Monday, September 19, 2011

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I get to talk about Michelle's novel, Monarch, which was officially available as of last week. But I won't be talking too much about the story. You can find brief synopses of that if you're interested. Instead, I want to talk about what I love about Michelle's writing in general and why I think she's definitely worth a read.

When I think about Michelle's writing, the first thing that always comes to mind is nature. Whether you read her first publication, Cinders, or Monarch or have had the chance to read drafts of some of her other stories, you'll notice that there are always a lot of references to nature: butterflies, the sea, the woods, the weather. What always strikes me about these references is how invested Michelle is in them. She doesn't use it as some sort of writerly crutch. I think any reader can really tell how much she loves nature herself, how much she is surrounded by it. When Michelle writes about nature, I fall in love with it again.

The second thing that comes to mind when I think about Michelle's writing is intelligence. Way back when, I remember encountering Michelle in the blog world. I think my first introduction to her was probably the first paragraph of Monarch, actually. But what got me truly intrigued by her was her intelligence, which came through in her blog posts, in our conversations, and definitely in her writing. When I read (and reread) Monarch, I love Michelle's ability to see and analyze the world intelligently and sympathetically.

And, thirdly, what I love about Michelle's writing is that she consistently makes her prose shine. I always feel like I can pick up one of Michelle's final drafts, open it anywhere, and read it when I want to see some smooth prose. Michelle is a perfectionist in the best sense of the word. She makes sure each paragraph flows well and is highly polished, and I feel secure in her ability when I go to read.

As for Monarch itself, this is a book I did really enjoy. There were characters I really liked, scenes that were beautifully written. And, really, if ever you wonder whether or not one book can be about so many different things (and fit into so many genre categories), check it out and see just how much Michelle managed to cram it all into one story.

I hope you'll give Monarch a chance if you haven't already! One commentor will WIN a free copy here!


  1. What a wonderful post! You've got me all excited to read it!!! :)

  2. Okay, I'm going to try for a free copy, yet again, even though I've already read it!

    I agree with you Davin, about how clearly Michelle's love of nature comes through. I've been to WV and she captures it wonderfully--never been to Amazon, but given her research skills, I bet it's just the way she describes!

  3. What a lovely post- and all so true! Michelle's spirit truly shines through in her writing, and it's a rare and beautiful thing.

    Gifted is the word that most often comes to my mind in reference to her writing, and her soul.

    Happy Monday, Davin, Michelle, everybody.


  4. Thanks Davin, you have captured the essence of Michelle's style exactly!

  5. Congrats on the release of your book. Can't wait to read it.

  6. What I've always liked about Michelle's writing is the way the prose moves. I've compared her writing to dance before, and that's still the best analogy I can find. I'm a huge fan of graceful prose.

    I also like the way Michelle is careful with her images. A lot of writers won't pay attention to the long-range effects of the images in their books, but Michelle creates layers of subtle meaning with things like colors. She's very aware of color but it never hits the reader over the head.

    What I like most about MONARCH is that the characters aren't one-dimensional. Michelle doesn't sort them into simple good/bad guy categories (though there's heroism and villainy aplenty). Like Davin says, Michelle is a smart writer.

  7. Aww, you guys are saying the nicest things, thank you. :)

  8. In Cinders, I loved how nuanced the writing as well as the characterization was. And you are right- Michelle's writing is very polished. Looking forward to reading Monarch!


  9. I've never read anything of Michelle's (except the snippets on here and on her blog), but I'm really looking forward to reading it.

    So yes, I want to win a copy.

  10. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by so far today. I'll let this contest go until midnight and then draw a winner!

  11. Thanks... sounds like an author worth checking out! Appreciate your making us aware


  12. Putting this one on my expanding to-read list. Oivey! It never ends!


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