Friday, March 25, 2016

Weres Wanna Know: Do you hunt for Easter Eggs in books?

Weres Wanna Know is a new discussion feature where we share a topic that's been on our minds and invite you to share your thoughts as well.

Since Easter is coming up this weekend, I've been thinking about Easter Eggs. If I've lost you already, Easter Eggs are hidden references or inside jokes, usually in movies, left by the creators for super fans to find.

 I first heard the term (many years ago) used to describe hidden extras on a DVD that you had to click on something other than the main menu to find. But according to Urban Dictionary, the term goes back even further, to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where the characters held an Easter Egg Hunt but didn't find all the eggs. If you look closely, you can see Easter Eggs in random places throughout the movie.

The best known examples are probably in Marvel movies, all of which are full of references to other films that you might not catch on the first viewing. Things like Howard the Duck in the Collector's menagerie in Guardians of the Galaxy, or Bob from Hydra in Deadpool. But I'm starting to find them more often in books too.

For example, in Molly Harper's Jane Jameson series, Jane ships some books on werewolf dating to a customer in Alaska. Then one of the characters in her Naked Werewolf series receives a package from Half Moon Hollow. 

Jennifer Estep's books are full of Easter Eggs, probably because she's a big fan of those superhero movies that made them popular. In Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2), they serve barbecue from The Pork Pit, the restaurant from her Elemental Assassin series. In that series, Finnegan Lane's suits are designed by Fiona Fine, a character from her Bigtime series. And the couple Gin Blanco meets in the opening of Bitter Bite honeymooned in Cloudburst Falls where the Black Blade series is set.

I've even started my own Easter Egg hunt in the Elemental Assassin series. I'm calling it the "name drop game." In each book, Estep mentions the title at least once. But last year I noticed that she also mentions the titles of other books in the series, so I started to look for them as I read. Biter Bite has three "bitter bites," two "poison promises," and eight "the Spiders." (I only count that last one when Gin refers to herself in the third person.) 

I think the term Easter Egg has become so popular that it's sometimes misused. Easter Eggs are supposed to be hidden references that not everyone will get. I saw someone on Twitter  refer to the Super Bowl Coke commercial featuring Ant Man and the Hulk as an Easter Egg, but there's nothing hidden about it. There could, however, be Easter Eggs in it. Though I didn't catch any when I re-watched it.

One that I missed until I saw people talking about it on social media is the appearance of George and Jack from Ilona Andrews' Edge series in Clean Sweep. Their names aren't used and they're all grown up, but I had a feeling I should know who they were and it just didn't click. That's what an Easter Egg is supposed to be and why it's so much fun to look for them.

Do you look for Easter Eggs in books?
What are some you've found?

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  1. I love the references in Estep's books. I get all giddy when I notice them. And the ones in Harper's books. Alice Clayton also does it when she references The Redhead books in her other series.

    1. I read the Redhead series after the Cocktail books, so I might have missed those. Will have to keep an eye out if I reread them.

  2. Interesting post. I don't hunt for Easter eggs when reading. I knew about the duck in GotG, mainly because the Mr pointed it out. I only got two books in on the Elemental Assassin series but now I will be looking for these eggs you speak of. ;)

    1. I didn't start to notice it as much until book 8 or so. You may not have gotten to many yet. But it's a fun project for a reread. I wouldn't want to get too distracted the first time through.

  3. I love literary Easter eggs in books! Every time I see a Princess Bride egg in the Kate Daniels books it makes me super happy! I don't usually catch inter-book Easter eggs like you've mentioned but I'm totally going to pay more attention from now on. I think the only inter-book Easter egg I've caught is when Patricia Wrede mentioned something from her Mairelon books in her Sorcery & Cecilia books.

    1. I bet that a lot more authors do it. We just don't think to look until someone points it out.


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