What’s in a Title?

It’s interesting that the middle of the three books is titled Killashandra.  One would expect, Killashandra Ree being the main character, and the books being written in third person limited and restricted to her experiences, that it would’ve been the first book named for her.  Instead, that was titled Crystal Singer and was a thorough introduction to the position and how she attained it.

I don’t know that we learn more about Killashandra as a person in this second book. It could’ve been titled Optheria and that would’ve worked just fine.  I suppose the title would’ve been an easy hint to readers in 1985 that this was a sequel to Crystal Singer, but I’m sure there’s more to the title than that.  Titles are strange things.  In some cases, they draw a reader’s attention to a particular scene by using whatever phrase is on the bookcover.  In other cases they make it clear what the main character, location, or focus is.  A good title is almost as important as good cover art to attract browsers.

When I was in the airport two years ago, browsing books in one of the shops, I noticed a book titled Queen of the Tearling.  The phrase is, overall, not uncommon.  Fantasy books like I tend to read have a lot of Queens of various places and peoples.  But what is a “tearling”?  I can’t actually answer that question, as I haven’t read the book yet.  I do intend to do so at some point, but as I know it is the first book of multiple, with a second (at least) also available, by an author I’ve never read before, it’s not a huge priority at this moment.  But the title is notable enough that I haven’t forgotten the book, even if I can’t remember the author’s name without an internet search.

Having finally reached and savored the very happy ending of Killashandra, it’s time to wrap up the set with Crystal Line.  And no, I don’t really know or care how McCaffrey picked that title for the last book.  For me, the important bits are the author, and the fact that this follows two other books that I immensely enjoy.  Not that I haven’t read these three before, I have, and multiple times each.  I’m just pointing out that getting me to grab the third off the shelf is as easy as getting me to buy a new Valdemar book or anthology.

Yes, we’ll get to Valdemar.  Eventually.  But that’s a subject for a very different post.

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