Summer Reading Update + Character Art

Hey guys! Happy August! I’m back to give an update on the books I’ve been reading as well as share some of my recent art. In the last post, I gave a list of books that I wanted to read within the next few months, and I’ve made it through three of them so far.

First, Dust by Kara Swanson.

As you might be able to tell by the cover, it is a Peter Pan retelling, and it is greatly praised within the reading community I am part of. I gave it 4 stars for a myriad of reasons, which you can read in greater detail in my review of it here.

Altogether, I thought it was decent book and I don’t regret reading it. It just wasn’t my style. If you like Peter Pan retellings and stories where the modern meets the magical, Dust might be the book for you.

I also read Shadow, the sequel to Dust, and gave it 3.5 stars. My main complaint with Shadow was the ambiguity of character motivations, especially for the villain, and also the confusing plot. The main conflict of the story felt like it was dragging on and on. Also, smaller elements of the book just weren’t my style, but I know lots of people still like this book. Give it a read if you think it’s up your alley.


Next is Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet.

Now, this book…this book I could just go on and on about. I ranted about it to one of my friends even though she didn’t quite understand what I was talking about, so I will try to keep my praise of it short and sweet, as well as spoiler-free.

My favorite part about this is the theme and how the concept of colors are used to illustrate it. It’s somewhat veiled, and I can see how people might miss it (thus the many negative reviews on the book). If you’re looking closely, though, the theme is very clear. As soon as I picked up on it, I just kind of gasped and stared at the ceiling for a little while, in shock at how deeply it touched my heart. This book is one of the few that has brought tears to my eyes.

That being said, the content in it is definitely for older readers. It’s a very melancholy book with dark sections and no humor to lighten it. As I like to say, though, how can anyone portray the light properly unless they first portray the evils of the darkness? There must be a contrast. In the book are a great many evils, and they are weighty and disturbing at times, but that makes the theme of light and color so much more beautiful.

If you are a person who enjoys unraveling deep themes and doesn’t mind dark undertones, this may be the book for you. Don’t be scared off by the negative reviews. The book has some incredible settings and worldbuilding, and even if the omniscient point of view makes it hard for some readers to connect with the characters, it also lends a unique atmosphere to the story. I actually like this style of writing and was able to relate to the characters just fine. Instead of having characters’ thoughts and reactions inserted in the middle of a scene to “immerse” the reader, the characters’ personalities were portrayed through their words, actions, and decisions, with only minimal emphasis on character thoughts. It was like watching a movie playing out in front of me instead of being trapped in the eyes of one character.

I have been told that readers prefer to be immersed in one character’s POV, but the author did well with the tactic he used, switching between different characters to show how the story plays out. If you enjoy stories that feel cinematic, this may be the book for you. (The prose is another plus—I really loved the author’s poetic, elegant style.)

I will admit that my book taste is a little weird, but you should totally give this book a chance! Who knows, you might become just as enchanted by the characters as I was.


Finally, I’d like to share some of my art. I typically keep my work under wraps, but I was very pleased with how these recent ones turned out.

This is Ash, a character in a new book I’m writing.

Next is Ariella, the main character in the book that I am planning to self-publish. I had the idea that if I make book merch someday, I should create character art for it. I have been experimenting with a new digital art program, too, and the finished product turned out better than I expected.


Thanks for sticking around even though I took a long break from this blog. I’ll talk to you again soon, hopefully.

Until then,

Published by The Arbitrary Fairy

I am a writer, artist, introvert, book lover, and music enthusiast! On The Arbitrary Fairy, I blog about various topics that I am passionate about. I hope that my writing brings a little spark of light to the lives of my readers.

13 thoughts on “Summer Reading Update + Character Art

  1. Wow, this art is astonishing! I have absolutely no art skill so my friend does all my character art ;P I’ve been waiting to read Dust for a while, and Auralia’s Colors sounds fascinating! I can’t wait to pick both of them up

    Liked by 1 person

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