Writing Excerpts // no.1

(Here are just some of my dabbles, mostly things I’ve written while bored in class. Maybe one day I’ll expand upon some of them, but who knows? I hope you enjoy!)

part i.

Forth comes the rain that cleaves the wind
with hedging shears and wilting petals,
of which were uprooted too soon,
bewitched by the rising sun,
and drenched in cold sea salt.
Soon will come the roses—
bloodless
ivory sheets twirled between toes—
for what else can new beginnings bring
but growth and thorns and wild abandon.

 

wood.

A tree is only a vessel

made of silt and soil
crafted by fingers dipped in dawn,
and you are but a tree
made from fallen oak
shattered pine
weeping willow
and forest
fire.

A moon of black fire hangs low tonight.

It says to the trees in tongues of foreign mothers hither and wither the crow calls to the unkind ravens, but the ravens are bare and boneless as you in winter webs. And onward goes the shadows who hunt in the path of the flickering fire— onward towards the featherless birds who still scream with mirth even though they’re naked against the cold.

A dusting of frost licks the sides of indescribably large pumpkins, coating the ghost white, grey, and orange of the fruits. Vines upon vines and thorns of thyme loop through the dirt whereupon the crows have burrowed the raven’s wares, creating a nest for the unseelie queen.

 

excerpt no. ii

When the storytellers recite their wares of folklore, the maidens, though they vary in voice and valiance, are often portrayed for being one thing above all else.

Fragile.

Delicate limbs and rosebud lips that which are wielded to disarm armies and infiltrate the most stalwart minds of kings and courtiers. Her velvet skin, her willow-the-wisp hair, her honeysuckle breath that offers solace to all that come close enough to taste it— taste her— will be the demise of a great many men. These characters of old are liars. They are the myths; not the dragons that their knights forged into serpentine tapestries and used the scales to create jewelry for a blossoming bride. No beast was nailed to a dinning hall for being slaughtered by another lesser creature.

What the storytellers neglect to whisper beside hearths and wintry bonfires is that these dragons are the true maidens, and the maidens in the tales are but a gust of wind ripping through a bed of glass meadowlarks. The real women of old were warrior queens. Blacksmith daughters and shieldmaidens with political minds and eyes not made of the sea, but bred from the thunder and the moon that lulled the tides. We were always the storms that caused shipwrecks, not the sirens crafted upon wooden vessels. Never a symbol to romanticize, but a tempest to heed caution.

And the feminine skin that grazed across my ribcage was anything but glasslike.

The woman above me was a basilisk with fangs and claws and thrumming blood. Yet, I wasn’t afraid. How could I be, when I too was a creature born from the fury of my predecessors? When her teeth claimed my throat, my hands rose to caress her sides and drag her down further so that our hearts pushed and pulled like waves crashing against a cliffside. The grass beneath me seemed to stretch taller as I sunk lower into the woodland cot. Above me were oak spires, burning leaves, a gloaming sky, and a pair of wild ochre eyes bearing down on me like the missing sun.

 

inhale.

breathing is easy
when you’ve swallowed the sun
and held the sea between your fingers.
sharing breath with the one
who did both with your world,
that is the challenge.

 

excerpt no. iii

      She was ignited in honey light, with a spine unfurled and elongated such as the serpent that sleeps coiled low within her. A crown of splintered teeth adorned the maiden’s forehead, biting into the heavy forest of hair that grew every which way, like the gnarled roots of an ancient tree. Thorns wove up her forearms as sleeves—as armor—and interlocked against her bodice wherein chainmail would cover a man’s chest during battle. But she was not waging war. It would be a difficult feat indeed to prelude something that had been the essence of her existence. Rather, Kadar was lapsing through another day as a misplaced queen amongst a world uprooted in fear and bloodlust. She wasn’t certain which trait fed the other. Only that her skin itched to bathe in dawn one final time before the sun fell and an eternal moon was born.

 

 

story concept no.i

The forest of Fornhaust thrives by virtue of spilled blood. No rainfall vicious enough or ray of sun emblazoned with the heat of a witches pyre could offer life to these woods. It’s roots are thick with the essence of warriors, it’s bark the clout of a weathered blade. Vagabond spirits know not to trespass, for the only creatures more primal than Fornhaust are the maidens who serve it. But when the forest begins to decay for the first time in a two thousand years, the blood of a lone wanderer won’t be enough to satiate it’s hunger. For without immediate care, the trees will seek other means of survival— whether it be by festering its rot towards other thickets…or hunting in familiar lands, to devour its own protectors.

