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Small Miracles

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Kudos to how Atwater approaches gender fluidity in the novel! As per many interpretations of Angels from a Christian perspective, which denotes them as not being assigned a gender in the way humans can comprehend. Atwater notes in her work, casually, This is NOT a review of that book. Yet unavoidably, there will be comparisons between “Small Miracles” by Atwater, and that seminal work by Gaiman and Pratchett. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes smaller scale stories, warm cozy stories, and some wit with their prose.

Can you tell us anything about any upcoming projects? Or can you tell us a few teasers for your sequel? Just as God created the platypus out of spare parts, Lucifer created the original chihuahua out of spare spite…one would be hard-pressed to find a more concentrated form of evil that the average chihuahua.” Intisar Khanani writes books that were made for me. She wrote Thorn , which is a retelling of The Goose Girl (one of my favourite faerie tales). Her books are young adult in the best sense, in that they follow younger characters as they question authority and grapple with their place in the world. My favourite thing about Intisar’s work is that she often puts her noble characters through an arc where they have to humble themselves, and that’s why I loved Thorn —it was, in some respects, a deconstruction of The Goose Girl . But it’s still a great, enjoyable book on its own merits, and it has this inexplicable spark of loveliness which I’m not sure I can fully explain. You also have a trilogy of Regency faerie tales beginning with Half a Soul . What can you tell us about this trilogy?When I first came up with the idea of Half a Soul , all I knew was that my main character had lost half of her soul, and that this caused her to be far less socially adept. I asked myself how best to set up a conflict around this, and obviously the Regency era seemed like the worst possible time period to be a woman who can’t read social cues. The Regency genre is also similar to classical faerie tales in many respects, with several Cinderella elements to it, so it made for a nice parallel. As soon as I’d decided on the Regency era, I bothered all of my old historical friends and found myself someone with a Regency thesis to consult—and then, the first book basically wrote itself! Gadriel is a fun and interesting character, and a flawed one as you might expect from a fallen angel. At first, I found it weird that everyone took it in stride when one moment he appeared male, then female, without asking questions much, then again, who are we to question how others want to appear? Ultimately, I liked that Holly, her niece and everyone else around them just accepted Gadriel as they are. Which is one of the messages of this book, although probably not the main one. Still. The plot of the novel appears simple and fun, at first glance. Described as eminently unremarkable and plain-looking, Gadriel, the chocolate-loving, gambling-addicted main character, is the Fallen Angel of Petty Temptations. But he/she has “fallen” more over policy violations than any real horrific sin. Atwater sold the English rights of the Regency Faerie Tales to Orbit Books, who re-released all three novels in 2022. [7] That same year, she published Small Miracles, [2] an homage to Good Omens (1990) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. [18] Writing for The New York Times, Olivia Waite recommended the novel, likening it to Pratchett's work. [19] Small Miracles won the eight edition of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. [20] Writing style and technique [ edit ] Atwater was influenced by Terry Pratchett ( pictured).

