Word on the Street Toronto is coming up! It’s on Sunday September 24.
I am, as usual, terrified/excited for this. Terrified because I will be on a panel and speaking in public, and excited because I love Word on the Street, and have gone almost every year since I emigrated, long before Transferral came out.
So in 2015 it was particularly wonderful that it was my first public appearance as an actual, official author. I ‘accidentally’ wore my Word on the Street lanyard all the way home on the TTC, and would have kept it on for the next week if there had been any plausible way I could make it look unintentional.
I’ll be joining three amazing authors on stage – Angela Misri, the host, and fellow-panelists Cherie Dimaline and Sarah Raughley. I’ve read books by all three – and here are my mini-reviews.
Jewel of the Thames– Angela Misri
I first met Angela Misri at a CANSCAIP event a couple of years ago, and from her description I was immediately intrigued about her Portia Adams series. Portia is a budding 1930s girl detective with a mysterious family background who finds she has inherited 221 Baker Street. I got my hands on a copy as soon as I could, and I was not disappointed. Portia Adams is a fantastic character, smart, charming and endlessly curious. The books stand on their own, so teens do not need to be familiar with the source material. And while we currently seem to be ankle deep in Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations, these stand apart as a properly fresh take on the Sherlockian myths.
The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline
The Marrow Thieves is set in a future world almost destroyed by ecological abuse – where the indigenous people of North America are the only ones still able to dream. Hunted for this ability, they are forced to live on the run to avoid the ‘recruiters’ and the fate that awaits them in the government-run ‘schools’.
I recently read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, and the horror of that resonates throughout this novel, adding an almost unbearable weight to the words. The writing is stunning, with too many perfect metaphors for me to pick one. The characters are real and complex and I lost count of how often this story made me cry. I re-read the ending four times, and teared up each time. If that doesn’t convince you to read this book, check out this starred review from Kirkus.
UPDATE! The Marrow Thieves is a Kirkus Prize finalist! (And I would also put serious money on this book picking up A LOT more nominations/prizes.)
Fate of Flames – Sarah Raughley
I have a shameful admission to make. I read a description of this book last year or early this year, and thought it sounded really interesting: ‘PACIFIC RIM meets the AVENGERS with a SAILOR MOON cast’. But in spite of that great concept, I decided not to read it. I’ve been reluctant to start a new series. Partly because I have a ridiculous TBR list, so adding three books to it at once is daunting, and partly because I started a couple of hyped trilogies from very big names last year, and didn’t love them enough to read the sequels. That left me with a frustrated ‘unfinished’ feeling and a little soured on starting a new series.
But, since I found out I was going to be on this panel, I decided to give this series a go. I am so happy I did (thanks, WOTS programmer – I would have missed these books otherwise!). I was absolutely glued to this book until it was done, then immediately went online to find the next one and found out it isn’t out until LATE NOVEMBER. Gah! So I’ll be awaiting that eagerly. Fate of Flames is fast-paced with compelling characters, a uniquely dark take on the ‘chosen one’ theme and SO MANY QUESTIONS I WANT ANSWERS TO NOW.
So, other than being totally nervous about the whole talking in public thing, I’m really looking forward to my panel. See you there?