Six Degrees of Separation with a Twist (Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 4 Challenge)

Hey all, it’s day 4 of the summer biannual bibliothon. Once again, I hope all of your reading dreams are coming true today.

Today’s blogger challenge comes from Erica over at The Broken Spine (https://thebrokenspine.net/2018/07/10/6-of-separation-with-a-twist/), who is the blogger host for today. The challenge is to pick from one of the books she provided and connect it to 6 other books in some way. The twist, though, is that all of the books we pick have to have some sort of diversity represented.

My Choice:

The book that I picked from the four Erica gave to choose from was Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. I have never read this book (nor, I feel a little embarrassed to say, have I read any of the other three books I had to pick from), but based on the description Erica gave in her post, it sounds like time travel is a pretty important part of the story. It also sounds like something I would be really interested in reading (yet another thing to add to my neverending TBR).

The First Link:

The Missing Series (books 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7) Yes, it is incomplete, I know.

Anyway, though, for me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of time travel is the Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is an 8-book series which follows Jonah Skidmore, a kid who is adopted, and who has known he was adopted all his life. Then he discovers that he is not just a normal adopted kid, he is one of the famous missing kids from history, stolen by a group of time travelers who wanted to take him and a bunch of others to the future. Most of the series follows Jonah and his younger sister Katherine as they travel back in time, attempting to fix the paradoxes that occurred when these kids were ripped from their rightful time.

One of the recurring characters in this series is an African American woman named Angela DuPre, whose life was changed when that plane full of babies rolled up to the jetway at the airport where she worked, and who frequently helps Jonah and Katherine. She’s actually the first perspective we read from in the first book, Found. Additionally, the stolen kids themselves come from all over the world, representing many different races and cultures.

(Full disclosure: I haven’t actually finished reading this series, so I can’t vouch for the whole thing, but I loved the first 5 or so books.)

The Second Link:

I don’t read very many time travel books, so this next one was a hard one. Instead of focusing on the time travel aspect, I focused on the historical aspect, and I came up with the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. I recently reread this series with my boyfriend. It’s set during an alternate-history, steampunk World War I, where the Allied forces (called Darwinists) fight with fabricated beasts and the Axis powers (called Clankers) fight with huge mechanical walking machines, sort of like tanks with legs.

The diversity in this series comes from all the different places the characters travel to. They go to Istanbul, to Mexico, to Russia, to the United States, to Japan, where they get to experience the different cultural heritage of all those places. Plus, they meet new characters along the way, in those places.

The Third Link:

The Young Elites (3 books)

This is where my links start to get questionable (as if they weren’t already). Stemming off of the historical theme of the Leviathan, we come to a fantasy world based on Renaissance-era Italy—The Young Elites by Marie Lu. While not my favorite series by her, The Young Elites is still good, and, as always in Marie Lu’s books, it has some pretty good diversity in the LGBTQ+ department, including both a lesbian romance and a gay character.

If you don’t know, The Young Elites is about Adelina Amouteru, a “malfetto” who, after the blood fever swept through her world, killing her mother, lost an eye and gained strange, silvery hair, as well as some magical abilities. She is one of the Young Elites, kids who received powers after the blood fever, who are in a constant battle against the Inquisition Axis, which wants to kill all malfettos. That’s a pretty terrible description, but it’s the gist.

The Fourth Link:

The Stormlight Archive (all 3 books that are out)

Jumping from the fantasy world of The Young Elites, we come to epic fantasy—and I do mean epic. Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive books are gigantic (all of them over 1,000 pages long), but they’re incredible. The world is incredible, the characters are incredible, and the story is incredible (if complicated and nearly impossible to describe). It’s about war and loss and magic and friendship. It builds a world that feels almost as real as our own. Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors ever, if not my absolute favorite. But enough gushing.

The Stormlight Archive is a fantasy series set on a very different world from ours, with very different rules and races (for example, there are people that have blue skin), so diversity is a little harder to define. Since it’s not our world, the words used to describe people cannot be the same as here. However, a good amount of the major characters are described as having dark skin and black hair, and according to the author himself, a lot of the races are meant to look more Asian or Middle Eastern.

The Fifth Link:

You’re going to love my logic for this one. In the Stormlight Archive series, we mainly focus on a country called Alethkar, where things like writing, the arts, and other scholarly pursuits are reserved for women. In this next book I have to recommend, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, we follow a girl named Darcy Patel who wrote a book during NaNoWriMo (though it’s not specifically called that in the book). We follow her as that book gets published, prompting her to move to New York City, and start working on a second book. The book is told in alternating chapters, one from Darcy’s perspective in the real world, the other excerpts from the book Darcy wrote. It’s a really cool story, and the main character, Darcy, is Hindu. She took some inspiration from her Hindu heritage to write her book. The book also contains a lesbian romance. The book talks a lot about writing, what it’s like, how hard it is, but also how rewarding it can be too.

The Sixth Link:

We’re at the final book. This challenge has turned out to be a lot harder to figure out than I was expecting it to (clearly, I need to read more diverse books), but I managed to find another connection. This one is connected through the idea of being a creator of something. As Darcy is the author of her book (also called Afterworlds, by the way), Eliza Mirk is the creator of Monstrous Sea, a hugely popular webcomic in Eliza and Her Monsters. As you can tell, I’m a sucker for meta books, about authors or other creative types. In the story, Eliza is the creator of this very popular webcomic, but she is anonymous. Online, she is known only as LadyConstellation. That is, until one of the most popular Monstrous Sea fanfiction authors starts going to her school, and everything about Eliza’s life begins to change.

The two major characters in this story, Eliza and Wallace, both struggle with anxiety, and Wallace’s family is mixed race, with him having a black stepmother and half-sister.

***

Whew! That was difficult, but that’s all the books I have for this challenge today. Now, I should probably get back to reading, and so should you.

Thanks for reading! I’ll see you tomorrow.

-Ariel

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