After Queen Freydis of the Vaskr shieldmaidens slaughtered the clan of her betrothed and denounced her ancestral throne, she since opened her barren castle to the wilderness for all women in need of a place to hone their abilities. The forest kingdom hosts an academy of female warriors, high priestesses, and earth witches, all of whom have sworn an oath to Her Highest and offered their skills to protect and serve the Fornhaust. Theyda, the most feral and triumphant warrior birthed by the silt and soil of the woods, is a few months shy of ascending her final task as an apprentice to the great Wilder Witch. On the eve of her ceremonial, a rupture forges deep in the riverbed: ravens fall from the skies, wind shrieks like a mute giantess among the copse of blanched winter pines, and the trees weep black blood. The elders see this as a sign from the gods, and they strip Theyda of her titles— forsaking her to the madness of the dying woods.

To save the land that relinquished her, Theyda and her sister shieldmaidens must seduce two rival kingdoms to venture into the heart of the awakened forest where war must be fought and enough blood spilled to replenish the realm. But while drawing foreign kings within the cusps of battle, and venturing farther than she’s ever been granted passage, Theyda is faced with a morbid realization that could cause Fornhaust to writhe in pestilence forevermore if she doesn’t chose wisely. And wherein the forest is starving, it’s people are rising from the drecks of an ancient curse with a thirst for revolution.

(key story terms:)

  1. Forn— ancient (Old Norse)
  2.  Haust— autumn
  3. Vaskr— brave
  4. Flaugun— fly
  5. Sortna, Myrkva— grow dark
  6. ávotxr— growth
  7. howling— pytr

3. 27. 17

 

Atmospheric Books

How we rate a book has a lot to do with not only the characters and the plot, but the setting as well. We might not realize it, but a vast amount of our emotions are placed in the background scenes and subconscious environments. To be fair, most books arguably have their own original settings wherein no two books will ever take place in the same fantasy kingdom or high school, however there are a few books that surpass all others in regards to being wholesomely atmospheric. Books that not only include an environment, but make that environment vital to the storyline. I adore books of the such, because they are the ones that I feel as though I can really submerge myself in and escape reality.

These books emphasize the whimsical aspect behind many genres, not only fantasy, because they seem so surreal yet they were designed to bring forth our own personal encounters and nostalgia in order to raise our emotional awareness. These atmospheric books do wonder for our minds, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ones!

Don’t just read books— fall into them.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenster


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
“The Night Bazaar had ensnared me. I could smell its perfume on my skin—of stories and secrets, flashing teeth and slow smiles.”

The Half Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker

“She rushed across the fields and into the woods, where some shadowed grove would still shelter winter’s snow. She found a cache of not yet melted snow in the roots of an oak, and there she sat, numbing her hand, while the sun set.”
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

“White Sky. Trees fading at the skyline, the mountains gone. My hands dangled from the cuffs of my jacket as if they weren’t my own. I never got used to the way the horizon there could just erase itself and leave you marooned, adrift, in an incomplete dreamscape that was like a sketch for the world you knew -the outline of a single tree standing in for a grove, lamp-posts and chimneys floating up out of context before the surrounding canvas was filled in-an amnesia-land, a kind of skewed Heaven where the old landmarks were recognizable but spaced too far apart, and disarranged, and made terrible by the emptiness around them.”

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

“It was a palace of vaulting glass and shimmering tapestry and, woven through it all like light, magic. The air was alive with it. Not the secret, seductive magic of the stone, but a loud, bright, encompassing thing. Kell had told Lila that magic was like an extra sense, layered on top of sight and smell and taste, and now she understood. It was everywhere. In everything. And it was intoxicating. She could not tell if the energy was coming from the hundreds of bodies in the room, or from the room itself, which certainly reflected it. Amplified it like sound in an echoing chamber. And it was strangely—impossibly—familiar. Beneath the magic, or perhaps because of it, the space itself was alive with color and light. She’d never set foot inside St. James, but it couldn’t possibly have compared to the splendor of this. Nothing in her London could. Her world felt truly grey by comparison, bleak and empty in a way that made Lila want to kiss the stone for freeing her from it, for bringing her here, to this glittering jewel of a place. Everywhere she looked, she saw wealth. Her fingers itched, and she resisted the urge to start picking pockets, reminding herself that the cargo in her own was too precious to risk being caught.”

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed trough the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with coversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of curse there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.”

