Friday, February 12, 2010

Endless Possibilities

There are very few real perks to being a pro writer, but one of the ones I love and covet most is to see another, seriously talented writer's book evolve. The road from from first draft to final edition is seldom traveled by anyone but the author and their editor, but often it's where you can learn the most about editing, revising and improving your own post-manuscript skills. It's a bit like being a spotter at the Olympics; you get to see all the hard work, preparation and practice runs that happen behind the scenes before the big event.

This is why a couple of years ago I jumped at the chance to follow the journey of The Endless Forest, Sara Donati's final novel in her Wilderness series. At the time I had not read any of the previous books in the series, so I was able to offer the perspective of a new reader. It was also an opportunity for me to see how another series author wrapped up a much-loved and complex story, something that at the time I really needed as I was also working on my final StarDoc book, Dream Called Time.

The whole experience was a delight from start to finish, and I probably learned more than I would have spending a year at university. I'm also happy to report that it's a great book to start with even if you haven't read any of the other Wilderness novels, although I will warn you, by the time you finish you'll want to have the rest of them. Because this is a final novel I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the book isn't really about endings; it's about new love, time and people coming full-circle, and the endurance and strength of family. The story reminds us that whatever happens in the here and now, some things are eternal. I don't think there is a finer way to arrive at the finish line than with the grace, style and satisfaction you'll find in The Endless Forest.

But as always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, name the final book in any series that you really enjoyed (or if you can't think of one, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Sunday, February 14, 2010. I'll draw four names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned hardcover copy of The Endless Forest by Sara Donati. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

42 comments:

  1. Fool's Fate, by Robin Hobb. Culmination of her Farseer & Tawny Man trilogies.

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  2. I could be a suckup and list one of yours, but the truth is I discovered you late and am still working my way through. Gotta say, I'm jealous of your experience with The Endless Forest. I've loved this series from the first. What a privilege to watch the shaping of this book!

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  3. Snowblind by Lori Armstrong really tied up the series well, resolving a lot of things and still leaving a sense of possibility for the characters ahead. A strong series ending has to be tough to write.

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  4. Actually, I'm in the middle of rereading a trilogy whose final book has yet to be written (14 years and pending). The day Melanie Rawn finishes writing The Captal's Tower for her Exiles trilogy will be the day fantasy lovers run into the streets screaming with unparalleled joy.

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  5. Harry Potter's final book JK Rowling

    ki mi ka io @yahoo.com (no spaces)

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  6. Gotta mention Harry Potter 7.. loved that book and I couldn't even imagine how daunting wrapping up that story would be.

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  7. Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman. End of His Dark Materials. Amazing series, amazing book.

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  8. I don't usually read books that are a part of a series...so the only one I can think of at the moment is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

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  9. I love reading series's. I never want any of them to end. I couldn't pick just one.

    Flash 55 - Priorities

    Flash 55 - So Sorry

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  10. Dead Water by Barbara Hambly. I loved the way she ended her series about Benjamin January. However... it turns out that she has now written two more books with Benjamin, even though they are only currently being published in the U.K.

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  11. Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon. I hadn't read a sci-fi series since I was 12, so I was hesitant going into the series, but it was amazing.

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  12. Final book series favorite? Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy.

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  13. While it's no longer actually the end of the series I have to put Anne Bishop's Queen of the Darkness on the list. It's the last book in the original Black Jewels trilogy which is one of my all time favorites for dark fantasy.
    The night that I finished the first book Daughter of the Blood I briefly debated whether I could wait for the library to come through with the next two and then planned a bookstore run for the next day. I bought all three without hesitation.

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  14. I'm the kind of person who doesn't want things I enjoy to end. So, in my head, even the last book in a series isn't 'the end'. I try to imagine what goes on beyond. Rowling wrapped up HP nicely by giving a glimpse of the beyond, but I still miss the stories, ya know?

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  15. Kristen S.10:08 AM

    I started The Night Angel series this week (my hubby and boy said I should read it because it sounded like my kind of book) and oh my, I can't wait to get the other two books to see how it ends.

    Just love discovering new to me authors.

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  16. Dennis Lehane's Prayers for Rain in his 5-book series that included the heartbreaker, Gone, Baby, Gone.

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  17. What a great giveaway. A series that I continue to enjoy greatly and hope lasts forever is the Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear which I love.

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  18. Keita Haruka10:51 AM

    "Mistress of the Empire" by Janny Wurtz and Raymond E. Feist. It was the first fantasy book I ever read...and it pretty much sealed my fate. :P It got me into reading fantasy, and also into writing it. It had the same horizon expanding effect on me that your first vampire novel had.

    It was so strange, reading the first two after completing the last. Not only were mainstay characters i expected to find not there...but some that were mentioned in fond rememberance in Misteress was still alive. Most of all, it was shocking to see just how much Mara of the Acoma changed over the span of the story and how she came to the beliefs she held. Just as good was the evolution of the supporting cast. Arakasi the spymaster was especially interesting. It was also one of the most original fantasy stories because it deviated a lot from the established Tolkienesque themes of fantasy.

