Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Ripple Trilogy by Cidney Swanson

***I selected this post to be featured on Book Review Blogs.***
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Good Evening, Beardies!

Welcome back to Book Spotlight, wherein I tell you about the books that influence my writing, and sneak in a shameless plug for my all-time favorite reads!

Tonight’s spotlight, The Ripple Trilogy by Cidney Swanson, is proof positive that word-of-mouth marketing is important for writers. I had never heard of this trilogy until my friend and coworker Anna read these books and begged me to get them for the library. This proved difficult, but when Anna interviewed the author for her blog, the day was saved. Three emails later, Cidney Swanson donated a complete set to my library. I’m forever grateful for her generosity and very, very excited to “pay it forward” with a spotlight on these books!

The Premise:
High-school student Sam has always loved water, but when she gets too close to it, it relaxes her so much that she turns invisible. The first time this happens, she’s on a cross-country team field trip and is saved by her running partner, Will. Both Will and Sam are “chameleons;” they have a rare genetic condition called Rippler’s Syndrome, which causes the ability to turn invisible. Will teaches Sam how to control her invisibility and introduces her to his older sister, Mickie. Mickie used to work for a scientist who researched Rippler’s Syndrome, but then the scientist died mysteriously. Lately, both chameleons and the scientists who research Rippler’s Syndrome have been disappearing at an alarming rate, and Will, Sam, and Mickie are soon embroiled in a mystery involving human experimentation and a scientist with a diabolical plot to build a super-race of chameleons and start a second Holocaust.

Gems for Writers:
World-Building. We talk a lot about world-building here at The Bearded Scribe, and Cidney Swanson does a spectacular job of it. She seamlessly incorporates Rippler’s Syndrome and all of its attendant characteristics into a realistic setting, such that the reader begins to forget that Rippler’s is a fictional condition. This makes the idea of exploiting chameleons for their DNA all the more distasteful, which, in turn, lends a sense of urgency to Will and Sam’s quest to foil the villain’s evil plans.

Theme, Not Didacticism. I love a good moral as much as the next person, but only to a point. I have thrown down many books in my life simply because I felt the writer was bludgeoning me with a theme. Take heed, writers: You do not need to force a message into your story—the reader will find it on their own! Luckily, The Ripple Trilogy does not fall into this trap! One of Swanson’s main themes is forgiveness, and it plays out naturally throughout the trilogy, culminating in a tear-jerking, chill-inducing denouement.

Romantic Tension. Good news, Beardies! It is possible to work a romantic thread into a speculative fiction story without the use of the dreaded love triangle! The romance between Will and Sam is beautifully done; the tension between them is caused by a misunderstanding on both their parts and resolved in a way that feels genuine. Best of all, the romantic plot never overshadows the central conflict.


And so, Beardies, we come to the end of another Book Spotlight. I hope you’ll take the time to check out this fabulous trilogy. Also, stay tuned for Joshua’s Author Spotlight with Cidney Swanson! Until next time…

Happy Reading and Happy Scribing!

***Rippler (2011), Chameleon (2011), and Unfurl (2012), by Cidney Swanson, are published by and copyright Williams Press. They are available in stores, online, and from your local public library.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Elizabeth for another great edition of Book Spotlight! I sent this to Cidney so that she could read the wonderful review!


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