Yesterday I went to the Post Office, a very Christmasy thing to do. The actual trip to the post office was fine and the time in line wasn’t bad either. Then I got out to my car and the battery was dead. Now, while annoying a dead battery is not the end of the world. In fact, over the years, I’ve had this happen to me a double handful of times. This time was different.
You see, this time I had my not quite 3 year old daughter with me. It was a cold, snowy day and the car hadn’t had a chance to warm up on the trip over. Terribly rational me would have considered that I had a cell phone and a nice warm Post Office right there, gone inside and called for a tow. But motherhood is not rational. Motherhood is protective and decisive and all I could think was that I would not let my sweet daughter be cold. I had to get her home where she was safe and warm. So I bundled her up in her jacket, coat, hat and blankies and started rushing home through the wind and snow. (Irrational me was also only dressed in a fleece jacket and hat because we were only running a mile away and only getting out of the car for a minute.)
Halfway home I realized I was being irrational and I had the tools to get help without continuing to walk through the storm. I called for a rescue and within 30 minutes we had returned to my dead car, jumped the battery, dropped it off at the shop and were safely home and warm.
Now, how does all of this tie to writing?
Because sometimes characters too will be driven to irrationality by other drives. As readers, and even as writers, we can often see the rational solution, but in the moment it may be the right thing for our characters to give into those irrational drives. The key is that while they act in the moment, looking back later they should be able to learn from the moment and the next time make other choices. Maybe still irrational ones…but something new. This is part of character growth and creates a stronger emotional arc.
Though I would still walk through snow for my daughter…given the same situation hopefully I’d think about the warm Post Office and the phone first.
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is prolly a 3.75 for me though not quite a 4.
I like the world of Kate Daniels and the writing of the duo that makes up Ilona Andrews, so I was thrilled to see a novella to tide us over to the next book. I was also happy to see that it would be featuring Derek and Julie, who are both interesting characters in their own rights.
It was an interesting read which covered a lot of ground in a short book. The plot is very specific to one incident though there are a lot of implications which tie into the larger arc of the Kate books. Everything begins with a murder and a job to find a fractured stone, Derek looking into the former and Julie the later but the two quickly overlap taking them into trouble.
It was interesting to see versions of Derek and Julie without the filter of Curran and Kate. Derek has always been interesting to me in his loyalty to Curran and Kate and his dedication to the Pack. He’s had a lot of tragedy and it’s certainly affected him and his search for a place to belong is powerfully appealing.
Julie as well is interesting and has been as she’s been growing into her place not only as Kate’s ward, but as a young woman with her own powers and desires. We see here that she’s come a LONG way in her abilities, both magically and in combat. Most of this has happened off screen and so to me her prowess was jarring. It seemed odd that she was so good at everything and developing such ability and power and managing to keep a lot of that secret. There was also a little TOO much Kate in her as far as Julie’s dialog and wit. I wanted her to be more distinctly -her- and not a little, younger Kate. There are also implications about how her power is growing which is going to cause big problems for Kate in future books.
It was interesting to see the pair of them work together. There’s an underlying romance there, which has always been in the books and while I’m not a huge Derek/Julie shipper, I don’t mind it either. I was glad it’s still a simmering romance and didn’t progress too far as Julie is just 16, but it was well done.
So all in all totally worth the cash and the time and a worthy entry in the Magic world.
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