Masks is the functional equivalent of the YA dystopia in a traditional epic fantasy setting. At the age of fifteen, citizens are recognized as adults and must don magic Masks on orders from the all powerful Autarch. To maintain his grip on the kingdom, the Masks reveal any treasonous thoughts or actions to the Autarch’s ever vigilant Watchers. At her coming of age ceremony, Mara, daughter of the Master Maskmaker, is rejected by her Mask. Banished into slavery, she’s forced to confront the rotten core that supports the Autarch’s reign.
Posts Tagged: Young Adult
I’ve read more young adult this year than ever before and by and large it’s been a tremendous decision. I continue to be impressed with the quality of character and story, demonstrating why the genre(?) continues to garner attentions from readers of all ages. I would note Angry Robot imprint, Strange Chemistry has been the source of the vast majority of my young adult reading, and T.L. Costa’s Playing Tyler is another example.
Tyler MacCandless has a nasty case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He can only seem to focus when he’s playing video games or in the sky with his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. His mom checked out after his dad was killed in an auto wreck, and his brother, who survived the crash, is institutionalized after extensive drug abuse. The only things he wants are his brother to get better, and to join the air force. Just when it seems like his life is falling apart, Rick asks him to test a video game.… Read the rest
I’m going to say some stuff about ‘Young Adult’ fiction. Some of it’s going to be really wrong, but I’ll hedge by saying it’s my interpretation. Let’s try not to crucify me for it.
For me, what makes a book ‘Young Adult’ isn’t the age of its protagonist, simplicity of story, or basic themes. Instead, it requires some didactic aspect. For example, Paolo Bacigalupi’s Shipbreaker isn’t just a fucked-up coming of age story, but a teaching tool for conceptualizing climate change, as well as refining mores for peer group interactions. I would argue the weakest part of the novel is its plot and protagonist, both of which feel cookie-cutter. What makes it successful for young readers is what it imparts. Thusly, I would argue, until I’m blue in the face, that Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga or David Edding’s Belgariad are not ‘Young Adult’. I would prefer to call them fiction for all ages.… Read the rest
I read a lot of young adult fiction in 2012. This was new for me. Nancy Kress was new to me too, although not remotely new to pretty much everyone else. Her newest novel, Flash Point, is the story of Amy, a teenage reality television star in a not-quite dystopia. Beneath the poverty line, with no means of supporting her sick grandmother and younger sister, Amy has no choice but to put it all on the line on national television.
While the world awaits the flash point that could lead it into economic and sociological ruin, or turn the corner into a new age of prosperity, Amy’s show Who Knows People, Baby — You? catches attention. Seemingly a souped up version of John Quinones’ ABC show What Would You Do? it forces teenagers from different levels of society into uncomfortable and often dangerous situations to elicit a response.… Read the rest
How much of a novel’s success or failure is predicated on its voice? I would argue there’s a compelling case to be made that it’s a primary one. The problem is that voice is an extremely subjective measurement defined in semantics. I ask the question because Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse is written in a voice that I couldn’t stand. Unfortunately, it’s not the only thing about the novel I didn’t like.
Assassin’s Curse is the story of Ananna, a teenager daughter of a pirate captain who runs from marriage with an allied clan. She wants what every pirate wants — her own ship. Her escape, while easy, has an unfortunate side effect when her scorned fiance’s father sends an assassin after her. In the process of being assassinated, Ananna triggers a curse that binds her to Naji, her former assassin and now begrudging protector.
Thus, the story is centered around breaking that curse, freeing Ananna to resume her pursuit of her own ship and Naji to continue being an assassin for hire.… Read the rest
Tom Pollock writes beautiful prose. It’s the first thing I noticed about his debut novel, The City’s Son. So good in fact, that it buoys a straight forward young adult urban fantasy to new heights. It’s a rare novel of that ilk that’s able to hook me enough to give it a full run. I was pleased that not only did it engage me enough to finish the novel, but I found myself coming back to it time and again despite finding the plot just short of boring.
I admit that last sentence is about the biggest back handed compliment I’ve ever given someone. Guilty as charged, however, it’s not that simple. Allow me to explain.
Beth is a trouble maker, daughter of a Hackney widower with a penchant for artistic tagging, and she’s pulling her best friend Pen Khan down with her. After a rough encounter with corrupt school administrators, Beth runs away from her endlessly grieving father.… Read the rest