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“As the sun shines low and red across the water, I wade into the ocean. The water is still high and brown and murky with the memory of the storm, so if there’s something below it, I won’t know it. But that’s part of this, the not knowing. The surrender to the possibilities beneath the surface. It wasn’t the ocean that killed my father, in the end. The water is so cold that my feet go numb almost at once. I stretch my arms out to either side of me and close my eyes. I listen to the sound of water hitting water. The raucous cries of the terns and the guillemots in the rocks of the shore, the piercing, hoarse questions of the gulls above me. I smell seaweed and fish and the dusky scent of the nesting birds onshore. Salt coats my lips, crusts my eyelashes. I feel the cold press against my body. The sand shifts and sucks out from under my feet in the tide. I’m perfectly still. The sun is red behind my eyelids. The ocean will not shift me and the cold will not take me.”

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

“Marya watched from the upper floor as once again the birds gathered in the great oak tree, sniping and snapping for the last autumn nuts, stolen from squirrels and hidden in bark-cracks, which every winged creature knows are the most bitter of all nuts, like old sorrows sitting heavy on the tongue.”

In the Woods by Tana French

“…the solitude was intoxicating. On my first night there I lay on my back on the sticky carpet for hours, in the murky orange pool of city glow coming through the window, smelling heady curry spices spiraling across the corridor and listening to two guys outside yelling at each other in Russian and someone practicing stormy flamboyant violin somewhere, and slowly realizing that there was not a single person in the world who could see me or ask me what I was doing or tell me to do anything else, and I felt as if at any moment the bedsit might detach itself from the buildings like a luminous soap bubble and drift off into the night, bobbing gently above the rooftops and the river and the stars.”

 

SIAD.

Self Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) occurs each year on the first of March. It is an internationally recognized event that was founded to draw attention to those who inflict self harm— so that the people who partake in this act are better understood, and can find a way to cope and subsist. It is important to remember that these victims are, in fact, victims to their own emotions and should be treated like every other human being. Too often are self-injury survivors made out to be stereotypically depressed, asocial, volatile and so on. This isn’t a trend. The most stable, seemingly exuberant person you know could also be harboring a grief greater than you could understand. The glorification of self-injuring acts through certain books, television shows, and songs (etc) are damaging to not only those who truly know what it means to experience such pain, but also to others who are trying to understand what causes a person to go to such lengths in order to feel better.

For those of us who have inflicted self-harm in the past, or are currently struggling with a relapse, remind yourself that you are worth more than your scars. I cannot say that your pain is only temporary, for each person is vastly different than another, but you DO have the power to take control of your body again. It will be hard, but allow close friends and family to help you. You don’t have to seek the aid, but don’t fight it. They only want to see you not suffering. If that isn’t enough, I can speak from experience that the best motivator during a state of depression can be your own voice. Think about all that which you’ve done, and all of what you can do. We see you. And you are not alone in this battle.

Originally, I had planned to provide a lengthy list of (mostly YA) books that deal with self injury or depression. I spent a good few hours pouring over GoodReads and other blogger’s recommendations for novels of the such, but not even a few minutes into writing up my post I realized how wrong it felt. As I’ve stated before, I have a history with self injury. This was years ago, and I am proud to declare that I’ve been healthier and happier ever since. I should also state that I’m not an ardent fan of contemporary as I am fantasy/sci-fi, and most books that include self injury are contemporary. Thus, I’ve only truly read a few, and that was such a long time ago that I can barely remember what I had read— only that it made an impact. That being said, I could easily recommend the books I’ve read and declare them “novels that teach you how to cope with self injury.” But then I would be lying.

We all have different opinions on the matter, but personally I feel as though most of these books work counter productively towards those who deal with self harm. Why read about someone else’s painful story when you are going through your own? I find it very triggering, and as of present we still do not include trigger warnings in books of any kind. Perhaps this seems like a reach to you, and I can see how, but let me rephrase this. Someone who is seeking help via a book about a character going through similar situations won’t necessarily find solace in a fictional person who is bringing up all of the reader’s repressed emotions and paranoia. Now, I am certain there are books out there that are written wonderfully and truly can help a reader deal with their illness, however I would feel terribly hypocritical to recommend books that I personally have not read to someone who is putting their trust in my hands with an ailment that directly impacts their life.

Although, there is one book that I can safely say will empower you.

Rather, the book of poems by acclaimed feminist and poet, Rupi Kaur, titled Milk and Honey, has a section that deals entirely with healing. So instead of reviewing her book right here (which I have done before: the full review can be found under my review section of the blog), I’m going to paste some of my favorite quotes/ poems created by her.

“stay strong through your pain
grow flowers from it
you have helped me
grow flowers out of mine so
bloom beautifully
dangerously
loudly
bloom softly
however you need
just bloom”

“what is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives”

“if you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise”

“most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
means nothing
this page
where you’re sitting
your degree
your job
the money
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them”

“do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you”

“it was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.”

