Pandora’s Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer (Review & Interview)
24 June, 2012
Hi Guys! So today I’m hosting the absolutely fabulous Nancy Richardson Fischer as part of her blog tour for her book Pandora’s Key. The first part of this post is a review of her book and the second part is an interview with her. Hope you enjoy it! At the bottom is also a list of all the other stops on the tour, don’t forget to pop over to those to follow the tour on!
When everything you believed about yourself is a lie, how do you unlock the truth… Evangeline Theopolis has nightmares about the violent deaths of women she has never met. Her single mother, Olivia, suffers delusions she can’t hide. And Malledy, a brilliant young man, may have a disease that will leave him paralyzed and insane. Their lives are about to collide. On Evangeline’s 16th birthday her mother gives her a necklace with an antique key charm—a family heirloom, though no one knows what the key unlocks. Everything changes. Her mom is hospitalized. Her godmother attempts murder. An ancient Order tries to kill Evangeline, and a lethal sect to kidnap her. Nothing makes sense—especially Evangeline’s own face, which has morphed from geeky to eerily stunning; the ancient key that feels strangely alive against her skin; and the magical abilities she begins to possess. Evangeline must use her wits and supernatural powers to fight her deadly adversaries and discover her true identity. But can she accept who she really is and save the world?
four out of five hearts
A little trepidation. This is a book that has taken me a while to get around to reading. The reason for this started out to be just because of university work but then, during that time I spent a lot of time communicating with the author and really started to like her. This made me wary when it came to her book because I didn’t want to not like it and have to write a negative review when I admire her so much – she has helped me a lot more than I think she realises in the past few months – and so, it is with relief that I write this review today after having read her book and enjoying it immensely. It was an interesting read that really caught my interest and made me want to know more. I loved the way it was set up and I cannot wait to read the second book in this glorious trilogy.
It’s all in the history. I loved the concept of this story. I haven’t read many books that focus on mythology or use it within their story but I’ve always been quite fascinated by it. Ever since I had to study greek theatre for drama, I’ve always found it an interesting topic. I am letting you know this as I cannot say outright whether the details in Pandora’s Key are true or correct but I did find them to be incredibly imaginative. I loved the way that she used the mythology at the beginning of the book. She set the tale up perfectly so that even those with no knowledge of the gods and goddesses were able to understand what was going on. This obviously appealed to me.
I enjoyed where the story went, how it played out and the differences between the characters. I loved all of the different sub-plots that were going on underneath it all and felt that they really brought everything together. I feel that Nancy did a brilliant job of putting enough information out there for her readers without making it boring but also without revealing too much too soon. There was a lot of mystery going on within the pages that really helped to keep the attention of the reader. And the suspense was riveting and really kept the reader wanting to read more to find out what was going to happen next.
The cast play an important role. I adored the characters in this book! For me characters really help to bring a story to life and I could really believe the characters in this book. I found Evangeline, E, to be a really refreshing character to read. She wasn’t a vain character and had little self-confidence, even when her beauty was visibly shown in the mirror. She had a lot to think through and had a lot going on in that little head of hers. I felt that she got stronger as the book went on and I can see her becoming a level-headed protagonist who protects the ones she loves, while also being protected herself. There were times when I wanted to grind her head for the way she was behaving but that’s just because she acted in opposite ways to how I would have in those situations!
I found Malledy really fascinating and I liked the way that his illness was depicted in the book. I liked his journey and the way he saw the world and how Nancy really made you think when it came to him. I was surprised at how much I liked his character actually. But really it was Rafe that I really liked. He was so kind and protective and so clearly in love with E that it made my heart ache when she just didn’t see it. I liked that he worried about her and tried to help her, but that he was also protective of his mother. A great character that I enjoyed reading about and could really imagine being alive and kicking.
And the critic cries out. Overall this was a really well written novel. Nancy has a way with words that really pulls you in. I loved her writing style and found it really easy to read. It wasn’t too confusing – although the beginning was a bit of a battle but only slightly and once you’re in, it gets to be worth it – and it was just an easy and enjoyable read. I liked how everything flowed together, I loved how E really pulled the story along but wasn’t just a protagonist who let things happen to her, she had a little backbone in her! I think it was a brilliant set up to what could be an amazing and creative trilogy and I am really looking forward to the release of the second book. I would recommend this book to anyone who like books with greek mythology, anyone who likes a good YA heroine, a lovely and talented author and someone who likes a bit of mystery, suspense and action. Really I just think you should all go and read a copy right now!
And now! Interview time!
Hello Nancy and welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! Let’s start off with something easy, tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
How about three truths and a lie?
1. I know how to walk on a tightrope, juggle, and ride an elephant.
2. As a kid I slept with the covers over my head AT ALL TIMES because I was afraid of vampires attacking my neck.
3. My first kiss with with a guy named George who had braces and had just eaten a bag of Dorritos (bbq flavor)
4. I bow hunt and can take down an elk from 100 yards
Readers! Comment below with your guesses on the lie! Moving on, how long have you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written stories, poems and bad jokes since I was a kid. When I went to college, everyone told me that I needed to find a career because writing was a hobby. So I did… and I was MISERABLE. I got my first book when I was 23 years old – a sport autobiography about legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi – and my hobby and passion became my career. Bela once told me that he never tried to mold his gymnasts after an existing gymnast – that he always tried to create a unique talent because otherwise his gymnast would never be quite as good as the original. I try to apply that to my writing career. Good or bad, I’m attempting to be original and unique:-)
I definitely think that’s a good idea! And as you’ve been writing for so long, I wonder, when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do?
