Monday, December 24, 2007

Characters and taste

Great moments from last night's reading
Book: Demon Angel
Author: Meljean Brook
Page: 160
Spoiler level: medium

Okay, I’m almost halfway through Demon Angel and SO enjoying it - it rises well above most books I’ve read lately, in genre and ordinary literature. I see now why everybody loves it. The big fun is the interplay between characters, especially Lilith and Hugh, and Lilith and Colin. It just sizzles and crackles!

But the enjoyable moment I want to talk about from last night is sort of small. It was getting insight into Hugh’s character and current circumstances through his aesthetic sense, specifically his décor, shown here through Lilith’s eyes: dark wood, thick rug, “everything here was uncluttered, minimalist. She would have thought it sterile if not for the colors...” which are warm and rich and bright. And then, “apparently he abhorred white.” Hugh, with his heavenly heritage and pedigree stretching back to antiquity, goes for a contemporary and warm decoration scheme, which is quite at odds from what he is, or at least has been most of his life. In this way, the décor went beyond making sense for Hugh's personality, it actually went to the plot. It characterizes him, and at the same time, suggests his unease with aspects of himself, something that’s becoming evident elsewhere. And Lilith, of course, notices his preferences because she loves him. Oh, the pathos!

I love hearing about characters' artistic sensibilities. Laurel K. Hamilton was great at this, too. I’ll never forget Jean Claude’s decorating schemes, or the time he sent Anita Blake a bunch of roses after she was hurt, and they were all white except one red one. And then Richard, who’s way more a wildflower guy, sees them and could not be more full of derision. I don’t have this example on hand, but I recall Nalini Singh put a lot of thought into the décor Lucas chose for his werewolfy treehouse-like home.


lisabea said...

I'm so glad that you are enjoying Hugh and Lilith. There is a reason we all squee like little girls about Meljean. She's such a great new (to me) voice. And she's wicked smart and brings her background love of comic books...Wait until you read Demon Moon.

Merry Christmas CJ. Off to church now!

Holly said...

I'm with lisabea about Demon Moon. Such a fabulous book.

What a wonderful observation about his decor. I had a similar thought when I read the novel, but completely forgot about it. I love the small characterizations that show more about the depth of the person than just an internal (or external) monologue might.

Christine said...

Hi Carolyn!
I'm a big fan of Meljean, too! She has incredible writing talent and your observation is a perfect example of how well and deeply she develops her characters and the world they live in.

I love Demon Moon, too! Colin and Savitri's characters are wonderfully developed there as well!

Happy Reading! :)