“the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it -”

“your art
is not about how many people
like your work
your art
is about
if your heart likes your work
if your soul likes your work
it’s about how honest
you are with yourself
and you
must never
trade honesty
for relatability”

“you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow”

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful before I’ve called them intelligent or brave.

I am sorry I made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is all you have to be proud of when you have broken mountains with your wit.

From now on I will say things like you are resilient, or you are extraordinary not because I don’t think you’re beautiful, but because I need you to know you are more than that.”

Slut Shaming in YA Literature

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


In a time where unity sounds more like a fable than a fact, fighting oppression is vital for survival. Two of the most prominent oppressors of our generation are racism and sexism, both of which are constantly being disputed yet still remain an uphill battle. It’s easy to question why nothing has changed when you’ve put such effort into making a difference, but the fact of the matter still stands to reason that each little movement makes up a part of one giant revolt. The minimal things you do to help support equality will carry on to inspire others around you. Which is why I find proper representation in Young Adult literature to be essential for teaching readers how to be accepting and understanding, and to reassure them of their worth in this war-torn world. And while I promise to write another post about the racial inequality in YA, I wan’t to focus firstly on the gender bias that exists.

There is a certain stereotype that in retrospect appears harmless but can cause grave amounts of damage which can be found in plenty of novels, especially ones in the contemporary genre. The so called “mean girl” antagonist that materializes in a book is often depicted as someone who wears a lot of makeup, revealing clothing, lacks intelligence, and is outwardly racist and/or homophobic. However many prototypes of this character exist, they all seem to have the same overlooked trope in common— their reasoning for being antagonistic. From my perspective, it would seem as though they have every right to be hostile towards the main characters, what with the blatant slut shaming these women are facing. Authors tend to use the downfall of one character to elevate the innocence and uniqueness of their main character— and these two are typically the a) high school mean girl vs. b) victimized leading protagonist.

This is incredibly sexist.

slut-shame-3

slut-shame-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without understanding the way in which these authors are portraying their main character, they want to utilize the antagonist’s pain as a way to support the protagonist’s “goodness.” Regularly the bully finds herself in a definitive position where “her strawberry blond hair was combed into low pigtails, and like always, her skin was concealed under half a bottle of foundation. I (*the protagonist) was fairly certain I’d guessed the right amount, since there wasn’t a trace of her freckles in sight (….) There was three-quarters of an inch between the hem of her skirt and the start of her underwear…if she was even wearing any.” The prior is a direct quote from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush young adult series. It was the first introduction of Marcie Millar, a character who is only further slut shamed and then disgraced even after her death.

I would like to first point out that the usage of makeup on any given person does not equate to their beauty or self-worth. The choice of wearing the products is for personal gratification ONLY. If it makes someone feel more confident to conceal a blemish with a remedy, so be it. If it makes someone feel empowering to wear hues of golden eyeshadow, dark lips, and wonderfully painted cheekbones, so be it. If someone feels beautiful without wearing makeup at all but respects that others feel the opposite, so be it. By demonizing a woman because she wears “too much” makeup, or because she dresses a certain way, we are objectifying her character simply because of a choice she made to feel better about herself—one that has nothing to do with anyone else. Using this stereotype in a YA setting, where readers are looking to enjoy the story but also learn from these characters, an author is misguiding their audience into believing that shaming another person because of the way they appear is alright.

It is interesting how the bully becomes the bullied the further you read these stories.

Slut-shaming is an atrocity that can be defeated by speaking out whenever you see or hear it occurring. Let the accuser know why they are in the wrong, and help them see that by degrading another person for the way in which they decide to decorate themselves, they are only hindering their own appearance.

slut-shame

“Many believe that the usage of these derogatory terms online through memes, social media accounts, and music videos all contribute to a rape culture, where women are blamed and men excused in cases of sexual assault or rape.”— Foothill Dragon Press

If you see this happening in any book, I highly encourage you to talk about it. Inform others of what you notice, and respectfully contact the author with your concerns. They most likely wont be able to fix something in a book that has already been published, but they certainly can learn from their mistakes so to not repeat them in the future. Help put an end to girls shaming girls, and we can start to unite women by uplifting one another instead of tearing us down because of how we look.

With that being said, I’ll leave you with this: A secondary character is only as secondary as you let them appear. If they’ve awaken an emotion in you that the protagonist couldn’t, then to you they are the primary. And all characters should be treated carefully, for even though you might not see their importance, someone else will, and any harmful representation can cause vast damage to a reader’s morale.

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

Read this review on GoodReads.
My Rating: 5/5

“She was never a hothouse flower. She is a sturdy oak tree. If her leaves have fallen, then she will bloom again come spring. She was not ready to die when she gave her life to me. But she did anyway, because she loved, and loved deeply.”

