For this month’s Riot Roundup, I wore about A Darker Shade of Magic. Short story shorter, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved VE Schwab’s previous novel, Vicious, but even if I hadn’t been familiar with her work, the description of A Darker Shade of Magic definitely would have pulled me in. Magic? Multiple Londons (19th century Londons, no less)? Basically after reading the blurb, this was me:
It got me thinking and I realized that I am, admittedly, a rather predictable creature in this regard. There are certain phrases that will consistently bring out my inner Fry. Any one of them will pique my interest; combine two of them and it’s pretty much a slam-dunk that you are getting my hard-earned dollars. They’re not quite broad enough to be genres, but common enough to be clichés, at least on my bookshelf. So here it is, a (by no means comprehensive) list of phrases almost guaranteed to trigger my “shut-up-take-my-money!” response.
“a pair/group of women must work together…”
I prefer to read books with female protagonists and I am highly allergic to the Exceptional Woman trope (she’s not like all those other girls, she’s special), so I love to read stories about women who must rise to the occasion and nobly join together to … do whatever it is that needs immediate doing in this particular literary universe.
“set in 19th century London”
Like roughly 90% of English-speaking-but-non-UK-born book nerds, I am a shameless and hopeless Anglophile. And is there any more English-y a setting than murky, smoke-and-fog-soaked 19th century London? I think not.
“harbours a dark secret”
I think we can all agree that the absolute best thing one can do with a dark secret is harbour it.
“a modern re-imagining”
I am a person who wrote her Master’s thesis on The Age of Innocence and Gossip Girl, so if there is anything I love more than imagining things it is re-imagining them.
“murder in the English countryside”
Like I said, I’m an Anglophile. I love English people! In fact, I have been lovingly cohabitating/sharing cats with one for several years! But damn if I don’t love to read about them being murdered in a rectory, country manor, or similar (try not to read too much into that one, darling).
Is your publisher pitching your novel as “Romeo and Juliet, but underwater … in space!”? Shut up, you know you already have my money.
“a world of magic”
I never really got over the realization, upon reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at thirteen, that I was two years too late to receive a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. My only consolation is to mentally inhabit magical worlds as much as possible.
I am probably coming off as really bloodthirsty here, but the heart wants what it wants and mine wants stories of lady killers. A million extra “take my money” points if the woman in question is out for REVENGE. I love revenge (seriously, don’t cross me).
So fellow Rioters, what phrases trigger your “shut up and take my money” response?
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