Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rebel Elements by Jasmine Giacomo... and her Top Ten Favorite Character Injuries!

On Tour with Red Adept Publishing...

Rebel Elements
by Jasmine Giacomo

Bayan's struggles to hide his emerging elemental magic from his family fail spectacularly in front of a visiting imperial eunuch named Philo, and he realizes that there is a worse fate than becoming a mountain-dwelling Skycaller: the empire will claim him as a Duelist.

Before Philo can deliver Bayan to the Duelist Academy for training, bandits ambush their retinue and leave behind a mysterious trinket. While Philo tracks down its true importance through ancient archives and noble manors, Bayan struggles to fit in at the Academy, where his anger at his situation gets him into as much trouble as his outlander appearance. Worse, his rage poisons his magic, making him a threat to his hexmates.

Bayan's dreams of escape begin to fade as he forms bonds of friendship. But when an assassin strikes close to home, a chain of events is set in motion, leading Bayan and Philo to uncover a deadly plot that could change the world as they know it. Bayan's fate stands at a crossroads: one path leads to the destruction of all he has come to know, and the other to his own

I'm a sucker for a cover and premise that includes assassins and a duelist. I don't know what else to say about how I ended up inviting Jasmine Giacomo to Colorimetry for a Guest Post... but after this moment, after this post... she has a new raving fan here. If her writing is anything remotely like this... or like her Facebook... or blog... or bio... OMG, you have GOT to go read her BIO!!  I am addicted to her writing and I haven't even read her book. 

Yes... that's the point of having authors visit when I can't read all the books I want to, but... I am totally caught of guard. Enough of my blather... it's time for... quite the treat from Jasmine Giacomo... 

That’s Gotta Hurt!

I read a lot of fantasy, and I just love finding new series to lose myself in. Epic worlds, hundreds of named characters, eons of history, powerful magic—it’s all good. But epic fantasy takes place on other planets full of new words we don’t actually use. Why do we love fantasy so much, when it’s so different from our own lives?

Well, aside from that difference being part of the appeal, we love meeting new people (for a given definition of “person”). Most fantasy characters are at least somewhat human, on some level. Their behavior, motivation, and conflicts draw us in. We love to see them overcome formidable obstacles and achieve the impossible. But it can’t be too easy. We like to know that they worked hard for their goals, just like we have to. We want to see them bleed for it.

Without further ado, my personal top ten favorite character injuries (for a given value of “injury”).

Spoilers much. You’ve been warned.

10. Raistlin Majere nearly dies at birth (Dragonlance)

Raistlin affects the past, present, and future of Krynn, yet he was the sickly twin and nearly died due to his failure to thrive. Only the determined efforts of his half-sister, Kitiara, saved his life. Through her actions, the world of Krynn became a very different place, and the flow of history became what it was, instead of what it might have been. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing.

9. The Witch-King stabs Frodo on Weathertop (Lord of the Rings)

We’ve probably all seen this scene in Peter Jackson’s movie. In the books, Frodo isn’t stabbed in the actual Tower of Amon Sûl, but in a nearby dell. It’s definitely more dramatic getting attacked in an ancient ruin, though, don’t you agree? I know I’d rather be stabbed in a ruin than in some random meadow. Anyway, Frodo’s gravely injured, and because of that, the elves get to be in the story too! Makes you wonder if Elrond was behind it all somehow… never trust a pointy-ear, amirite?

8. Meena spends weeks being digested (Immortality Archive)

Immortality is such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can never die (barring specific circumstances that vary depending on the world in question). On the other hand, however, this is fantasy, a genre with plenty of fates worse than death. Meena, the immortal in my first fantasy series, has had her share of squicky encounters in the past. In her latest adventure, she’s stuck with a pretty unpleasant dilemma, and getting eaten by a sea monster is the better option. Somehow.

7. Dumbledore’s curse-damaged hand (Harry Potter)

Speaking of immortality, Voldemort is pretty adept at not dying when he’s supposed to. Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, knows he needs to help Harry put a stop to that nonsense so the talented teen can end the Dark Lord once and for all. Enter horcruxes, little pieces of Voldy’s soul attached to various objects and scattered around the world. Holy MacGuffins, Batman! One of these horcruxes bears a killing curse that will launch itself at anyone who tries to destroy it, and while Harry’s off worrying about kissing Ginny, Dumbledore is busy learning that he’s not quite as fast as he used to be. The curse doesn’t immediately kill the powerful wizard, but throughout book six in the series, it’s doing its darnedest to finish the job. Fortunately or not, Severus Snape beats it to the punch (spell?). The fact that none of this is revealed to Harry until book seven, whereupon it changes pretty much everything Harry was thinking in regards to Professor Snape, is one of my favorite twists in this whole series. And Dumbledore had a hand in it.