I went into this book with high expectations….and those expectations we’re blown away entirely with the magnitude of this story. It was phenomenal. This book truly resonated with me. It’s rustic, atmospheric quality compared with it’s whimsical plot and even more estranged characters made for an epic fantasy like none other I’ve read in a long time. Fans of Uprooted by Naomi Novik will appreciate the eerie personification that nature plays in this tale. What felt like a folkloric retelling but was actually an original, genuine piece of literature, Wintersong follows a young girl as she rediscovers her childhood self through love, responsibility, and sacrifice… all while doing so beneath silt and soil of the Earth.

Nineteen-year-old Innkeeper’s daughter Liesl has grown up in a sleepy village on the boarders between woodlands and Bavaria. While her younger sister is being groomed for marriage, and her brother preparing for an upcoming apprenticeship with a renowned composer, Elisabeth is constantly fussing over the wellbeing and success of her siblings. The only time she allots for herself is to revel in her passion— composing music of her own dark, melancholy nature. As a child, Liesl would roam deep into the Goblin Grove and play for the Goblin King—luring him out from beneath the earth to sing and dance and revel with her. But as time passes, Liesl’s fiery nature fades into the recesses of her soul. She focuses on everyone else around her but herself. It isn’t until her sister, Käthe, is stolen by the Goblin King to be his bride that our protagonist is drawn from her grey stupor and thrown back into the world of spellbinding fantasy. But Elisabeth has known all this time that no fantasy comes without a price, and her childhood adventures with Der Elkönig, The Goblin King, won’t compare to the game she is about to partake in. Elusive, powerful, and ferocious, Wintersong is a book that forces you to read it in two sittings or less.
Jones’s writing style reminds me of early British literature, not because it was hard to follow, but because of how smoothly it all flowed— as if being read like a song rather than a novel. Very fitting, indeed, for a book with a large element of music! Taking place in nineteenth century Bavaria, a lot of the terminology was derived from Germanic languages, which I thought made the setting seem more potent. Don’t worry though, it’s not overused and I found the occasional non-English quotes to be easily understood even though I can only speak English (but am learning a few other languages at the moment. *Props to my bilingual friends! You’re all incredibly talented). Most often the terms Der Elkönig (The Goblin King) and Mein Herr (My King) are used, because we never truly find out the main male protagonist/antagonist’s name until quite late into the story (if at all).

One of the most endearing things about this tale is how Jones offers the heroine’s character development in light of her younger self. She portrays not a protagonist who was once a meek, quant little thing with barely a kindle to a bonfire— rather, Elisabeth was always a bonfire of her own making, and her development resided in remembering how to live carefree and brave like she was as a child; playing her violin for the Goblin King deep in the woods. Jones created a main character who goes through two types of character development: the one where the heroine experiences new things that morph her journey for the better, and the second where the heroine revisits old strengths and embraces what was always within her, molding it into armor. That being said, I found Elisabeth to be a very intriguing and insightful narrator. I was definitely a fan of reading this story through her perspective. (But personally, I’d die to read some of these scenes via Der Elkönig’s perspective!)

There are many aspects that I’m still curious about, but of course we will most likely find those answers in the sequel! For starters, although most of this novel was spent Underground, back in the mortal realm Josef, Elisabeth’s younger brother, is transforming into a famous musician…with a very endearing young man to help compose alongside him. Käthe, their sister, is a peculiar character that I’m still curious about and hope to read more of, because she was vital to our heroine’s adventure so I desire to see her sister’s own journeys in the sequel. And of course, there’s the huge spoiler that shall not be revealed that will invoke plenty of stress and tears once you’ve read the tale to it’s bitter end. I would very much like to see the answers to THAT plot twist. (Side note: painful ending + long wait = sobbing, theorizing, and fanfiction!)

Wintersong will be a book that I always remember. It’s unique in it’s design, and highly imaginative. The way the story made me feel while reading it is an emotion indescribable, but a powerful one nonetheless. I can only hope that at least one other person experiences this tale the way I did—because now I’m craving a walk into the woods whereupon I’ll sadly attempt to play an instrument to lure out my own King of the Goblins. So do yourself a favor and read this book. I will forever recommend it.

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And because I enjoyed this tale so wonderfully, here’s a little soundtrack I’ve composed that made reading it slightly more magical!

SoundCloud link.

