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.Oh. My. Goddess.
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."
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!
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!