Monday, April 4, 2016

Meeting 3 Huge Authors // Red Queen Review + Why We're Lucky to Get Author Visits so Frequently in the United States

Fluttery Eyelid Pink + Soft Lilac + Wind. There's a word for this. Dreamy. That's what these colors made me think of. Here's that time I met Victoria AveyardSophie Jordan and, on a later date with nothing but my words to prove it to you all, Veronica Roth. It was a lot of fun and I got a photo shoot out of it! DOUBLE YES!


Sophie was here for Reign of Shadows, which I didn't buy but that my friend let me borrow for this photo. What else are friends for? She also took this photo (now she has witnesses for all the favors I owe her back). The book is almost a Rapunzel retelling from what I'm gathering and I want to read it. The book was really pretty in person, too.
I wore this outfit again for Valentine's Day brunch - it seemed so soft and Valentine-y. Also, any excuse to repeat any cute outfit. Also, any excuse to not have to spend hours choosing out a new outfit. Also, any excuse to wear an outfit as many times as humanly possible before the whole world sees it on here and it's suddenly not new anymore. All the reasons!
Victoria Aveyard, the author of Red Queen...which incidentally I wouldn't say I like. I met her before reading her book and am so happy she has the success she has. Going through the pictures my mother said, "Whose this third girl with you?" Looking up from whatever I'd been doing, I crinkled my eyebrows and gave her a weird look because there were only two of us, my friend and I. "She's so pretty." Turns out that third person was Victoria Aveyard. So thank you, Victoria, for showing my mother people who write books can totally look hot while doing it. Although really...the hot part probably comes after the books written and published and edited and yeah, being an author is a pretty ugly thing. 

At least that's what Veronica Roth, Divergent's author, said when I met her two weeks ago! EEEEEEEE! I can't believe it happened, either. And when it was my turn to speak to her I said nothing of importance because there just wasn't time to think about what to say. I did mention that one time she emailed me, way back when Divergent had just come out. Even then it took eight months for her to respond, but that could just mean she hates or sucks at emailing. But that's why it's a good thing I pre-wrote her a two page letter. Always prepared, yo.
Victoria is a really nice person. When I was waiting in line I was so pleased with how she treated her readers. A lot of people don't ramble and say "I LOVE YOU!!!" ten times when meeting an author like I do. I know - I was surprised, too. A lot of readers (shocker, shocker) are very shy. And the way she made conversation with them when they were too timid or nervous to say anything was so kind. I know it doesn't sound so life changing, but when you witness it that little thing leaves such a big impact. I always feel it's your job to put people at ease, reassure them, and make sure they know it's okay to be themselves. And the way she made conversation with the girls was so interesting, that she'd turn the attention back on them and not keep it on her by saying things like, "Thank you for supporting my book! I'm so glad you're here! I'm so glad you love my book! I'm so glad you love my work! I'm so glad this is all for me!" Which is fine, too, but maybe should come after your guest has even a millisecond to remember you're both just people, equal and made of the same bones under all those layers. 
When I met Veronica that's what I found oddest of all. She isn't super bubbly on Instagram and Twitter only allows so much room for introspective captions, so she always seemed really out of reach to me. The more famous she got the more I felt like she was just another celebrity. I was shocked at how kind and full of "flaws" (according to her; I bear no actual proof of these supposed flaws) she was. She was (get this!) almost as weirdly normal as me! It was really weird. It's like meeting Daniel Radcliffe and learning he doesn't think he's some bigshot despite all his fame, either. And that he thinks he's flawed. 

  The writing in Red Queen was so-so. I wasn't a fan of the short sentences because as you all know, I'm in love with details. Details about everything and anything. Whatever it is, I want more. It's not her fault. It's just personal preference. I couldn't even get through it, though. I had to force myself to continue. There wasn't anything particular or new. The plot seemed so interesting in theory, but in reality everything that happened was done. I guess that's the thing with YA books; you only like them in the order you read them. Maybe, if I'd read this before I read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, which I haven't finished but utterly loved, I'd like this more. The whole special abilities thing felt borrowed from this, and the House names were too confusing to keep up with. Without details how were we expected to differentiate between the two or three or eight? I don't know about you, but a color or physical appearance isn't enough to stick in my brain. I need background information or something special, something that'd really leave a mark. 
 None of the characters felt special, either; Mare, the main character. wasvery drab. She wants to keep living, she loves her family, she'll do anything to protect them, she loves her sister, and she feels a certain level of insecurity that she isn't good enough. Whose being described here? Katniss? Emma Bloom? Alec? Pi? Ron? Is it me? I could take any literary or real character and fit them in that mold. A description like that fits essentially everyone. As someone who has read a lot, I can tell you there's nothing in it. Mare is an empty mold waiting to be filled with chocolate. Whether white or raspberry or orange or mint or caramel is up to the author. It just has to taste good on the readers' tongues. 

Maybe that is the thing, though; when you've read a lot, your definition and standard of "good" change. That means that what might be a good book to one person might not to another, because now that we know what a really, really good book is, we know what its opposite is, too. The boys in the series were predictable in regards to how they acted with Mare. I knew who'd like her and how, and I saw a lot of the plot unfolding with who loved who. The world seemed so empty. There just wasn't anything in it or anything happening. Everything was so flat, flat, flat. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't finish it. I had to leave the book somewhere in the later half of the book, and I barely managed to get there.
     The plot twists in the book were pretty good and added a good amount of action to the series, but they weren't so fascinating and wonderful my mind was broadened. The whole red blood/silver blood idea was very clever. There were aspects of it I never thought about that she mentioned. This is a book I'd recommend for anyone who doesn't care for lengthy sentences or in-depth plots. It could be enjoyable with just enough action and ideas to keep you wanting to read and excited to fall in love, but it won't require any effort or change your entire life or heart. It's also good if you're not super crazy and think through every aspect of the book or world and can accept the story at face value. Once you start questioning it. there's really no satisfying answer. Red Queen felt like a lot of nothing to me. I'd reached over halfway through the book and couldn't tell you anything that had actually happened. Nothing stood out on its own. It's not worth the time unless you have it. 


