Bits 'n' Bobs

The winner of Where in the World is The Spymaster's Lady has been announced! Skip over to Claire's blog to find out who took first place and who took second. Not me :-(

Last night we were at the Springsteen concert in Montreal! If I had some ready cash and some vacation time coming up, I think I'd head on down to the States and try to catch at least three or four more gigs. Story idea bubbling up in relation to this... Stay tuned!

I'll be updating the books read list in a few days, but for now I wanted to talk about Anthony Horowitz' Alex Rider series. I've only read two of them to date, but already they're beginning to seem rather formulaic. Now, there's nothing essentially wrong with formula (see my gushes over The Spymaster's Lady elsewhere), provided that each book within a series or formula genre finds new ways and words to present the characters and events.
Essentially, the Alex Rider books read like this: Alex becomes sucked in to a mystery; Alex goes undercover where the Evil Villain is operating; Alex becomes involved in various scrapes as he works out Evil Villain's plan; Alex escapes and foils the plan at the last moment.
In general, this formula works rather well. Alex's adventures are original and exciting, and Alex is an interesting - to say the least - fourteen year old.
Now, it may be beccause I'm an old-fashioned *girl* but my single main criticism of these books is against their lack of denouement. It seems as though once the adventures are over, there's no room left for explanations or conversations. Alex never seems to have problems at school, with his teachers or his friends, as a result of his unexplained absences. Once he's broken open Evil Villain's plot, he never seems to dwell on any of the consequences (good or bad). He never seems to talk to his guardian, Jack, except to gain ideas on how to get the better of Evil Villain.
As I said, I've only read two of the books, and maybe there'll be more thoughts/explanations in the others.
But given that I'm editing my own The Face of A Lion, it looks like I ought to be a lot more stringent in terms of editing for more action and less introspection. Possibly. As far as I can, I'll stick to writing the kind of book I liked to read at the age of fourteen.
Another aspect of the Alex Rider books, however, is that they're full of technical vocabulary that no fourteen year old - whether Alex himself or his readers - could be expected to know. Good. I can leave some of my own so-called difficult words in The Face of A Lion, then.


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