Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What is A. J. Hartley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: A. J. Hartley, author of Steeplejack.

His entry begins:
I’m currently reading the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven cycle, a book that was recommended to me by several friends and which instantly captivated me. It’s a contemporary paranormal YA centering on Blue Sargent whose family are all clairvoyant. Blue’s (somewhat disappointing) talent is that she amplifies the talents of her relatives while not actually being clairvoyant herself. During a seasonal festival in which those about to die manifest spectrally in the local graveyard, Blue is surprised and alarmed to find that not only can she can see and hear one of them—a boy close to her own age—she leaves certain that she is somehow to be responsible for the boy’s death.

It’s a compelling premise for an intriguing and atmospheric novel, but it’s the sentence level writing that really appeals to me. I like my fiction to contain...[read on]
About Steeplejack, from the publisher:
Thoughtfully imaginative and action-packed, Steeplejack is New York Times bestselling A. J. Hartley's YA debut set in a 19th-century South African fantasy world

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society. The native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges.

When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice Berrit, she instead finds him dead. That same night, the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.
Visit A. J. Hartley's website.

The Page 69 Test: Steeplejack.

Writers Read: A. J. Hartley.

--Marshal Zeringue