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Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

My new (and final) review column is up at IGMS.

It’s been a wonderful four years of reviewing — thank you all so much for reading!

Title: Darkbeast
Author: Morgan Keyes
EAN: 9781442442054

I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Keyes in July during my yearly Month of Author & Artists. In doing the requisite digging for her bio, picture, and most recent book, I stumbled across the cover for Darkbeast and knew I had to have it for review. Happily, Morgan and her publisher complied with my pleading request.

From the first chapter, Darkbeast reminded me of the high fantasy novels by Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey. Duodecia is a rich world full of gods and tithemen and original magic. Keara’s story is far simpler . . . though it seems to be less coming-of-age than it is the avoidance of growing up…  (Read more)

Title: A Confusion of Princes
Author: Garth Nix
EAN: 9780060096946

I’m a fantasy girl. My father read to me at bedtime from infanthood, so the stories that molded me were born of Muppets and Goops and fairies. I love delving into science fiction, but it requires more of a commitment. In fantasy, magic works based on the price paid. In science fiction, there are entire worlds of economies and social structures the reader must understand while simultaneously enjoying the journey of the main character.

I adore Garth Nix, so I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when I picked up A Confusion of Princes. Right off the bat, it’s got “Confusion” in the title, and boy, does it deliver. I did not start at page one of this book and barrel all the way to the end — I was forced to read much slower to understand this world, and I’m very glad I did.  (Read more)

 

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MoA&A Interview #16: Morgan Keyes

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features fellow WRW member Morgan Keyes. Her beautiful coming-of-age fantasy novel, Darkbeast, releases this August from Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Welcome, Morgan!

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
Tamora Pierce, for writing smart, strong girls who get themselves into trouble and work their own way out; Rick Riordan, for making the familiar interesting again; Neil Gaiman, for being Neil Gaiman (and for creating what he wants to create when he wants to create it, having faith in his own stories, no matter how unexpected they might be)

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Cool, crisp days, when the sun is shining in a cloudless sky. Ideally, it’s late spring or early fall and someone else has recently mowed the lawn, so that the green smell of fresh-cut grass is coming in my window.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Liz Story’s “Wedding Rain”. Yeah, you’ve never heard of it. (It’s an instrumental piece — all piano — part of the writing music playlist that I use to get myself jump-started on those days when I … just … don’t … want … to … settle … down … and … write.)

If you could win any award, which would it be?
The Newbery. I adored so many of those books while I was growing up, and I love the way the American Library Association doesn’t shy away from difficult books. (And they put gold stickers on books that win — shiny gold stickers!)

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers. Even though I know those always come with a cost…

What was your favorite book as a child?
As a young reader, HARRIET THE SPY, by Louise Fitzhugh. As an older kid, THE HOBBIT, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
It *really* doesn’t matter that you aren’t going to win the President’s Physical Fitness Award (or be chosen early for volleyball, or climb the rope in the gym). The people who are your true friends don’t care about how you do in P.E.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion. (It’s the one I always find first. Plus, I like the idea of a hunter, striding across the sky.)

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
“The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I want to always have the courage to speak out when I *know* things are true, even when everyone else is set on denying that truth. (I’m still working on this, but I’m making progress!)

What thing are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my ability to analyze situations, weighing pros and cons to arrive at reasonable courses of action, even when I feel least reasonable. (And I’d just like to note that this was, by far, the hardest question to answer!)

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
* Learn how to read tarot cards.
* Learn how to ballroom dance.
* Own and operate a “travel bookstore” — with books and supplies for travel (including genre books to read while traveling!), along with reading groups, discussion groups, etc.

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Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat.  Also, there were books.  Lots and lots of books.

Morgan started to keep a journal for a second-grade English class and never really stopped.  Journal entries turned into short stories, and short stories turned into novels.  In between, there were an awful lot of haikus and cinquains.

Morgan now lives near Washington, D.C.  In between trips to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, she reads, travels, reads, writes, reads, cooks, reads, wrestles with cats, and reads.  Because there are still books.  Lots and lots of books. Find Morgan online at  www.morgankeyes.com.

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