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  19. There are so many series I have loved all the way through. (or most of the way)-- including series by Linda Howard, Marilyn Pappano, Loree Lough, Diana Gabaldon, Dee Henderson, Robin Jones Gunn, Karen Kingsbury, Mary Jo Putney. . . I can't name just one : )

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  20. I loved the last book in the Malloreon, by David and Leigh Eddings. Also, I loved the ElfQuest comics/graphic novels back in the day (Wendy & Richard Pini) and when they finished up the original series it was done in a really great way. I know there are more but my mind is blanking out on me at the moment!

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  21. I gotta second Shawna's pick of "Fool's Fate" by Robin Hobb.

    Also up there, Karen Traviss' "Judge," the end of her Wess'Har wars series.

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  22. I've read Donati's series and just love it; this book will be amazing I'm sure, but sad as well since we'll be saying goodbye to characters we've "known" for many years. I was a daily visitor to her blog and have missed her "voice" since she closed it. It's pretty fabulous when you fall in love with a book, and then find the author to be as awesome as the books she writes.
    Please put my name in the hat, thank you!

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  23. Truth told, I've never finished a series save The Darkyn, as every series I've ever started (including HP) I eventually put aside, bored.

    And, of course, you're right, Lynn. Watching writers bloom and their stories grow is more valuable than a year spent at the best university. For the last few years, I’ve judged in the NTRWA Great Expectations writing contest. I first volunteered because I wanted to give back. Instead, I learned more about pacing, voice and character development than I could have ever imagined.

    NinaP, who owes even more to Lynn.

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  24. Many of my favs are trilogies rather than series like Elizabeth Vaughan's Warlands Chronicles - I re-read this about every 6 months. Many that I'm reading are not finished yet like C.L. Wilson's Tairen series, Jordan Summer's Dead World series, and Shiloh Walker's Hunters series.

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  25. This was a hard one. However, I finally landed on (after leaving this window open for a long time): Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer or Meyers- can't remember which.

    Is it my favorite trilogy? No. However, it is the best ending to a trilogy that I have seen. I had no unanswered questions. No burning need for more. It really wrapped things up in a nice, tidy, vampiric bow. Sometimes, I hate that- but for this trilogy- it was perfect.

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  26. I commented on the wrong blog, so I am posting my thoughts again. The only final book trilogies I have read are from Nora Roberts, I liked Face the Fire of her Three sisters Island trilogy and Valley of Silence from her circle trilogy. Honorable mention to Key of Valor and Finding the Dream.

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  27. I'm not going to mention the Darkyn because I stubbornly refuse to accept that there will never be another Darkyn book. (Loving the Kyndred so far, but still. :-) )

    I second Charlene's comment on Snow Blind by Lori Armstrong. Terrific mystery series. I loved No Mercy, the recently released first book in a new series but this ultra-talented author.

    I recently re-read the "Chesapeake" books by Nora Roberts. Getting "Seth's book" several years after the original trilogy really brought all the characters home for me again. Of all of Nora's books, that might be my favorite series.

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  28. Athena4:33 PM

    Lilith Saintcrow's To Hell and Back from the fabulous Dante Valentine series.

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  29. Abhorsen is not the final book, but it is the last book at the moment. I love these books by Garth Nix.

    I also have to throw out Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's book I Dare, which is also not the final book, but it is the last book at the moment.

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  30. Tossing my name in the hat since my favorite series is still on-going. :-)

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  31. If I may step in (faithful reader, but usually a week or a month behind, which is why this is my second comment in three years), I'll toss my name into the hat. I cannot choose between two ongoing amazing series. To be honest, one is not ongoing anymore. I just fell behind in my reading.

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  32. I just can't. If there is a series that I really enjoy I hold out hope that it will continue. Some day. Waaaay in the future.

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  33. To be honest... Sara Sonati, Queen of Swords. I have followed Sara/Rosina's work for ten+ years, she is amazing.

    Kristina Little

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  34. Yep, I'm with Harry Potter too :)

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  35. The Cursed One by Ronda Thompson! This serie (Wild Wulfs of London) open the paranormal romance´s door for me!

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  36. mspencerbenson@shaw.ca9:52 AM

    I absolutely adored the journey through life taken by Father Tim in the Mitford series written by Jan Karon. But there is no end! Now, she has launched into the Father Tim series, a continuation her readers are excited to begin. Endings can be as good as beginnings as witnessed by Rosina's ending/beginning. How lovely of you to do this!

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  37. I have loved the Into The Wilderness series from the beginning! Very jealous of your chance to follow the last book as it took shape. Based on the glowing reviews I keep hearing, I am going out on a limb to say that The Endless Forest will be the best series ender I have read.

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  38. Endless Forest. Just finished it and can't wait to start it again.

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  39. I have to go with Harry Potter 7, The Deathly Hallows. Only one I can think of right now.

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  40. I am happily anticipating reading The Endless Forest as I have loved (and re-read) this series so much. And if I have to choose a final book in a series, since I haven't read this one yet, I would say the Harry Potter book, too. What a wonderful ride those books have been.

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  41. I began the Wilderness series by Donati/Lippi through the recommendation of a friend. Because these books are in the romance section of our bookstore, I'm afraid I began the journey with a bit of snobbish skepticism. After just finishing the fourth in the series, I must say that I am completely hooked and cannot wait to read the next, and the last.

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  42. Your description of The Endless Forest is so tempting...I can't resist throwing my hat in the ring! A series I've enjoyed? I would say the Harry Potter books have been a real treasure. Also Janet Evanovich's funny Stephanie Plum series is always great.

    :) Abigail

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