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The Cyborg Tinkerer Book Tag was created by Adventures with La Mari in celebration of Meg LaTorre’s debut science fiction (space opera, steampunk) novel The Cyborg Tinkerer, which releases November 17th.
1. Gwendolyn Grimm
From fiesty to sweet and innocent, what is your favourite type of protagonist?
I prefer a cool, calm and collected sort of protagonist. One who normally doesn’t let their emotions (or their other head) run the show. Naturally there will be moments where emotions get the better of them if they’re well written and, well, human, but the characters that have no control over their emotions just frustrate me. Exception: well written PTSD with a purpose.
2. Bastian Kabir
Not all romances start off on the right foot. What is your favourite romance trope? (Enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, etc.)
My absolute favourite romance trope is the fake-real turn. This can be either one dishonest lover and one who’s actually in love from the start, or it can be two characters in on the trick together. Either way, somebody who’s pretending actually catches feelings. Sometimes a con in love with an innocent falls in love for real, no one ever finds out, and they live happily ever after. Sometimes the deception is discovered, trust is broken, and the deceiver has a lot of ground to cover making up for it and convincing their lover to fall in love all over again. Sometimes the deception is discovered and that’s it, game over, the relationship never recovers.
Personally, my favourite is the one deceiver situation where the deception is discovered but it all works out in the end.
3. Rora Lockwood
Some characters are extremely motivated to accomplish an end goal. What are some of your favourite character motivations? (Family, power, safety, career goals, etc.)
I prefer protagonists with selfless motivations (family, true hero’s journey, etc.) or humble-selfish motivations (self improvement.) I really don’t like a protagonist who’s only in it for their own personal gain. Exception: A well-written villain’s POV story if the character is complex and shows growth throughout the story.
4. Celeste Beckett
Some villains are motivated to do evil for the sake of evil, while others might set themselves as the protagonists of their own tale. What is your favourite type of villain to read? (Morally grey, good vs evil, etc.)
I love morally grey and misunderstood villains. I want to empathize with them at times, but also love to hate them at times as well. Alternatively, I also enjoy faceless oppression as the villain. “The system” or “the government” with no single person to direct hate and blame toward, save possibly for a figurehead who’s clearly just a figurehead.
In science fiction and fantasy, settings can range from magical forests to space battles to a dystopian near-future. What is your favourite setting in science fiction and/or fantasy and why? Since The Cyborg Tinkerer is steampunk, if you have a favourite steampunk setting, give it a shout-out too!
My absolute favourite setting I’ve ever encountered in the realm of SFF is the 500 Kingdoms of Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of 500 Kingdoms series. It’s basically medieval Europe, but in an alternate uiverse where a magic called “The Tradition” keeps everyone in line. If you fulfill a fairy tale trope, The Tradition ensures that you play that role, or else.
In terms of steampunk settings, well, I have a confession to make. I adore the idea and aesthetic of steampunk, but I haven’t actually read a whole lot of it at this point in my life. The most steampunk reading I’ve done has been G. D. Falksen’s work, and I prefer his non-steampunk, vampire-infested historical fiction novels instead. My favourite steampunk setting isn’t from a book at all; it’s the universe created for Disney’s Treasure Planet.
6. Cirque du Borge
Come one, come all to the mysterious circus of cyborgs. If you had to choose, what is your favourite book that features a circus or competition?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This will always be my answer!
7. The Scarlet Dragon
Some obstacles are armies while others are sharp talons and teeth. What is your favourite kind of obstacle mid-way through a book before the climax? (Facing the henchmen, battling a monster, solving a mystery, fighting a battle, etc.)
I enjoy formulaic plots with regular intervals of tasks or challenges. I’m not a fan of just one or two big hurdles before the climax. I don’t like “facing the henchmen” obstacles all that much. I do love a life-or-death set of challenges in the form of a last man standing competition a la The Hunger Games.
8. When she falls for both… Love triangles
Some people love them. Some people hate them. What is your favourite love triangle you’ve read in a book? OR what is your least favourite love triangle you’ve read?
I don’t typically seek out love triangle stories, so for favourite I’m going to have to take the cop-out answer and say this one: Gwen, Rora & Bastian in The Cyborg Tinkerer. It’s really well written, and it features both the enemies to lovers and the fake-real turn tropes.
As for least-favourite, I will forever and always be frustrated by the way Suzanne Collins handled her love triangle in The Hunger Games series. Gale loves Katniss from the beginning. Peeta had a genuine crush on Katniss before the games and caught feelings while he was playing lover. Katniss doesn’t realize what she’s got until she’s in District 13, Peeta’s been kidnapped by the Capitol and had his memory tampered with, and Gale’s scorned by her fake-real turn for Peeta. And then when it’s all over, nobody wins. Nobody’s happy. Can Gale and Peeta get together? I feel like they deserve each other.
9. The Space Ship, Obedient
In science fiction, the ship often acts as its own character, whether sentiment or not. An entire world is often a hunk of metal (or within the gravitational field, in the case of The Cyborg Tinkerer.) What is your favourite ship from a story, or what is your favourite form of space travel?
My all-time favourite ship is the USS Enterprise, but if we’re sticking to just book-only SFF ships, I’d have to say Paragon from Robin Hobb’s books. Liveships were built from dragonwood, which is made from the fossilized remains of dragons, and as such it holds the memories and magic of a dragon. These ships are sentient, and they form telepathic bonds with their owner families. The Paragon was constructed from dragonwood from two different dragons, and as such contains the personalities of two dragons. Unfortunately those dragon personalities are constantly in conflict. Combine that with a past history of abuse at the hands of a pirate owner, and Paragon was at times known instead as The Pariah, as he had a reputation for capsizing to drown his crews. Once Paragon learns that he can return to dragon form, that’s all he wants, to be two separate dragons once again.
In terms of forms of space travel, I prefer wormholes and gates/portals. These bring fascinating possibilities to the plot, and they’re much more realistic than engines that are somehow capable of speeds so much faster than the speed of light that not only can crews travel between star systems within their lifetime, but in a matter of days or weeks.
10. The Cyborgs
Not everyone is lucky enough to have been born into a loving family. Sometimes they find that love through others like them. What is your favourite story about finding family, whether it’s through long lost relatives when a character thought they had none or adopting people into their family?
I adore Strays, the webcomic by Samatha Whitten and Stacy Pefferkorn. It takes place in a world similar to medieval Europe, but here all humanoid beings are one of four were species. Lupians are wolf beings, Vulpians are fox beings, Lyrians are swan beings, and Cervians are deer beings. As individuals of these races reach puberty, their magic and ability to transform into an entirely animal form comes in. If they have demon blood, sometimes their magic is erratic.
Meela (Lupian) is the last surviving pup of a demon hunter. Feral (Lupian) is a mute mercenary. Holland (Lyrian) is a charming youngest-son prince who has nothing to lose. Piper (Vulpian) is a con artist with a soft spot for Feral. Jaiku (Cervian) is a wise and mysterious elder who shows up when he’s needed and disappears when he’s not. It’s a fantastic found-family sort of story, and I love it!
I love it so much I backed the final Kickstarter to print all three books when the comic ended, and I got a lot of the extra goodies that were stretch goals.