Monday, October 08, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway Featuring "Sanctum" by Sarah Fine

Sarah Fine is the author of the newly released YA novel Sanctum. Today I'm the host for Sarah's blog tour to help get the word out about her new book. Today's post is all about Sarah's favorite sci-fi and fantasy novels and a giveaway of "Sanctum." Be sure to check the end of this post for instructions on how to win a copy of the book!

An Eclectic Assemblage of Awesomeness

Reading is personal in a way that goes beyond “subjective.” Beyond “preference” and straight to “passion.” Our favorite books say a lot about us as people, not just readers. So … I’ll let you decide what this says about me!

In order read, here are my favorite sci-fi and fantasy novels:

Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis. In this book, Lewis retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche—from the point of view of the “ugly sister.” There is a harsh reality and profound depth and yearning in this fantasy that really spoke to me as a teenager, and I’ve returned to this book several times since then. Orual, the narrator, writes this book as a complaint to the gods. Hers is a fairytale but not … She doesn’t get the happy ending you see in so many books, but she does get a kind of satisfying resolution that echoes inside my heart and brain to this day. This, quite simply, is my favorite book ever. And, it might interest you to know, despite the fame of the Narnia books, Till We Have Faces was Lewis’s favorite of all his books as well. 

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie. I am a huge fan of Salman Rushdie. He’s a master of the English language, and wields it both with precision and a certain kind of wild whimsy. He wrote the scariest book I’ve ever read (Shame), and also Haroun, a fantasy for children. Talk about versatility. Anyway, Haroun is about a boy whose father is a professional storyteller who can’t tell stories anymore after Haroun’s mother leaves them. The night before his father must tell the most engrossing tale ever, they go on an epic journey to restore the magical source of all the stories in the world. It’s adorable, pure and simple. Colorful and imaginative and crazy. It makes me happy, but I also admire the beauty and flexibility of the prose.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This is another author whose prose I deeply admire, but for completely different reasons than I admire Rushdie’s. This book is just messed up, and that’s why I like it. It fuses the present and past of Snowman, possibly the last Homo sapiens sapiens on the planet, who is surrounded (and worshipped) by the genetically engineered, physically perfect Children of Crake, who are guileless and void of understandings of violence, sex, art, and technology. The story slowly reveals how our world has become their world, and how Snowman contributed to its fall and questionable resurrection—including how he lost his best friend, Crake, and the woman they both loved. A dystopian sci-fi that came out before they were all the rage, and one that is more unflinchingly brutal than many of them put together. 

Control by Lydia Kang. Um … I’m cheating a bit here. Control will be published by Dial/Penguin next summer (cover yet to come!), but I was lucky enough to read it shortly after it was acquired. Lydia is a physician in addition to being an excellent writer, and her sheer intelligence—along with her awesomely bizarre kind of whimsicality—comes through in this work. The story is face-paced and badass (in a fantastically nerdy kind of way) and taps into what it’s like to be, literally, fatally flawed. In Control, Zel, who can’t breathe without conscious effort, is left orphaned after a tragic accident. She has to look out for her sister, Delia, who’s pretty and sweet … and illegal. In a futuristic world where genetic mutations are outlawed, Delia is kidnapped for her potentially profitable genetic mutation. Zel sets out to find her, and her only allies are the other kids in her new foster home, a haven for individuals with truly strange mutations. One of them, Cy, happens to be … whoa. He’s a perfectly imperfect love interest for Zel. So if you like bizarre, deeply creative, intense, and kinda (really) hot, definitely look out for this one next year. 

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst. This one just came out a few weeks ago. I laughed out loud while reading the first page, teared up while reading the second, and ate up the rest of it with a smile on my face and a lump in my throat. It’s about Liyana, one of my favorite heroines ever, who has been chosen as the vessel for the goddess of her desert clan. But on the day she’s supposed to sacrifice herself to let the goddess occupy her body, her goddess doesn’t show up, and Liyana is left to die by her people. That’s when Korbyn, a god who’s inhabiting a (very good looking) vessel of his own, shows up and tells her the deities have been kidnapped. Liyana must help him rescue them, knowing that in the end, she’ll have to vacate her body so the rescued goddess can move in. Except—what if she’s not quite done living? This tale is epic, romantic, tragic, hopeful, triumphant … Really, you must read it. 

~Sarah Fine

For a chance to win a copy of "Sanctum" just add your information to the form below (all information is guaranteed confidential and will be discarded once the contest ends) and I will randomly pick one winner by Tuesday October 16th. No multiple entries please-- all multiple entries will be discarded. Open in the U.S. and Canada. 

"My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple."

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone – she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t – the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.

**Contest Closed**


maine character said...

Never heard of Till We Have Faces. Or any of these, actually, which is a breath of fresh air. Heavy, thought-provoking, emotionally turbulent fresh air, that is. :-)

Lydia Kang said...

Wow, it's so interesting to see what Sarah likes in sci-fi, until I got to the CONTROL part and whoah. I almost lost my breakfast. Thank you Sarah!!!

Sarah said...

Maine character: Oh, read Till We Have Faces. It's not your typical fantasy at all, but will stick with you, I promise.

Lydia: Well, I didn't mean to make you feel queasy, but Control is truly an excellent read, and worthy of being on this list.

And: thanks for hosting me!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Great list. I didn't realize Rushie wrote books for kids. And congrats to you and Lydia on your stories!

Liesel K Hill said...

Great list! I hadn't even heard of that CS Lewis one! Totally TBRing it! :D Thanks!

lbdiamond said...

Nice list! Can't wait to read SANCTUM.