Quick post today, but one well worth your time if you need a new author to read! Enter, Sarah Fine. Her website indicates she writes “Fantastical fiction for teens and adults”. “Fantastical” is an excellent way to describe it. It covers both the “fantasy/imagination” and “fantastic/excellent” definitions of the word. However, I don’t want to simply shove an endorsement down your throat. Let me tell you what sets her work apart.
One of my biggest pet peeves in Romance is when the main characters have emotional scars with unexplained (or vaguely explained) origins.
- He thinks all women suck (no, he won’t discuss further, he’s a sexy, brooding bastard and you love him in spite of never having spoken a single word… well apart from the time he asked to borrow your Hello Kitty tape dispenser… which he has yet to return).
- She thinks she’s fat and therefore not worthy of love (did she suffer from childhood obesity so severe that she broke a carnival ride with her butt and the shattered pieces rained down and slaughtered the entire football team? How embarrassing! Oh, that didn’t happen? Her self-loathing is unfounded? Suddenly, she is a lot less interesting).
You don’t get any of that nonsense with Sarah Fine’s work. I’m sure part of it is simply because she’s a good writer, but the other part is she is a literal professional in the human psyche.
Sarah has thorough training in psychology, and it shines through in her characters. Their wounds are always explained and threaded throughout the story, influencing everything from plot to dialogue, and in the case of the Guards of the Shadowlands series, even setting. That’s right, the characters’ emotional traumas send each of them to a particular, finely-tailored, hellish city in the afterlife.
Which brings me to my next point. Sarah is damn good at world building. Nothing is more jarring to me as a Fantasy/Sci-Fi reader than when I think I have the rules of your universe figured out, and BAM, there’s a fairy orgy in the middle of the space station. If this is your inciting incident, then great, that sounds interesting, I’ll keep going! But, if this is on page 200 and there has been no prior mention of magic, I’m going to be a little confused.
Sarah creates intriguing, detailed, original worlds yet she does so in a way that you, the reader, simply accept the laws. In her Servants of Fate series, she skillfully combines a seemingly-odd assortment of ideas in a way that feels natural: a dystopian future, soul-ferrying, mythology, boardrooms, and EMT workers. She weaves all this together subtly and manages to avoid the dreaded, though all too common, “info-dump” many fantasy authors succumb to. I could spend hours analyzing just how she manages to do so, but I’d probably still leave out some of her magic.
I highly recommend you go pick up one of her page-turners yourself. My personal favorites are Guards of the Shadowlands (Dark YA series full of Hell, demons, and, of course, friendship) and the Reliquary series (Adult Urban Fantasy: 4 types of magic and the dangerous underground world in which they are traded? Yes please!).
You can check out her work at: https://sarahfinebooks.com