When I’m not writing, which involves LONG periods of sitting in one place, I try to be as active as possible. I have a Vizsla named Boone, and he’s an insanely active dog, so that helps. I also LOVE kitesurfing, skiing, cycling, and pretty much any adventure my husband suggests:-)
So now we know more about you, what about your novel? What is it all about?
At its core, Pandora’s Key is about choosing to become the hero in your own life’s journey. Regardless of the fantasy elements in Pandora’s Key, Evangeline’s life isn’t that different from the rest of ours. Her story is about coming to terms with who she is, accepting that truth in all its forms, and then charging forward and crafting the life she chooses to live despite the obstacles thrown in her way. Obviously, Evangeline’s journey is extreme, but I would hope that everyone who reads her story would take away the idea that we each have certain attributes and gifts and if we don’t take control of our own lives and shape them, then we’re just along for the ride… and we have more power than that!
A great message to have in a book. So, what inspired you to write a trilogy around the greek mythology surrounding Pandora?
As a kid I adored Greek myths. They’ve colored my perception of life. And every once in a while I’d wonder why Pandora was blamed for basically ruining Mankinds’ perfect world, when it wasn’t even her idea to create the Furies or release them (darn you Zeus!). I started wondering how I might change the myth of Pandora in order to reshape everyone’s perception of the world’s first woman… and how I might do that in the present. I decided to create a line of desdendants… and then my imagination took over and I just ran behind trying to collect all the ideas! By the time I had figured out the first book in my trilogy, I realized there were more to follow so I just kept writing:-) And I have to admit, it’s going to be hard to stop after the third book…
Uhoh! I wonder if it’ll suddenly transform into a series! I’m curious though, was there a character that you loved writing the most?
Hands down, Malledy. I’m a sucker for the bad guys because they’re so interesting!! And BTW I don’t think Malledy is evil… just misunderstood and a victim of his disease… and if he were still around, I, for one, would give him a second chance ;-)
He is a great character! Moving onwards, I have to ask, when writing this story, was there a song, book or movie that inspired you?
Anything creative inspires me to be creative, too. Nothing specific inspired Pandora’s Key, but I will say that I chose Evangeline’s name from the actress Evangeline Lily who starred in the TV show Lost. That character was so complex, empathetic, misunderstood, and kick-ass, that I thought E deserved her name.
Oooh, nice tidbit there! Love little tidbits! Changing topic again but, some writers write their stories chronologically while others just write where the muse takes them, how did you write Pandora’s Key?
Definitely chronologically. I knew where I was going to start, and I knew where I wanted to end and between the two I let events unfold. There were definitely missteps… but that’s just part of writing. I had to get rid of or rewrite a ton of chapters, but that doesn’t mean writing them was a waste of time. Anything that ultimately gets you where you want to go is worth the effort.
I couldn’t agree with you more! Which leads me perfectly into my next question. Pandora’s Key is the first book in a trilogy, do you know specifically what will happen in the next two books or will it lead its own life?
Book Two, The Key to Tartarus, is already written. So I know EXACTLY what’s in store for Evangeline, Raphe, Tim and Olivia. And I can tell you it isn’t pretty! As for Book Three… I’m conjuring it this summer. For me, conjuring a book means just letting my mind flow and wander. I read a bunch of books that have nothing in common with my own, I watch a lot of movies, and I imagine different scenarios – especially when I’m riding my bike. That’s not to say I don’t already have the seed of an idea and know who my characters will be for Book Three… it’s the setting and the stakes I’m still figuring out:-)
Sounds great, I hope it goes well! I’ve gotten this far without mentioning it and I feel I should now, so this year at BEA you won the indie award for YA fiction, how do you feel about that?
Pretty great:-) And thanks for mentioning it! Anytime an indie author gets some recognition it’s a big win, some validation that your book has universal appeal, and an all around wonderful feeling.
Yes, I would definitely agree to that. I therefore feel it necessary to ask, is there anything you would say to readers who aren’t sure whether to read your book or not? Any words to help hook them in?
If you love Greek mythology, a twisted, complex plot, empathetic characters, a kick-ass heroine, and a story that keeps you guessing, then please do give Pandora’s Key a try!
And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
Keep writing. Seriously. The difference between being a writer and being someone who talks about wanting to be a writer is WRITING!! And the more you write, the better you get and the easier the words will flow. Forget about waiting for the muse, don’t worry about if what you’re typing is great, just put it down and keep moving forward. Anyone can be a writer if they’re willing to put their butt in the chair, let their imagination free, and write:-)
and a quick fire round;
ebooks or hard copies?
day or night?
Day (I’m still afraid of the dark)
reading or writing?
paper or computer?
tea or coffee?
Diet Pepsi – but don’t tell my husband as he thinks I’ve quit
favourite book of the moment?
most memorable book?
A Wrinkle in Time
Thank you Nancy for answering my questions today! It’s been lovely to get to know you better! If you’d like to know more about Nancy, you can find her on Goodreads, here.
Also, for your viewing only, here is a picture of Boone; here.
To follow the rest of this book tour, check out these stops;