Ms. Bardugo, I loved your first books, but I was terribly disappointed to see you give in to political correctness in Ruin & Rising. You had a great story and then you ruined it with unnecessary lesbianism. Authors don't need to make statements, they just need to write good books. I hope you'll remember that in the future.
I was really tempted to ignore this because I don’t believe in giving anon wangs a platform, but the term “unnecessary lesbianism” made me laugh so hard that I caved.
Authors can write good books and make statements. I’m going to make some statements now. (Get ready.)
Queer people and queer relationships aren’t less necessary to narrative than cishet people or relationships. In fact, given the lovely emails and messages I’ve received about Tamar and Nadia (and given the existence of anon wangs like you), I’d say making queer relationships visible in young adult fiction is an excellent—and yes, necessary—idea.
I do agree that story trumps statement or we’d all just write angry pamphlets, but queer people exist both in my world and the world of the Grisha trilogy. I don’t see how including them in my work is making a statement unless that statement is “I won’t willfully ignore or exclude people in order to make a few anon wangs happy.” If that’s the statement I’m making, I’m totally down with it.
Also, I’m going to take this moment to shout out Malinda Lo, Laura Lam, Alex London, David Levithan, Emily Danforth, Emma Trevayne, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Clare, and to link to Malinda’s 2013 guide to LGBT in YA. Because why just give attention to bigots when you can talk about awesome books and authors instead?
Watching Frozen on TV and I’m curious - if Elsa never knew how to melt the ice she made, every time she froze her room, did she have to wait for all the ice to melt? Wouldn’t it flood the room? Did they create an elaborate drainage system? Questions, questions.
"Cassie, as a huge fan, I want to thank you for writing such magnificent books. And…. here’s my question! I read your post in which you explain why Tessa’s relationship with Jem was more than friendship and I’m fascinated by the way you explained and pointed out things so as to make clear that…
Tessa is easily one of the most selfless heroines out there. She loved her friends and family so much, and genuinely devoted to both Jem and Will - how do people think otherwise? Shipping is just saying who you’d like to be together, not misconstruing and fighting over it.
Maggie, I just found reviews of your books on Goodreads, and I was absolutely appalled at the negative reviews, and then slightly pleased I had read them. The people who said you have slow plots were probably looking for the explosions and sex they see on TV. I am happy I read those reviews because I have a more firm argument as to why I love your writing: you create realistic characters with realistic (disguised) problems. Your sentences sing and your words breathe. So, brava. Write on.
First of all, thanks! I’m revoltingly pleased that you like my writing. I know you didn’t ask a question about reviews, but I’m going to answer a question about them anyway, because I have a few related asks in my inbox.
I once heard that writers should ignore one star reviews and five star reviews, because they’re both lies.
I actually think they’re both true. They are the purest, most unchecked reaction to a novel. Right before my first novel came out, I went onto Goodreads and I read both the good and bad reviews for several of my favorite novels. I wanted to remind myself that if my favorite novels to read didn’t appeal to everyone, surely mine that I’d written wouldn’t either. The thing I realized about the one star and five star reviews, though, was that they often said the same thing. The five star would praise the anti-hero narrator; the one star would harpoon the unlikable narrator. The five star would admire the thorough exploration of the mother’s backstory; the one star would ask why the book had to slow for someone as unimportant as the mother character. The five star would praise the energetic pace; the one star would complain that there was no description.
Same book, different tastes. I do think a book can be done badly, sure. But even a book done very well can’t please everyone. And the more specific a book is, the more polarized the reviews are.
I figured out then that my goal isn’t to write a book that everyone likes. It’s to write a book that some people love — which means some people are also going to hate it. The more passionate my reviews get, good and bad, the happier I am.
So even though you didn’t ask a question, I’m going to answer one for aspiring writers: learn to love your reviews of all stripes. Learn how to read them for the true, objective bits, and decide for yourself if those bits match the kind of novel you’re trying to write.
In case you haven’t put it together, fellow Grisha fans following the re-read, I am indeed participating under Tiffany. I’ve only commented in the official S&B reread, fav quotes, and R&R predictions so far. If you want to know all my inner thoughts on the Grisha Trilogy, come joinnnnnn!