Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Hello, Dear Readers! Happy Tuesday. A few lovely updates about The Night Itself today. Over the weekend a number of lovely things showed up in my Google Alerts or my Twitter feed. Let's start with this picture of The Night Itself in the wild in Malaysia from the lovely Lynn:

So pretty! Cosying up to her sisters FrostFire and Shadows on the Moon, too, aw.

And then! I got this picture of my hot pink precious looking great in a Waterstone's in Amsterdam:

This one was from long-time blog reader and commentor Alex. Thank you, Alex!

But as exciting as these pics are, even they can't quite compare to the news I had on Saturday morning. It initially popped up, as I said, as a Google Alert. A mention of The Night Itself... in The Times? The TIMES? Me? When I looked it up, the article was behind a paywall:

Which predictably sent me frantic because Amanda Craig is a really famous children's books reviewer and I had no idea if this was a good or bad mention, argh, what was happening? It was barely eight in the morning, and I was looking after my father, which meant that I couldn't go charging out in search of a copy of the paper. The suspense was killing me.

I appealed to friends on Twitter and Facebook. Did anyone have a copy of The Times? What did it say? Was it good? Bad? Break it to me gently, please!

Thankfully two lovely friends popped up on Facebook almost immediately. One typed out selected quotes from her paper copy of the review - quotes that made my heart go Ba-THUMP -  while the other went and copied the full review from the online paper that she access to and came back to paste it into the FB thread for me. This is what it said: 
"The Japanese cartoon-style manga, and its gentler, more sophisticated cousin, anime film, continue to exert their fascination over the young teenager. Zoë Marriott, a rising star of fantasy fiction, has taken its tropes for an enjoyable and unusual trilogy, The Name of the Blade, of which The Night Itself is the inception.
Narrated by the half-Japanese Mio, a 15-year-old living in London, it has a magical sword at its heart. A priceless antique katana that once belonged to Mio’s grandfather, it has been hidden away in the attic until she borrows it for a fancy-dress party and releases both its supernatural powers and danger. Trained to fight, our heroine is better placed than many to grapple with the ancient evil unleashed on our capital — but even before she discovers her sword is sentient, she knows she’s brought the “Hidden One” out too soon.
Of course, there is a beautiful Japanese boy involved in it too — something seemingly demanded by all young adult fiction these days — woken from a state of suspended animation and a spirit realm into which she must pass to confront her worst nightmares. There is a sparky best friend, Jack, and Hikaru, their guide who “looks like Neo in The Matrix’s younger brother”, but with the small addition of a tail. When Mio and Jack are transformed into foxes, it’s only one twist in a blend of Japanese folklore and modern adventure that is cool, fast-paced and fun.

Best-known for her prizewinning debut The Swan Kingdom, Marriott is terrific at rebooting fairytales. Her descriptions of the natural world, her literary intelligence and her scared yet courageous heroines are excellent role models in the mould first devised by writers such as Tamora Pierce , make her a katana-cut above the rest."
 Oh. My. Goddess.

My first ever review in The Times, and it was from Amanda Craig, and it was... glowing. More than glowing. Amazing!

You can bet that as soon as my dad had finished his dialysis and safely tucked into his armchair with an omelette and a mug of tea, I hightailed it to the bus-stop and into town to pick up my very own copy of the Saturday Times. When I found one and leafed to the right page to see it for myself, I was so overjoyed that I ended up getting the attention of one of the sales assistants, who came and celebrated with me right there in the shop. Because it was even better than I'd realised. The Night Itself was The Times Children's Book of the Week!

(Note: Mio is actually British born Japanese, rather than half-Japanese, just in case anyone was confused).

So all in all, that was an excellent weekend for me :)

In other news, I'm still hard at work on the Darkness Hidden edits, and am hoping to get those back to my editor this week. I'm also working on yet another post about female characters, Feminism, and the language that people use to talk about girls in fiction, which (surprise surprise) may be controversial. If I can manage to make sense of that, you may see it on Thursday.

Read you later, guys!