An uncomplicated plot but with complicated, conflicted characters that were so relatable. Over the years I've either been or met people like the humans in this story. The angels too also reminded me of some non gender specific friends and when I read excerpts of this book to them they too were impressed with the way Atwater smoothly writes of gender fluidity. No showing, no info dumps or "telling" it just was. I quote one paragraph that I particularly liked… The endearing, smart, yet somewhat naive and slightly fumbling and flawed Gadriel was a wonderful main character. Once she finds out she’s out of her depth in provoking Holly to acquiesce to sin, she resorts to something different, but Holly’s intractability also leads to Gadriel and Holly forming a great relationship, as they get to know one another better. While the story delves into substantial themes of love and grief, it does so lightheartedly. There's always a sense of hope that things will turn out okay somehow, though there are times when it exists solely because Gadriel or their angelic bookie, Berachiel are desperately clinging to it. The writing is what I found most impressive. It is so hard to carry this kind of a tone without going too far and overworking and overburdening the prose. I think it’s so ambitious to try and be Good Omens adjacent, but create something unique to you and your voice, and not fall on your face. SPFBO Finalist Interview: Olivia Atwater". fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com. April 6, 2023 . Retrieved September 9, 2023.Also, I just have to note that this book is a whole lot gender. Which ended up in one of my favourite, long-running jokes. (nodnod. So terribly gauche.) Atwater takes slice of life, regular folk’s existence that has more depth than at first realized, combined with playfully misbehaving angels doing petty pranks that turn out to have bigger consequences, compelling themes handled light and very adroitly, brilliant characters, wonderful prose, satire, and that cozy feel that is so popular right now, to spin an absolute delight of a novel. Being set in modern-day London, there isn’t much worldbuilding per se, and a lot of that happens in footnotes. Some might find that insufficient or annoying, personally, I enjoyed the added tidbits and religious references. The second category of footnotes provide a running score update to quantify Gadriel’s successes and failures in de-miserifying Holly’s excessively virtuous existence. For example “+10 Points of Virtue (Holly Harker): Rescuing a Lost Kitten.” One can’t help feeling that Atwater must have had an excel spreadsheet open alongside the manuscript document as the precise accounting of these numbers is both the substance of Gadriel’s challenge and an important plot-point as the story approaches its denouement.

Longshadow". Publishers Weekly. June 3, 2022. Archived from the original on March 5, 2023 . Retrieved March 5, 2023. I don’t know that I’ll ever write a sequel to Small Miracles . I never rule out something like that entirely, in case I’m later inspired to do so—but I had a very specific idea for the book, and I feel as though I’ve already wrapped up that idea nicely. I’m an American and even I noticed some inaccurate British terminology. I just don’t get why this had to be set in London — the story could’ve easily worked in NYC or Toronto. Again: this doesn’t personally bother me but I know it’s a dealbreaker for some folks. It wasn’t egregious but definitely present.As Gadriel digs deeper into the secret of Holly’s virtue, Holly’s teenage niece Ella puts in an appearance and this draws Gadriel into some school based shenanigans. I do enjoy seeing how different authors present the realities of school life, the stresses and squabbles and the staff room politics, and Atwater delivers a credible depiction of a somewhat dysfunctional school, not least in the image of the school disco “The disco was in full swing…The swirling lights highlighted an empty, yawning gap between tables where no one dared to dance.” Gadriel, the fallen angel of petty temptations, is persuaded by her angelic bookie to pay off her gambling debt. No big deal; she has to tempt a sinless mortal, Holly Harker, into sin. Just a little bit, so her cumulative sin metric isn't so low. A piece of chocolate here, a white lie there, done. Only Holly doesn't like chocolate and seems untemptable. Although there is no impending, world-ending disaster lurking in “Small Miracles”– this is considerably lighter fare. But its lightness doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile, intriguing book.

This allows us some of the novel’s best, most light-hearted amusing, and yet tender and poignant moments, as these two characters interact. a b c Abbott, Alana Joli (November 24, 2022). "New Life for Old(er) Books: How Reprints at New Houses Find a Wider Audience". Paste. Archived from the original on November 27, 2022 . Retrieved March 2, 2023. Utz, Judith (June 30, 2022). "Ten Thousand Stitches". Booklist. Archived from the original on March 5, 2023 . Retrieved March 5, 2023. I count myself amongst the fortunate to have discovered Olivia Atwater's work a few short years ago and she remains with each new tale, one of my favorite modern authors. Whether the story is framed in darkness or light, her signature whimsical tone never allows it to drift too far into either direction. The narrative is always fun, even when danger is at hand. Angels… chose a gender for the day, in rather the same way that you or I might choose a shirt or trousers…a b "Acquisition Announcement: Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater". Orbit Books. April 5, 2022. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022 . Retrieved March 2, 2023.

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