Harry Potter’s all grown up and Bella’s, well, a vampire (like no one saw that coming…). What’s a young science-fiction/fantasy connoisseur to read? Thanks to authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer the market for young-adult fantasy is rapidly expanding. There are a lot of options out there and here are some of the best:
Melissa Marr: Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange
Set in a contemporary, small town, both of Marr’s stories involve normal girls who get involved with some extraordinary faeries. Marr’s faeries are dark and often sinister, hiding behind their glamour and tricks.
In Wicked Lovely, Aislinn find herself being stalked by Keenan, the King of the Summer Court, who wants to make her his Queen. Knowing the dangerous nature of the faeries, Aislinn tries to keep her freedom while keeping those she loves safe from the fey.
Ink Exchange follows a different character, a girl named Leslie. Leslie desperately wants a tattoo and is inexorably drawn to an intricate design she finds in a shop. Little does she know, that the tattoo is penned in magic ink that binds her to Irial, King of the Dark Fey. As the Summer, Winter and Dark Courts struggle to maintain peace, Leslie is bound to a new and dangerous world.
Wildly engrossing and entertaining, Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange are best suited for older teens looking to bridge the gap between Harry Potter and adult sci-fi/fantasy. Parents looking at purchasing these novels should know there are a number of themes best suited for older teens such as: sex, alcohol, rape, and violence.
Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange are available from Harper Collins Publishing.
Wicked Lovely copyright 2008. ISBN 978-0061214677
Ink Exchange copyright 2008. ISBN 006121468X
Kristin Cashore: Graceling
Harry Potter fans will enjoy Cashore’s novel, which follows the adventures of Katsa, a Graceling who is blessed, or cursed, with a killing grace. At the beginning of the novel, Katsa is in the employ of her uncle, King Randa and is forced to threaten or kill other kings and lords that offend him. When Katsa meets Po, a Prince Graced with combat skills, the two form a powerful friendship.
While Cashore’s story is creative and absorbing the novel’s greatest strength is in its morality. Because of her deadly Grace, Katsa must question her own morality and her role in King Randa’s kingdom. This novel is best suited for teens, perhaps on the older side as it contains some violence and sexuality.
Graceling is available from Harocourt Children’s Books copyright 2008. ISBN 015206396X
Holly Black: Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside
Another series that journeys into the dangerous world of the fey, Black’s series follows a group of teenagers as they meddle with Faeries. More tricks than treats befall the humans in these novels and the Fey are deliciously dark and sinister.
In Tithe, sixteen-year-old Kaye returns with her rock-star mother to live with her grandmother in New Jersey. Kaye is fiercely independent and has always been just a little bit different. When she rescues Roiben, a light fey bound to the Dark Court, she is drawn into the world of the Fey and discovers a dark secret about her past.
Valiant introduces an entirely new set of characters, but ties-in with it’s predecessor. Befriended by a group of teenagers that live on the streets, runaway Valerie finds her way into the underground tunnels of New York, but she has no idea what magic can be found in “The Big Apple.” Valerie becomes entrenched in the world of the fey when she starts to make deliveries for Ravus, a handsome troll who has been exiled from the Faerie court. Mischief in the court and a dangerous accusation of murder combine to create an intricate and twisted plot.
Kaye and Roiben return in Ironside, the third book in Black’s series. After a disastrous misunderstanding, Kaye must prove her love for Roiben by completing an “impossible quest.” Failure means never seeing her love ever again. Kaye also must confront her mother and the secrets that plague her past. Ironside successfully brings together the characters from books one and two of the series creating a satisfying conclusion to the series.
Black’s series is recommended for older teens as it contains violence, drugs, sensuality and sex, and horror.
Tithe Copyright 2004 by McElderry Publishing. ISBN 978-0689867040
Valiant Copyright 2006 by McElderry Publishing ISBN 978-0689868238
Ironside Copyright 2007 by McElderry Publishing ISBN 978-0689868207