While most Kindle Unlimited authors are independent authors, there are a lot of wonderful traditionally published writers too. Susan Ee is another example of an author publishing through one of Amazon’s publishers and working with the Kindle Unlimited system to create a maximum audience.
Susan Ee’s work is marketed to young adults but the horror elements combined with griping story beats entertain all ages. The story told in the Angelfall series isn’t unique. I’ve read variations. The beats didn’t surprise me as they may have surprised the younger audience. But Ee creates full fledged characters readers can invest in. Even if we know the story, we don’t know how these characters will handle it, and that’s what will keep adult readers engaged.
Take Aways from Susan Ee’s Success:
1. Dark horror and the grotesque is for young adults too. Ee’s books do not hold back in exploring the darkness in humanity. She pushes body horror and explores all the ways people can be used. Neither the “good guys” nor the “bad guys” flinch from acting in inhuman ways. If “Angelfall” was a show or a movie series, I don’t know how it could get around an R rating.
2. Creating relatable personalities and rounded characters is more than good writing, it will broadens a novel’s appeal. Don’t shy away from differently abled characters either. Much of the story’s conflicts come from the characters’ physical and mental disabilities and how that impacts them.
3. This a great example of a book series with a strong first book but better follow-ups. Ee never faltered in her vision for “Angelfall” (or is she did, it doesn’t show in the final products). Writer’s fatigue or a series decline in quality is not a constant fact of life! The direction, pacing, and sense of stakes remains strong in each of Ee’s books.
Looking for other great Kindle Unlimited Series? Check out our earlier write up on Amy A. Bartol, Sara C. Roethle, T. A. White, Charlie N. Holmberg, and Meg Elison.
2018 was a wonderful reading year. I beat my goal of 36 books by about 10. 17 of these books were nonfiction and not eligible to make this list. Out of 30 books, these are the top five fiction reads. Starting from least favorite to most treasured read. For an in-depth look at my 2018 reading check out Books Read in 2018.
5. Traitorborn– Has everything I like about “Hunger Games” in it but tells the story in a fresh, compelling way. My favorite aspect of this series is that there are not “good” characters (at least from my perspective). Most of the characters, our hero included, have a piece of the solution for their dystopian society and they are also holding on to part of the problem. It’s refreshing to have a complex group of characters I can empathize with some times and despise other times. Where so much conversations happening around me are polarizing, it’s nice to read a book that reaches for full open conversation and understanding, without surrendering one’s agency. For more on this series check out my Kindle Unlimited post.
4.Dragon Ridden– Don’t let the cover fool you, this was just fun and well written. There isn’t any messaging in it, it’s just an immersive fantasy read and sometimes that’s enough. Pure escapism, a well-developed fantasy world distinct from earth, and a cast of well-rounded characters. It’s enough. For more on this series check out my Kindle Unlimited post.
3. End of Days– Dark, thoughtful work with a great balance of action and tense “waiting”. Left me wondering about the conclusion all the way to the end and it leaves just the right amount open ambiguity to make me think about it for days afterward but still find satisfaction with the close given to us. I’m sorry “Traitorborn” is on its second book while “End of Days” is a complete series because I think if I could compare the conclusions of both books, it may flip their positions on this list. Still both books are wonderful. Sold to young adults but they hold positives for all age groups.
2. Card of Chaos– Complex, excellent execution, everything I look for in the retelling of classic fairytale/folklore. It begins with humor and ends in affection. I like how the author draws the reader in and connects us with this strange if familiar world. Loved the beautiful scenes, the deep philosophy and the language. It may be my second favorite book of the year, but it’s my first recommendation to others.
1.The Book of Etta– Enjoyed every second. I know this is a polarizing book because it explores gender roles, what gender is, and whether sex and gender can be two separate things. The beauty of this book: it can explore the internal struggle being genderqueer/trans/gay/bi ect often brings and ignore all the political bullshit that’s happening in our own world. Here we can enjoy a human vs self moment. We can see all the factors in the book which exacerbate the struggle and rail against them without hating our own culture. Sometimes the call to action in a book can cut short a person’s thoughtful introspection, but The Book of Etta lacks this baggage and I’m beyond grateful. Where the first book took a premise, I didn’t feel was true but expounded on it in a way that pushed me to read on, Etta felt right from the first words. I knew Etta, I’d been Etta, and I sometimes still am Etta. I knew Flora and have been her too. Heck, there was a part of me that felt like I’d been Alma before and that I knew her. The beauty of this book is that it allowed me to feel and it allowed me to celebrate so many aspects of who I am as a person. Everyone will have a different time reading it. But, it’s the jewel of my 2018 reading list.
Happy New Year! What were your five favorite reads of 2018? Was your reading list similar? Do you have any recommendations for me? What are your reading goals for 2019?