6. Mat Cauthon is hanged by the Aelfinn (Wheel of Time)

Rand has two stab wounds that never heal, and a Forsaken blew his hand off. But Mat makes my list because he was my favorite WoT character all along, and Rand just couldn’t compete with his awesomeness. I love clever characters. They never want to do what they’re told. Mat gets dragged kicking and screaming into saving the world, and I loved every minute of it. When the Aelfinn tell him his fate and hang him from Avendesora’s branches for his trouble, Mat gains a favorite new weapon, a head full of memories, and yet another event he wants desperately to avoid: marriage. The man’s a hoot a minute, but because he’s suffered scarring and death, he gains true depth, and he becomes more tightly bound to the plot than ever.

5. The Fool is frozen and flayed (Tawny Man)

I love the Fool in Robin Hobb’s world. Burrich is the dark sides of both my grandfathers, and Fitz is everyone’s punching bag, but the Fool is pure glorious awesome. He’s the wizard. He knows everything, he always has a plan, and he’s never at a loss. Until the Pale Woman gets a hold of him. See, I hate being cold. My hands ache after just a few seconds in cold water, and I practically collect warm fuzzy blankets. So when the Pale Woman froze the Fool onto the wall of her ice chamber so he had to watch as she tried to seduce Fitz, I nearly had a herd of cows. Later, she flays a giant tattoo off his back and freezes it to the ice floor. I need a list of Top Ten Fantasy Villains That Creep Me Out, because this ice woman will definitely make the cut. As it were.

4. Catelyn Stark, mombie extraordinaire (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Remember when I said some fates are worse than death? Yeah, Catelyn Stark’s sure seems like one of them. The Creepy Level of her fate is only just beginning when she gets her throat cut and her body dumped into the river. Beric Dondarrion resurrects her—and in the process, gives up on his own hope of more resurrections, which tend to leave him looking pretty ragged, so I don’t really blame him—but the magic can’t completely reconstitute Catelyn’s body. She’s a drowned corpse walking. Can we get the Walking Dead to cast her among the walkers in every episode, like Psych has a pineapple hidden somewhere? Spot Catelyn, win an iPod! Her character completely changes, too, and she joins, albeit by a roundabout journey, the series’ anti-hero collection.

3. Elric of Melniboné is stabbed by his own sword (The Elric Saga)

I first read the Elric books more than two decades ago, but I can still remember my OMG reaction when I got to the end of Stormbringer and saw the rune-decorated black sword ruin everything by slaying its master. Talk about a buzzkill! Elric is the classic anti-hero, yet he still manages to bring about a new world in perfect balance. For about three seconds. Then he gets shafted, big time. But no worries, it always kind of sucked to be Elric.

2. Kelsier becomes a legend (Mistborn)

It’s hard to go wrong with a sacrifice by a major character, but Kelsier always did have that flair for the dramatic. When he seems to die by cranial concavity at the hands of the Lord Ruler, then pops up shortly thereafter perfectly healed, just hanging out and getting seen, a sudden movement among the downtrodden people in the Final Empire threatens dangerous change. Just like he planned. I was sad to see that Kelsier actually had to die to pull off his scheme. But at the same time, I was impressed by his ability to think outside the kill box. Besides, if you can’t establish new tales and create new legends in your epic fantasy series, then you’re just doing it wrong.

1. Cazaril owes three deaths (The Curse of Chalion)

Cazaril is my hands-down favorite character in fantasy fiction. He is flawed and broken and cursed with the attention of the gods, yet he’s kind of forgotten how to give up by this point in his life. His broken body and spirit make him seem all the more stalwart when he learns he has to die three times to break a curse on the royal family. How’s he gonna manage that? Well, it’s gonna hurt, that’s how. But he’s been hurting all along; Caz was a galley slave, and his back is already full of scar-tissue adhesions that pop free and throw him into agony. The world he lives in also mesmerizes me, with its historical inspiration, and Caz is a cracked mirror reflecting its awesome. He’s a scholar, a warrior, an ascetic, a wanderer. He laughs in terror and weeps with joy. He is so very human, because of all his suffering. And that is why I love him.

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Jasmine Giacomo writes from Washington State, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a Bichon Frisé named Eddie. She graduated last millennium with a B.A. in English Literature from a college built atop a volcano. 

Though she's been writing since the age of four, she also enjoys geocaching, history, natural science and games, and holds a black belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. She particularly enjoys reading and writing fight scenes.

Her current writing project is PRODIGAL STEELWIELDER, book three in the SEALS OF THE DUELISTS series.

Blog - Worlds of Jasmine * Website *  Facebook

Jasmine, you are welcome on Colorimetry any time. Mi casa es su casa. I love your sense of humor... your creativity... your command of language... THANK YOU for visiting!! I cannot wait to read your book!