Published by Clarion Books on May 14, 2019
Spend the week getting to know SARAH BETH DURST and her books – she is one of my favorite authors and I have been wanting to do this for ages and now I am finally doing it! I will be featuring her books all week and be sure to enter the giveaway daily to win your choice of books by her.
When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.
Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country’s weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.
Mina is not destined for greatness, she is quiet, always does her best and what is right and a very deliberate person. Her whole life has been spent preparing for the time when she gets her own weather beast and can contribute to society, but when her egg finally hatches, no one expected that she would be paired with a lightning beast. Weather is planned in Aloria – a place of bountiful farms and there is no daily struggle with the elements since they are commanded only to be beneficial to society. While Mina is brave, she lacks in being the guardian of a lightning beast, someone who can take charge and be risky.
Mina goes off to school to learn how to work with her beast named Pixel and from the descriptions, he sounds like a very playful puppy with wings who can collect the energy from thunderstorms and store the energy to power the city. Mina does make fast friends at school where they encourage her instead of doubting her ability. Although Pixel and Mina share a bond, it sometimes isn’t enough to do the job they are training for until Mina discovers an ugly secret about the cost of controlling the weather.
This story will have you quickly turning the pages and wanting more about these beasts and how they are trained. But also, there is a cautionary tale about weather change and how you can be brave while not being brash. I got a bit of Golden Compass vibe from this with the action and adventure with underlying distress of how Mina copes with the secrets she discovers. I now want a weather beast but I am sure that one wouldn’t fit in my yard, let alone my house.
Sarah Beth Durst
WriterSarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of eighteen fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Queens of Renthia series, Drink Slay Love, and The Girl Who Could Not Dream. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.
Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She later attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk.
Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat.
- What is on your nightstand?
I keep my favorite paperback books on my nightstand, the ones that I fell in love with as a kid, the ones I reread for comfort, the ones that made me want to be a writer: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, Alanna by Tamora Pierce, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint, Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane, Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Princess Bride by William Goldman…
- What author would you totally fan?
I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to get to know four of my writing heroes: Tamora Pierce, Terry Brooks, Charles de Lint, and Bruce Coville. And I’m very happy to report that all four of them are magnificent people!
As to authors I haven’t met yet… I’d love to meet Jane Austen.
That might be a bit difficult, though.
Ooh, I bet the ghost of Jane Austen would be gloriously snarky. She’d have witty comments about everything and everyone, and I’d be stuck thinking up clever responses at 2am three weeks later.
- What makes you cringe?
Forks scraping on plates, the feel of chalk, and people who don’t use Oxford commas.
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I was watching the Flash not that long ago, and a character called Captain Cold summed up my entire writing process: “There are only four rules you need to remember. Make the plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan.”
I always outline, but I leave myself open to discovery during the writing process. For example, in my Queens of Renthia books (epic fantasy, set in a world full of bloodthirsty nature spirits), there’s an amoral poison-maker named Garnah who didn’t exist in the original outline. She waltzed onstage, started insulting people, and I fell with her. She became an important part of the story.
- Is there a word you love to use?
I don’t know that there’s one particular word, but there is a punctuation mark I adore: the m-dash. I also have a fondness for a well-used semicolon, but the m-dash is such a magnificently versatile and effective punctuation mark — I’d use it in every sentence if I could.
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Your choice of any one book by SARAH BETH DURST
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