Book Recs Writing and Querying

Two Book Series I’m Excited About Right Now

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, want a little romance in your stories, and like dual perspectives, I’ve got the books for you. Check out the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber and An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. Full disclosure: I haven’t finished the entire Sabaa Tahir series, but I have books two and three at the ready.

Both of these ladies know their way around nouns and verbs. They have twisting and turning plots. They build full and interesting worlds. Yet, they write very differently.

Stephanie Garber is a master at description. Her writing is beautiful and whimsical. She spends quite a bit of time on setting and character descriptions in the midst of an interesting and fast-paced plot. Here’s an excerpt from the first book.

“The cobbled road stretched farther than she could see, multiplying into a maze of twisting streets. All were lined with mismatched, rounded shops, painted shades of jewels or pastels, and piled on top of one another like sloppily stacked hatboxes.

It was charming and enchanting, but it was also unnaturally still. The shops were all closed and the snow on their rooftops rested like dust on abandoned storybooks. Scarlett didn’t know what sort of place this was, but it was not how she imagined Caraval.”

Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Sabaa Tahir, on the other hand, writes crisp, clean prose. It’s beautiful but in a much different way. Yes, she describes setting, but not at the length that Garber does. Her plots are so winding yet well-planned that you are compelled to turn the page. Here’s a glimpse of her brilliance:

“I’m the only student whose mask hasn’t melded to him yet–something my enemies enjoy pointing out. But lately, the mask has started fighting back, forcing the melding process by digging tiny filaments into the back of my neck. It makes my skin crawl, makes me feel like I’m not myself anymore. Like I’ll never be myself again.”

Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes

So I guess this post is about two things really. One: go check out these books if you want to be entertained and see some amazing writers at work.

But two: these books are a fascinating study in different styles. Both writers successfully leave me entranced, interested, and compelled. Both writers have developed intricate characters and worlds that feel real. Yet they write in much different ways.

Which brings me back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago. Each writer has a unique style and voice. That’s the cool thing about reading a variety of authors and practicing your hand at writing. You get to experience all the different ways people tell stories. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be fascinated that two people can be successful at the same craft, the same medium, but do it in their own ways.

What writing styles do you like reading? How would you describe your own writing style?

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