Tracklist

no.1  Winter Breath by Adrian Von Ziegler
no.2  Vow by Julianna Barwick
no.3  A Winters Tale by Jeremy Soule
no.4  Winter Rain by Hanan Gobran
no.5  Winter (full) by Antonio Vivaldi
no.6  Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra
no.7  Saturn by Sleeping at Last
no.8  Love by Daughter
no.9 Willow Tree March by The Paper Kites

 

 

Heroine Horoscopes

Find your Zodiac sign to venture towards your next battle— whether it be by wielding an axe, spying on foreign royalty, or tricking creatures as old as the realm with your cunning mind. Zodiac definitions are from Astrology-Zodiac-Signs. Not all heroines are YA. Be adventurous!

AQUARIUS

(n.) Aquarius-born are shy and quiet , but on the other hand they can be eccentric and energetic. However, in both cases, they are deep thinkers and highly intellectual people who love helping others. They are able to see without prejudice, on both sides, which makes them people who can easily solve problems. Although they can easily adapt to the energy that surrounds them, Aquarius-born have a deep need to be some time alone and away from everything, in order to restore power. People born under the Aquarius sign, look at the world as a place full of possibilities.

Elide Lochan was born to the Lord and Lady of Perranth, an heir to a humble territory set against the mountains of a greater kingdom. After the fall of her country, Elide is taken by her corrupt uncle and locked away, left with a crippled ankle and no sunlight or warmth. Upon plotting her escape, Elide finds out she has witch blood in her veins. This revelation causes something to awaken inside the usually quiet girl— a powerful darkness to match her compassion and peaceful attitude. Elide’s only hope is to see her lost queen again, and that loyalty drives her to do things she hadn’t thought herself capable of. Along the adventure, she allies with a morally questionable man who she tricks into believing her to be a shy maiden, not a missionary carrying one of the most dangerous weapons in the whole realm. Elide is crippled and illiterate, and these traits do not undermine her character in the slightest. She is wholly compassionate with a wicked strength for scheming. She is the pretty flower who hides its thorns. Elide, although being a side character, is stronger than most leading roles. Elide Lohan proves that you don’t have to wiled a sword to be a weapon.

  • Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

PISCES

(n.) Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back. Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity. Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

Nina Zenik is a heartrender, capable of manipulating blood and healing fatal wounds, who finds herself amongst a wayward group of outcasts on an impossible heist. She is boisterous and loud, with a quirky love for food (particularly waffle) and an endearing attitude. Her forwardness is what makes her dialogue so intriguing, but so is her charismatic behavior. Nina is vey friendly and loyal, always seeking to help others before helping herself— especially those who need help and justice the most. These traits have caused her to fall in with the dregs of society and make a home within their ranks. She has a nurturing air, one that reveals itself whenever someone close to her is threatened. Fierce and extroverted, Nina’s love is that of unending abundance.

  • Book: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

ARIES

(n.) As the first sign in the zodiac, the presence of Aries almost always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent.They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition. They are always first in everything – from work to social gatherings. Thanks to its ruling planet Mars, Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. People born under the Aries sign, are meant to emphasize the search for answers to personal and metaphysical questions. This is the biggest feature of this incarnation.

Adelina Amouteru, the White Wolf and founder of the Rose Society, had always known she was born to be more than who she was. Her abusive childhood taught her not to trust, and to take action whenever she saw fit. Adelina is cold, calculative, and decisive. Those who have double crossed her will not be forgotten, for the White Wolf is not your average redemption story. Adelina is the grey area between good and evil, a character who slowly declines into a state of antagonism. She is relentless and unapologetic. She is entirely of her own making, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Having only one eye, no home, and a heart full of anger, this heroine is unlike any other written before her. She is symbolic for tragedy, but also should be recognized for her inner strength in facing such events and coming away with a lightened heart. Adelina does what many of us seem to forget when reading these adventurous tales— she focuses on her own well being. And that in itself is something to take pride in.

  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu

TAURUS

(n.) Powerful and reliable, Taurus is the first when it comes to harvesting the fruits of his labor. They love everything that is good and beautiful, and they are often surrounded by material pleasures. People born under the Taurus sign are very sensual and tactile. Touch is extremely important for them, both in business and in romance. Stable and conservative, Taurus is among the most reliable signs of the zodiac. Stubbornness is a trait that is forcing him to expel things to the end, in order to comply with the standards.

Blue Sargent is an aesthetic of her own design. She speaks her mind freely with little remorse or patience for ignorance. She’s quirky, and has moments where she appears vulnerable, but if you get on her bad side she’s quite a force to deal with. Her sass is astounding, as is her huge role as a feminist (and she doesn’t let the other four male protagonists forget that). Blue comes from an incredibly dynamic home of psychics, all of whom have told her that if she were to kiss her true love…he would die. But she doesn’t let this bother her as much as the fact that she cannot see the future as the rest of her family can. She has incredible potential but is lost as to where she should begin her story. In this, I think we can all relate to Blue to some degree. She is stubborn, but relies on her family to help guide her through her struggles. By surrounding herself with empathetic women, Blue in turn is empathetic towards her friends. She uses the caring and considerate nature of her home and reflects it upon her newly acquired friends, who definitely needed her understanding and adventurous attitude to join their circle. Touch is also extremely important to her, for she has limitations for what she can and cannot get to near; mainly being the boy she loves, and the dreams that seem to far away to come true.

