and his characters have done to me. John Green is a brilliant, amazing man, and his writing is a thing of beauty. 

So, what do you think? How does writing rank on a scale of importance for you?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 


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