Friday, July 26, 2019

Books I'd Give to My Characters

Hey'a, everyone! There's just a week and a half left before Mechanical Heart's release day! I'm both excited and nervous, especially since I still have stuff to prep for the blog tour. (Prewriting blog posts kind of slowed down when Camp NaNo hit, for obvious reasons.) Anyway, for today's Friday 5s post, I thought I'd borrow an idea from my friend Emma over at Awkwordly Emma. In the past, she's periodically done "Books I'd Give to Characters from X" posts. I'm putting a little bit of a twist on it, though: the characters I'm giving books to are the main cast of Mechanical Heart! Granted, this could be a little tricky since, out of the four main characters, only one (Grace) is a really big fiction reader . . . but I'm up for the challenge, and I think it'll be a good way to let y'all get to know them a little before their story comes out. To that end, we've also got character art by the wonderful H.S.J. Williams here, which I'm super excited to share with y'all. So, let's get started!

Books I'd Give to the Mechanical Heart Characters

1. For Breen: the Illuminae trilogy. Breen is the trickiest of these characters to pick something for. She has the least formal education out of any of the characters (one of several unfortunate side effect of being stuck in a clock tower for half your life), but she's clever enough that that might not stop her from reading whatever she chooses. She has more time on her hands than some characters (though not as much as some Rapunzels in other stories), but when given the choice between a book and her inventions, she'll probably pick the latter. In the end, I've decided to give her the Illuminae trilogy (along with some kind of primer on common elements of sci-fi, like, y'know, space ships and wormholes and aliens and stuff, seeing as that sort of thing hasn't been thought of in her era). It would give her a fairly sizable escape from her ordinary life (what's further from a clocktower than a spaceship?), and the format is such that she could easily read as much or as little as she wanted to. Plus, she'd find the technology fascinating, even if it is advanced super far beyond anything she's familiar with.

2. For Josiah: the first Mistborn trilogy. Josiah's first reaction to the Mistborn trilogy would be "In what world do I have time to read 1,800 pages of fiction?" But once he tried it — probably at least partially in audiobook form; he very much prefers listening to things to reading them — he'd see quite a lot of his culture and its issues in those of Luthadel, and he'd see himself in Elend in many respects. In addition, he would appreciate the philosophical issues that the characters work through over the course of the book. And while he might not be fully on board with the methods of Kelsier and his crew, he can recognize and enjoy them as well-developed characters.

3. For Luis: The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Luis, like Breen, will almost always pick his inventions over a book — not that he dislikes reading, but he has so many ideas and so little time to make them in that there's just no question of priority. And while he would probably enjoy the Illuminae trilogy as much as Breen would, he would probably also enjoy a good mystery — ideally, one that's short and sweet, based in logic, and wrapped up nicely at the end. And if it features a highly satisfying friendship between the main characters, all the better. So, yeah. He's getting The Complete Sherlock Holmes — because you can't go wrong with a classic. (He almost got the Knight and Rogue series, but I think certain elements of Fisk and Michael's friendship might hit just a little too close to home for him for that series to actually be a stress-reliever.)

4. For Grace: Howl's Moving Castle and sequels. Grace is the biggest reader out of the Mechanical Heart cast. She's not particular about genre, or even if it's fiction or nonfiction; she just wants something that's interesting and well-written and has good characters and that she can talk about with people when she's done. (Honestly, it's hard to say if she enjoys reading the book or talking about it afterwards more.) That means the challenge with her isn't so much thinking of a book she would like but rather figuring out which book she would enjoy most. So, what book do you give to the girl who loves everything and, in a sense, has everything? For a girl who's read everything she could and is constantly searching for something unique? For a girl whose world includes magic, but has a notable lack of wizards? When you put it like that, the answer's clear: Howl's Moving Castle and sequels. Because when in doubt, Diana Wynne Jones is almost always the answer, and if you haven't yet met Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer, what are you doing with your life? (And before you think less of me or Grace for the fact that she got Howl while everyone else got heavy books: Grace will absolutely borrow everyone else's books the minute they're done with them, so she's kind of getting all the books here.)

5. For all four characters: Illusionarium. Illusionarium was one of the first steampunk books I read, and while it didn't outright inform any elements of Mechanical Heart, it did inspire me in part to write my own steampunk novel. So, in a sense, by reading this, Breen, Josiah, Luis, and Grace are discovering a part of where they came from — not that they'd know that. But I suspect that most of them would enjoy the story anyway.

What about you? What books would you give to your characters? And what impressions do you get of the Mechanical Heart cast based on what you see here? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

P.S. Please let me know if all the images are or aren't showing up — my internet is being wonkier than usual today. Thanks!


  1. I love that you did a twist on my annual Christmas post!

    1. Thanks! Glad you don't mind and that you enjoyed it!


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