Alex Mullarky said...

Children's book of the week! Amazing! And you're very welcome, as soon as I saw it I knew you'd want to know it was there :)))

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Wow, that's great! Congrats!

Zoë Marriott said...

Alex: I can't describe how *satisfying* it is to see your book on a shelf in a real life shop somehwere. You'll find this out for yourself one day. Those pictures are *gold*.

Rebecca: Thanks :) I've got the clipping from the paper framed now!

Anonymous said...

So far I love your book, can hardly bear to put it down - it's dangerous to start reading in the morning, because I'll risk being late for work.

You'll be pleased to know that the review in The Times was much oohed and ahed over in Winchester!

-Hobbit x

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Hob! But please don't let me make you late for work. Just sneak the book in with you (that's what I used to do).

Mulch said...

Hello Miss Marriott, Mulch here. This email has little to do with your actual blog I'm afraid, but I just wanted to drop in a word about your latest book, The name of the Blade, which I finished early this morning after a long haul through the night. :)

I loved it- unsurprisingly. I've been waiting for this book for some time and I wasn't disappointing in the slightest. It was intense, heart-stopping, nail biting, rip-roaring fantasy action at its best- really. I loved every last phrase and syllable.

Mio was wonderfully honest, real and... raw. I think it is that sense of rawness you give each of your characters which draws me into all of your books. The emotions don't feel forced, and a character's faults are used to further the story and better the character- drawn on as strengths instead of weaknesses and it is this simple overcoming of personality traits which really sticks to me as a reader.

Mio wasn't perfect, but that didn't mean she didn't kick butt and take control- becoming a strong, independent female lead like so many of your other female characters I love and respect.

Speaking of which, Jack is my favourite character in this thing. Full. Stop. She's sassy, brutish and wonderfully at home in her own skin.

One of the other things I respect beyond belief about your books is how well you write action sequences- really, how do you do it? I learn so much from every action scene in your books each time I pick one up. It's inspiring.

Now let's see, what does that leave? Oh yes, the Japanese mythology was a wonderful treat, as well as all the references such a bleach and the ring. It was fun to spot what I already knew about and to research the things I didn't. The amount of research you put into this book was delightful in giving it that extra bit of bite.

Lastly, the male leads. Shinobu, and Hikaru. What can I say but swoon?! Loved every minute of book time these two got- they were awesome. (Honorable mention to Rachel too- I thought she was brilliant in the few scenes she had!)

Anyway, I think that sums up everything. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tale, it was a fantastic read and I'm REALLY looking forward to the next installment!

P.S Well done on your mention in the times- you deserve it!

-Mulch :3

Zoë Marriott said...

Mulch: What a thoughtful and lovely comment! I'm very glad that you enjoyed The Night Itself so much - and you've really made my day by taking the time to drop by and let me know your thoughts about it. It's comments like yours that motivate me to keep going. Thank you :)

Isabel said...

Yay, I'm so happy for you about the review!! :)

Rhia said...

Oh, congratulations! Children's Book of the Week - and well deserved, too, you rising star, you.

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: Thank you! I honestly thought I was dreaming at the time :)

Rhia: Thanks. I do hope she's right about the 'rising' bit...

Q said...


...yeah, it's not getting more eloquent than that. :P

Zoë Marriott said...

Q: Heh! That's pretty much the noise I was making for most of Saturday, so you're not alone!

Alessandra said...

Congratulations. I just ordered your book and hope I get it soon :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Alessandra: Thank you! I really hope the book arrives safely and soon - and that you enjoy it :)

Primrose Musings said...

Hi, Zoe! Another fan from Malaysia here. I love your book and it truly deserved that glowing review!

Zoë Marriott said...

Primose: lovely to read you! I had no idea the book was even available in Malaysia (publishers don't really tell us anything), so to find out there are also Dear Readers there is pretty amazing. Thank you very much :)

April C Rose said...

That's just fantastic, Zoe. Glad to see TNI is getting the exposure you deserve!

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, April :)

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