     It's amazing how blessed we are in the United States. It's not something you have to thank God for every night because I know this isn't a blessing in everyone's life, but we're so lucky to have author visits and events all the time because almost all present-day major YA ones come from USA based publishing houses. I'm sure there are so many esteemed international writers out there today as well, but isn't it weird how people in the world know about USA authors but we don't know about any of the international? 

     We get so caught up in the flaws of our country and etc. etc. etc. but there are so many things we get that others don't. Giveaways and sweepstakes almost always are for U.S. or maybe even Canada-residing people, because again, almost all those major companies and brands are based in our country. That also makes me think about what it's like to be an aspiring anything in other countries. Maybe my opinion of other countries is different because I've visited some, and anytime you visit a third world country your view on your life will never be the same again, but although I'm not claiming we're superior or better in anyway at all, our plans to success are mapped out so easily for us. 

               
     People come here for opportunities. If I want to be an author, I know what I have to do: query, keep trying, send samples, etc. It's all mapped out. I've only read a few books translated from other languages or from international authors. Harry Potter, the Ruby Red series translated from German, and Ruby Redfort by Lauren Child, whose UK based. I definitely don't know everything about the world and publishing and international authors. In fact, two of the 2014 Top Publishing Houses in the World list were from China. So whose to say? But I'm amazed that for me as an American, it's so easy for me to turn down an author visit because I know next year I'll get another chance. 

     It's crazy how when Victoria Aveyard and other authors go to the Philippines or anywhere in Asia, there are upwards of a thousand to two thousand people waiting hours and hours in line for the chance to meet them. It makes me happy to know how much success they're getting because authors deserve to be supported. To places where author visits can't happen all the time (duh, no one has money to fly international every other year), it's a treat to them. I'm only talking about the really big YA series though - Cassandra Clare's works. the Legend series, The Hunger Games, All the Bright Places, etc. On that note, how do international readers always seem to know about these USA based authors? I'm sure it has something to do with the foreign marketing done by our publishing houses. 
               
Sweater: Kohls // Jeans: Kohls // Boots: Steve Madden // Maxi Cardi: Target // Rings: Aldo + F21 // Faux Glasses: Icing // Nail Polish: Inglots

     What do you think about all this? And Red Queen? I'm so dead right now I feel like a zombie with all this seasonal allergy induced sickness but life is fast and busy and I'm feeling inspired to go back to the story I've been writing and redrafting since six years now. Also, Gilmore Girls has taken over my heart and I love the Ruby Redfort series and highly recommend as they're so enjoyable and friendship based, and I'm reading The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski right now. Guess who I just met? (hint: she's a firebender!)

Life is spontaneously splendid. Always. X
Aiman Ghani


14 comments:

  1. Well damm Aiman! I did not know you were a blogger!! This is amazing I love your excitement And enthusiasm!! Keep it up girl!!

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    1. Average girl by day, blogger by night ;) thank you so much for both reading and commenting. You are awesome.

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  2. Your outfit pictures are the cutest! But also I love how I can hear your enthusiasm through your words ��

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    1. Thank you so much. X Haha! It's nice to know I have a voice in my writing. :-)

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  3. This was a major throwback to when I pre-ordered and waited for all the divergent books to come out! So cool how you got to meet her!

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    1. Oh, God! Never in a million years did I imagine meeting Veronica Roth. I actually gave up hope on it a long time ago and accepted I'd never meet here. Wow. Surreal. Life is spontaneously splendid. You never, ever, EVER know how things will turn out.

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  4. This was a major throwback to when I pre-ordered and waited for all the divergent books to come out! So cool how you got to meet her!

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  6. You make a good point that the more you read, the more used to you get to the same old characters with the same old plots. But what's so great about these stories is that a million people could read them and not a single person could be reading the same thing. Each person identifies with the characters a different way. You see the character as an overprotective sibling because that's the aspect you identify with the most. Someone else may see them as a whole new person because it's not a character they're used to reading. Or, people really enjoy these stories. There's a reason why a certain why it seems like certain plots are used over and over again (Wizards and witches after Harry Potter, Vampires and werewolves after Twilight, Dystopian societies after The Hunger Games, etc . . .) Even if a book is the same as all the others, there must be something unique about it to be published right? As an aspiring author you could challenge yourself to really nitpick these books as to why someone would want to publish it.

    Ah I kinda rambled for a bit, but I just tried to share a different perspective �� Unlike you, words don't come as easily to me
    Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks for sharing such an insightful point of view, Hafsa! Funny thing is I actually didn't understand this when you commented in February at all. I reread it in I believe April or May and it made so much sense to me. I totally agree, and I thought it was so interesting how you said I could try to do that. Thanks for the suggestion and different perspective! I love your comment so much. These are the kinds of thought provoking ideas I'd hope my blog would stir in people who, in turn, could share them back with me and other readers! It's now August, meaning it has been half a year since you commented. I will try to improve my replying game.

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  7. When you mentioned the Philippines ��

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    1. Always shouting out my fellow minorities. X

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  8. Your outfitss are life Aiman omg �� You make me want to Red Queen now I want to buy it now❤️

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Hi guys! I make sure to read each and every comment I receive- thank you for your love. x Aiman