Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Demon Moon (I know, everybody is already on Demon Night)
Author: Meljean Brook
Spoiler level: medium
One of the most enchanting things about a Meljean Brook book is how the story isn’t told so much as it accumulates weight. Events move chronologically across an increasingly rich terrain of emotional truths and past events.
It’s so pleasurable, and I think it shows that Meljean Brook trusts her reader. And the reader comes to trust her. You don’t always get the full sense of what’s happening or why, but you come to know you will.
A great example of this is “What happened in Caelum,” a central event in Demon Moon that happens offstage. The pieces come together in slowly.
Now, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill slow backstory reveal, which usually annoys the living daylights out of me, because it usually feels like an author is withholding facts to increase tension. I don’t like to be toyed with, particularly not with a dramatic device.
Meljean Brook is up to something entirely different. It’s as if the forward motion of the text washes up little bits of the submerged past events and emotional truths - washes them up onto the shore. The little bits might include, oh, Colin or Savi’s intense reaction to a painting, or here’s an echo of a feeling, or a haunting visual. Another bit may be the way Colin insults Savi, or an un-inspected motivation that Savi maybe sees too late. It’s like sunken realities drive and interact with the forward events, but they also form their own story.
And the wonderful thing is that even after you get the ‘story,’ in this example, the story of what happened in Caelum, the fragments continue to wash up, intensifying the forward motion.
Here I am analyzing it, but I don’t actually see it as a technique another author could adopt, because it seems to grow naturally out of MB's fantastically complex understanding of her own characters and scenarios. And I think, a little bit of magic is in there, too.
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