  • Book: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

GEMINI

(n.) Expressive and quick-witted, Gemini represents two different sides of personality and you will never be sure with whom you will face. Gemini can be sociable,communicative and ready for fun, while on the other hand it can be very serious, thoughtful, restless and even indecisive.

Alina Starkov undergoes one of the craziest transitions in all of YA heroine history. Growing up an orphan in a tiny village within Ravka, she had no aspirations in life other than becoming a better cartographer for the Second Army. She is a melancholy type of girl, dreary and silent with unlocked potential buried beneath her own fear of a power she subconsciously knows she might posses. After unleashing her unique Sun Summoning powers, Alina is thrust into a war full of folklore and slow-burning vengeance. The Darkling tries to wield her as his own person weapon, but Alina turns the tides of battle once she leaves his stronghold and devises an army of her own. Going from an orphan with no ambitions to Sol Koroleva, the Sun Queen who would defeat the darkness that plagued her realm and stop injustice towards Grisha, Alina Starkov is both sides of a coin. She is unpredictable, which leads her to become a threat to her enemies. She represents the oppressed Grisha as well as those who have become lost within their own splendor. She wants to defeat the Darkling, but she knows that what he stands for isn’t necessarily wrong. In fact, Alina begins to think like her enemy through her own understanding of the war at stake. Her ability to see both sides of the story and sympathize with either has caused her to become stronger than what meet the eye.

  • Book: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

CANCER

(n.) Deeply intuitive and sentimental, Cancer can be one of the most challenging Zodiac signs to get to know. Cancer is very emotional and sensitive, and they care about family and home. Cancer is sympathetic and is very attached to the people who surround him.
People born under the Cancer sign are very loyal and empathetic people, able to empathize with your pain and suffering. Because of the ruling planet the Moon, the many phases of its lunar cycle can deepen Cancers internal mysteries and create fleeting emotional patterns that the sensitive Cancer cannot control, especially when a child. This can show itself as mood swings, selfishness, manipulation and fits of rage. Cancer is quick to help others and avoid conflicts. One of his greatest strengths is persistent determination. Cancer doesn’t have great ambitions, because they are happy and content to have a loving family and tranquil and harmonious home. They often take good care of their co-workers and treat them as family.

Agnieszka, a peasant living in the quant village of Dvernik which borders the deadly, malevolent Wood, is a highly sentimental and empathetic character. Her dearest friend, Kasia, emits strong beauty and bravery―qualities of which the Dragon sees fit enough for a new servant. The Dragon is an immortal wizard who protects the villagers against the dark magic of the Wood, yet each decade he takes the most promising girl to live with and serve him for the next ten years of her life. He des not harm the girls, and each one never returns to their meager lifestyle in the valley once they are put back into the world―instead going off to greater cities pluming wealth and prosperity. Kasia has known since she was a child that she is more than likely to be chosen by the Dragon. Agnieskza has known as well, and the thought of losing her aquatinted-sister is maddening. Until the day of the harvest comes, and the Dragon does not choose Kasia. Agnieskza’s love for her family is what powers her throughout this story. She is deeply intimate and empathetic because she has a connection with nature that can only be explained by her adoration for the unknown. To defeat the trees that come alive and haunt her fellow villagers, this heroine must become part of the forest.

  • Book: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

LEO

(n.) People born under the sign of Leo are natural born leaders. They are dramatic, creative self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist. They can achieve anything they want, whether it’s about work or time spent will family and friends.

Camilla Macaulay is a “bramble rose”, a feature of society that is both disturbingly alive and also something of the past— as if she is a goddess reborn to wreck havoc in an innocent girl’s body. She is often described as such, and is lusted after by many—including her own twin brother. Camilla is a melancholic, tragic character that is so lost within her own misery that she goes along with the dangerous events surrounding her because they bring her closer to feeling awake. She is entirely compelling, and has qualities of a leader. Her looks may be what initially draw you in, but her quick whit and clever mind only further her role as the sensible and strong member of her group.

  • Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

VIRGO

(n.) Virgos are always paying attention to smallest details and their deep sense of humanity makes them one of the most careful signs of the zodiac. Their methodical approach to life ensures that nothing is left to chance. Virgos are often tender but also very careful.

