It may be the girl that studies English Literature and Creative Writing that has a favourite narrative form or it might just be the incredibly nosy girl that wants to know everything, but nonetheless, I have a particular fondness for dual narration.
I guess it fulfils some of the more secret desires a person has: to see the difference between how you see yourself and how others see you, finally finding out if you even cross the mind of someone you care about and, of course, getting to witness that moment when the protagonist realises they’re in love. Twice.
This year I’ve read some amazing novels with dual narratives. Partly because I’m writing one myself, but also because they’ve been everywhere! It’s a form that isn’t restricted to genre, style, publisher or country and it’s by far my favourite. To prove my point I counted up how many dual or multiple narratives I’ve read so far this year and I was surprised by the result: seventeen, including what I’m currently reading. Eight contemporaries, four paranormals, five dystopias and two are historical young adult novels. Now, you may notice that that doesn’t quite add up; one novel I read this year straddles two genres: Libba Bray’s The Diviners – a historical, paranormal mystery novel. Yeah, it's as amazing as it sounds.
I’ve just finished reading Rachel Caine’s Bitter Blood, the thirteenth book in the Morganville Vampires series. For the first nine novels, the entire story came through Claire, but as of book ten we’ve had glimpses in to other important characters in Morganville. To be given the chance to reside in the minds of characters I’ve fallen in love with was a gift from Rachel Caine. She uses it as a way to amp up the tension and accelerate the action, and boy does it work!
Some of my favourite books this year have been contemporary novels where dual narration has made difficult or quirky characters and situations become natural and so, so easy to love. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry blew me away when I read it in July. It’s an intense and steamy romance which the dual narration only intensified and I devoured each page, leaving me feeling like I’d lost two friends when I finished it! I had a very similar reaction to the final book in Simone Elkeles’ fantastic trilogy, Chain Reaction. There was just something about hearing from both Luis and Nikki that set fire to the pages.
It might be an unusual love, but read some of these books and you’ll understand completely. Maybe you’ll even have realised just how many books you’ve read and loved have been multiple narration and will run to join the fan club.