Right so, if you’ve been a follower of my blog or any of my social media accounts for the last few months, you’d know that I’ve been in the worst reading slump I’ve experienced since I started reading—ever. I could read, honestly I spent most of my reading slump actually reading fanfiction than doing anything else, but I just couldn’t finish a book. Literally, anyone could send me a 200K worded fic and I would be able to get through it in a span of two hours, but send me one book and I’d barely be able to finish it. My Twitter has turned into a full BTS account (I still tweet about books, hah!), and the ARCs I’ve had on my shelves have slowly been gaining dust. So, as I’m typing this now, I’m arranging them out and planning on getting through all of them one by one.
More excitingly though, over the last four months, I’ve been able to intern at not one, but two publishing companies! Last summer, I was able to intern at Hachette Book Group—the house that published Twilight, The Cruel Prince, Jade City, etc, etc—and this time around, I’m an intern at Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing! It’s been an interesting ride so far, and whenever I brought up the idea of my slump to my supervisors and coworkers, they’d nod knowingly and many even told me a lot of people actually get into slumps when they first enter the publishing industry. There’s just something to learn about separating the books you read for work versus the books you read for fun—not to say that you can’t read a book for work for fun, but hopefully some you know what I mean! So if any of you were curious as to what I’ve been up to recently, there you go!
TLDR: Reason for my absence? I’ve entered the publishing world as an intern in the last few months, and I’ve had one of the worst book slumps of my life.
But, the opportunity to get out of that slump presented itself in the form of Disney’s new Maleficent movie. I wasn’t aware that there was gonna be a middle-grade original novel based on Maleficent—let alone that Holly Black was gonna write it—but I knew I loved Holly’s work, and I love the characters of Disney even more. So the night before I was to watch the movie, I laid down in bed and opened the book.
Now, this is a middle-grade novel that assumes you know a lot about the world of Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty already. This definitely picks up from the events of the first film, and it sort of served as a refresher for me since I haven’t seen it since it was in cinemas years ago.
Plot-wise, things moved really quickly. I tend to have a hard time getting through books with slow pacing, but I barely batted an eye with the way Heart of the Moors progressed. Aurora has become the queen of both Perceforest (the land of the humans) and the Moors (the land of the fae), and her plans as her first task as queen is to unite both kingdoms—not that any of her subjects really want to be united as there’s animosity on both sides. Her advisors actively try to sway her against this, and even Maleficent herself is hesitant, but Aurora remains steadfast. After all, she, a human, grew up loving the fae. So why can’t others learn to do so?
What really set apart Heart of the Moors from any retelling I’ve come across is its worldbuilding. Holly has a way of writing in this particular book that really immerses a reader in her world. The descriptions written about the Moors was just breathtaking and as I was reading, I could really visualize myself in place of the characters.
Despite being an enjoyable and original story, I feel like Holly had to noticeably dumb down the content for middle graders. I know it’s a middle-grade novel, but whenever I read MG, I rarely come across the issue where I just felt like the author was holding something back from the story. Maybe it’s because I’m more used to seeing her work with steamier content? The characters felt a little two-dimensional as well, and overall the romance was just……lukewarm I guess. Either way, this novel was a quick and entertaining read, especially to me as a big lover of the film franchise.
Fans of the Maleficent movie will love this book, for sure. I closed the last page when I was about to see the sequel in theatres, and the book itself was at par with the movie in terms of enjoyment for me. Holly definitely made up her own world (which is really impressive given the page count of this book), and if you’re a fan of The Cruel Prince and her other works, you’ll definitely enjoy this as well!
That being said, it’s no surprise that it took the powers of a Disney movie and a Holly Black book to get me out of my reading slump. And while I have had a lot of support from my workplace, I’d love to hear about what you guys usually do to get out of slumps (whether you’ve had one recently or not) as well as book recommendations as I haven’t been up to date with the newer releases! Let me know in the comments what recommendations you have for me!
Title: Heart of the Moors
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Retelling
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
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