Marya Morevena gives a clear example of what it means to be a well-developed character. She starts her journey as a meek, young girl, the youngest of four sisters, who spends her days staring outside her bedroom window, watching birds fall from trees who then turn into suitors for her siblings. Her cherished red scarf, a sigil of her loyalty to her home, is taken from her after she dares to share her discoveries with the rest of her schoolmates. She grows to hope for little, and dream of more. Sharing her home with refuges of war is only half of her worries, for Marya desires to see the naked world when it is stripped bare. It isn’t until Koschei falls from her tree that her wish is granted. In a setting where each phrase is more like a lyric, paying close attention to detail is vital. Marya has a deep sense of humanity, for how else could she defeat the inhumane being that becomes her future husband?

  • Book: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

LIBRA

(n.) People born under the sign of Libra are peaceful and fair, and they hate being alone. Partnership is very important for Libra -born, and with their victorious mentality and cooperation, they cannot stand to be alone. The Libra is an Air sign, with expressed intellect and a keen mind. They can be inspired by good books, insurmountable discussions and interesting people.

Rebellious princess Mayavati has lived her whole life under the shadow of a horoscope that promises death and destruction through her marriage. Her kingdom befalls upon a crisis that can only be resolved through an arrangement between the princess Maya and her mysterious husband, who hails from a dark realm made of nightmares and folklore. Maya is cunning and uncompromising. She is a profound reader, and from her passion she has the ability to think cognitively about a great many things. This trait has led her to defeat enemies by using quick whit and intelligence. In regards to her position of power, Maya undergoes a transition from a quant royal living amongst secrecy and safety, to a queen of the underworld. In this Indian retelling of Persephone and Hades, you would wish to be wiser than to mess with Mayavati.

  • Book: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

SCORPIO

(n.) Scorpio-born are passionate and assertive people. They are determined and decisive, and will research until they find out the truth. Scorpio is a great leader, always aware of the situation and also features prominently in resourcefulness.

Karou is the apprentice of chimera Brimstone, collecting teeth to create wishes and resurrecting other beings of her kind. She is eccentric and very aware of her surroundings, though the more secrets that are unraveled, the more she becomes intwined with the dangers of her true nature. She rises to the occasion whenever others are feeling defeated, and her assertive nature helps to piece together centuries-old myths.

  • Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

SAGITTARIUS

(n.) Curious and energetic, Sagittarius is one of the biggest travelers among all zodiac signs. Their open mind and philosophical view motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. Sagittarius-born are able to transform their thoughts into concrete actions and they will do anything to achieve their goals. Like the other fire signs, Sagittarius needs to be constantly in touch with the world to experience as much as possible. The ruling planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter, the largest planet of the zodiac. Their enthusiasm has no bounds, and therefore people born under the Sagittarius sign possess a great sense of humor and an intense curiosity. Freedom is their greatest treasure, because only then they can freely travel and explore different cultures and philosophies. Because of their honesty, Sagittarius-born are often impatient and tactless when they need to say or do something, so it’s important to learn to express themselves in a tolerant and socially acceptable way.

Delilah Bard, a thief from Grey London, survives through stealing and lurking in corners her whole life. Yet she is full of wanderlust and dreams of becoming a pirate who travels the uncharted seas and wreck havoc wherever she goes. Her adventurous traits are almost childlike in their enthusiasm, but Lila has always known what she wanted, and so she has always worked towards her goal. She has an open mind, waiting to be fed with knowledge of worlds untouched by others. She would rather “die on an adventure than living standing still.”

  • Book: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

CAPRICORN

(n.) When it comes to professionalism and traditional values, Capricorn is the first. Capricorn is practical and is considered to be the most serious sign of the zodiac, who possess an independence that enables significant progress both on the personal level and in business. As an Earth sign, for a Capricorn there is nothing more important in life than family. Capricorn is a master of self-control and has the potential to be a great leader or manager as long as it is in the sphere of business.

Shahrzad, a young girl having just lost her closest friend, martyrs herself to be the Caliph’s next bride…and next kill. Every dawn brings new death in the realm of Khorasan. A new girl is married to Khalid, the monstrous King of Kings, and by sunrise she is strung up with a cord of silk around her neck. It has been this way for years, and the people live in turmoil and anguish for the loss of so many sisters, daughters, and friends. Shahrzad’s determination and adventurous charisma leads her to wed the Caliph with the hope of finding his weakness and using it to end him. However, neither of them expect his weakness to be her. Shazi is ridden with determination— to seek justice, to find answers, and to abolish the pain that has struck so many beloved of her. Her bravery and strong-wiled actions are what make her one of the most renowned YA heroines ever written.

Book: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh