Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reviewing Hanging By A Thread (The Black Widow Trainer series)

I recently had the pleasure of reading Hanging By A Thread, the third book in Craig Odanovich's The Black Widow Trainer series.  (Technically, it is a trilogy, but I have hopes for more books.)
Misty is the Black Widow Trainer, a very high priced trainer, who encounters all sorts of characters and adventures.  Misty is as unique as the "special" clause in all of her training contracts.
I have enjoyed all three books (Captured Prey is the middle book).  The character development and layers are so well done, not just for Misty, but for all.  The stories are highly adventurous, but Craig stated it best with "but it wouldn’t make for a good fantasy if I wrote about everyone’s daily lives".  Even so, I find the stories as realistic as can be.
In Hanging By A Thread, we see Misty gain a questionable protegee which brings interesting new dynamics.  Misty   The interaction between these two and those around them is as fascinating as the adventures they encounter.  Once again, Craig has managed to give us more insight and growth from Misty, without veering too far from her core.  I really think this was the best one yet!
After reading Hanging By A Thread, I asked Craig a few more questions.  The first stems from a friend who roots against Misty, who she says is the "one she loves to hate", sort of a modern day Joan Collins.  She might root against Misty, but she couldn't put down Hanging By A Thread!

Q-Do you know of any fans of TBWT who root against Misty?
CO-The short answer is yes, but it mostly happens over the course of book one. Misty is a very polarizing figure, I admit. I've found through the years that women who are so attractive that men swoon over them usually need time to mature. Life is just too easy for them. What the readers need to do is follow Misty's character arc throughout the totality of the trilogy. (Think in terms of a 900 page book, yet an easy read.) Misty is not a super hero. She is an everyday person that has trouble with commitment due to losing her parents in a car crash at the age of 8. She has been spending her life running from those emotions to insure she never gets hurt again. At least that's the state of mind you find her in at the beginning. The reader gets a glimpse of Misty maturing a little at the end of the The Black Widow Trainer. Over the course of Captured Prey the reader get's more and more into Misty's head and better understand how emotionally charged she is.  At this stage, Misty still doesn't understand herself that well. That's because she doesn't slow down enough to be introspective. As in the character arc of most protagonists, they eventually have to come to terms with some difficult issues. It's how they respond to the issues that ultimately define them. My guess is that your fan may have only read book one but I can still see her having a few lingering issues with Misty at the end of book two.

The book is more about the wonderful, interesting characters Misty comes across through her many journeys. Think of her as the conduit of discovery. Without Misty, there is no story, yet the story is about so much more than just Misty. I like to change the genre of each adventure to help make them unique and interesting. They are sometimes adventurous, seductive, wild and crazy, dark and scary, romantic, suspenseful, and ends up a dark thriller. A few readers have a problem with this, wishing the books were either all romance, or mysteries or whatever their favorite genre is. To really enjoy the trilogy, just sit back and enjoy the ride. I think you will find The Black Widow Trainer trilogy a true genre buster.

I will have more coverage of Hanging By A Thread in the near future.  Until then, check out the Craig Odanovich page at Amazon to learn more about all three books and to purchase them.  I am a book guy, but for those into Kindle, the price is incredible!

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