Twelve Kingdoms series, The Tears of the Rose, their highest possible review rating of a Top Pick GOLD.
Still in shock, frankly.
Especially since the first book, The Mark of the Tala, received their Seal of Excellence earlier this year for a compelling book that pushes genre boundaries. It's a neurotic writer thing, but when great things like that happen, we always figure the next book will fail to measure up. Alas.
The question of genre has long interested me, not only because my books "push genre boundaries" - a nice way of saying people are sometimes unsure how to categorize them- but because genre categories have such a profound influence on writers, readers, booksellers, librarians and so on.
Quite remarkable for what is essentially a false construct.
Something ably demonstrated by the movie Cloud Atlas. I finally got around to streaming this movie the other night and found it utterly brilliant. It's a complex movie requiring close attention, that tells six interweaving stories from different time periods. The spoiler-filled full synopsis is here. The shorter, vaguer one is:
Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the
Pacific; letters from a composer to his lover; a thriller about a murder
at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a
rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in
post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.
What's fascinating is to break these six stories into genre categories. I checked the genre classifications for the movies each story thread most reminded me of. They'd come out as:
1. an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the
Pacific - Action, Adventure
2. letters from a composer to his lover - Historical, Romance
3. thriller about a murder
at a nuclear power plant - Thriller, Mystery
4. a farce about a publisher in a nursing home - Comedy, Drama
rebellious clone in futuristic Korea - Science Fiction, Action
6. the tale of a tribe living in
post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future - Post-Apocalyptic, Adventure
So what genre is this movie? Well, they settled on the very neutral "Drama" and threw in a "Science Fiction" secondary genre. Likely as a warning. The book is categorized on Amazon as Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction and Fantasy. Quite the hodgepodge.
Of course, not every story is this complex or difficult to define. However, I think it provides an interesting case study that shows genre really is a semi-arbitrary classification system. I'm particularly fascinated that the genre drifted so much from book to movie.
Any other examples you can think of where that's happened?