I’ve been working on this blog post for so long, and now it’s finally here! Hannibal has been a huge influence on me ever since I was in bed with flu in 2015 and decided to marathon the most disgusting show ever while feeling terrible. Apparently I’ve never been good at making sensible decisions.
The resurgance in popularity made me rewatch and fall back in love with the show, so I thought I’d look for a Hannibal book tag to do. When I saw there wasn’t one, I knew I had to go for it.
Let’s get into the tag.
‘He’s just a man whose brain is playing tricks on him.’
Name a book or character that haunts you.
Bunny by Mona Awad follows me through most of my days. Truly. The unsettling atmosphere of the book just draws you in so completely that it clings to you long after you close the book and put it back on the shelf. Just last week, I was dusting my shelves and I happened to see that a spiderweb had made its way over the spine of Bunny, and I realised how appropriate that was. Bunny is a wispy little spiderweb that you can’t shake off for the rest of the day – or in my case, the rest of the year. And possibly my life at this point, who knows.
‘Feeling paternal, Will?’
Name a book with your favourite found family.
For this question, I have to go with The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. I loved this story in its moments of action and tension, found my heart racing along with the characters and my brain trying to work out riddles and puzzles as fast as I could read them, but it was the quiet moments that made this book so special. Those domestic moments in L’Eden when the gang are recovering or contemplating or scheming (or pining), where they seem to just fall against one another and slot into their own special dynamic, is exactly my brand. Their fierce loyalty, their unwavering love, and their playful jabs at one another makes them a family, no matter where they came from.
The Shattered Teacup
‘Occasionally I drop a teacup to the floor just to see it shatter; I’m disappointed when it doesn’t pick itself up and come back together.’
Is there a moment in a book that is your teacup, the shards of which you wish you could place back together?
For this, I would have to say a moment in the Broken Earth trilogy, when I realised what a certain character was building up to face and become. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, like I was standing right beside them, staring into a terrifying future. I wish I could catch that particular teacup before it shattered, wrap that character up in a blanket and change the course of their life – but then we wouldn’t have a story, would we?
‘If you walk through a field of mycelium, they know you are there – they know you are there.‘
Which dead character do you wish you could reconnect with? TAG SPOILERS.
Buckle in for my character who isn’t dead, but also isn’t alive, but can’t possibly make it out of the final book unscathed – REDACTED from the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I adore this series with my whole heart, and I feel so attached to these characters that even thinking about this character in particular makes me have to bite back tears.
Although, I would push back my selfish tendencies and let another character in the series reconnect with them in my place, because I think they need it more. A Sky Beyond the Storm really is going to take a chunk out of me, isn’t it?
‘You’ve been terribly rude, Miss Lounds. What’s to be done about that?’
Name an unlikeable female character (that you can’t help but love).
I’m going to commit a bookish sin that you’re either going to forgive me for or never visit my blog again, but I’m making my peace with that.
I’m answering this question with a book character, though I have only watched them in the film adaptation, and that’s Amy Dunn from Gone Girl. The quintessential terrible person, who does terrible things, and yet I can’t help a little sadistic grin with each swipe she takes at the world. I think Hannibal would approve of Amy, though perhaps they would only be able to tolerate each other for so long before someone starts to sharpen the knife.
The Man on the Phone
Name a book that someone warned you about before you read it – and did you listen?
I was gifted Half Bad by Sally Green by a well-intentioned cousin looking for a birthday present for a book-obsessed fourteen year old, and at the time I was very excited. The cover and the story had my attention, but it languished to the back of my bookshelf because of the much more exciting books that I was given that year. Just when I was about to pick it up, I stumbled across some scathing reviews. I won’t spoil the ending of the trilogy in case anyone wants to pick it up, but a lot of queer reviewers hated the ending, and from what I could glean from those reviews, the queer characters are treated pretty terribly.
I haven’t read the book (I listened!) so I can’t comment on the actual content, but that’s my answer for this question. I listened and donated my book to the library because I didn’t need that in my life!
The Midnight Call
‘Jack? It’s Miriam!’
Name a character that revisits you in the middle of the night.
Jude and Willem from A Little Life. If Bunny is a spiderweb, A Little Life is a hairline fracture. It’s under your skin, in your bones. Jude and Willem bring with them a sharp, crushing sort of pain whenever your memory tilts back into their direction. I remember walking down a set of disused railway tracks listening to a particularly heartbreaking scene with the two of them, and even now, if I think of that scene, I can smell the trees and hear the newborn lambs in the field beside me. And of course, feel a lump in my throat.
I had my issues with the book but Jude and Willem aren’t going to leave me any time soon.
‘You hook ’em, I’ll land ’em.’
Name a book with a first chapter that stuns you into reading on.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco has an incredible first chapter. In fact, an incredible first paragraph:
‘Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living. I have not been a bone witch for very long, whatever the stories you’ve heard, but this was the first lesson I learned.’
This opening paragraph set up the story so perfectly in so few words. It captures the humour of the book, the heart-renching sibling relationship, Tea’s abilities, and hints at the notoriety she will gain throughout the story. It totally hooked me the first time I read it, and once that hook was in, Rin Chupeco didn’t let me go until I’d finished the last page of the last book in the trilogy.
‘I can whisper through the chrysalis, but what hatches follows its own nature and is beyond me.’
Name a character whose development wrecked you.
I tried not to repeat books in this tag but I just had to say Essun from The Broken Earth Trilogy for this question. Essun’s character development is simply the best I have ever read. Though I’ve only read this trilogy once, it felt like I was reading it twice in one go. I would read a chapter and part of my brain was loving the story, immersing myself in the world and the plot and watching Essun’s journey; the other part of my brain was taking a masterclass in writing. N.K. Jemisin is just that good. So many times I would murmur ‘that’s how you do it, that’s what I want to write’. That first side of my brain was in awe of Essun’s development, that second side was in awe of N.K. Jemisin.
‘When I look back from a distance, the house is like a boat on the sea. It’s really the only time I feel safe.’
Name the book that feels like coming home to you.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is home to me. Before I could read, I watched the films obsessively with my brother and my cousins. When we’re back together, it’s the film franchise we go to, to feel like we are the kids we were countless Christmases ago. Watching the films or reading the books is like losing myself in time – I’m ageless and weightless, and all I’m aware of is the story and characters who have watched me grow up. Every time I revisit the story, I find a piece of me there, and I feel like I’m coming home to myself.
And that’s the tag! I had so much fun making these questions and answering them, and now I want to rewatch Hannibal all over again.
I would love it if you did this tag, even if you’ve never watched Hannibal or weren’t a fan. I’m so interested in your answers, so if you’re reading this, you’re tagged!