Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reading in Your Genre - Faerie Stories

That's all I can do lately. When I'm not writing, I'm reading - YA novels, mostly. Novels about fae in modern times, girls cursed by Elfin Knights, boys suffering from iron poisoning. I even read backward in the trilogy by Holly Black, and discovered a girl with a shaved head who fell in love with a gallant troll. These are all good faerie-themed books I'd recommend to others interested in the subject, not to mention the genre. (see my list below)

YA is subtly being insinuated by fae, though it's not nearly as pervasive as the hefty heap of vampire and werewolf-themed books falling off the shelves. The supernatural is big, though. Witches, elves, faeries, ghosts, vampires. Shadowy things are all over. Modern shadowy things, dystopian shadowy things. But I haven't seen too many victorian shadowy things. And nothing like Alice in Wonderland since Frank Beddor's books. Coraline is very close, and had a bit of that feeling. Gaiman seems to be able to create a world similar to the children's classics I've come to love so much. Tim Burton also does a pretty wonderful job with the creepiness factor. But as far as the atmosphere I'm crafting in my story series, I haven't seen anything like it. That's a good thing. It means that when I publish, no one will have anything close.

I continue to read, and to admire the attention and research writers of 'YA-fae' stories show me in their work. I love how they pull me into their character's frame of mind. I loved the dark underbelly, the damp, moldy former-elegance of the House of Chaos in The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. I loved the puzzled anxiety, and passionate fervor when Lucy sought to fulfill the Impossible Tasks in Nancy Werlin's Impossible.

The last book I finished was Werlin's, finished today a few hours ago. It's one of those books that you just don't want to put down. Once you find out about the Impossible Tasks, you simply can't wait until Lucy tries to tackle them. And you cheer her on to succeed. You fear for her and her entire family line if she doesn't.

Before that it was The Replacement, and before that the list goes on: Valiant by Holly Black (in her Tithe trilogy), Coraline by Neil Gaiman, The Looking Glass Wars trilogy by Frank Beddor, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (which is the first in her Gemma Doyle Trilogy), and, of course, the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix which will forever be a favorite now. It was seven books, each dedicated to a day of the week.

Some of these authors were new, with the books I read being their first to be published. I particularly admired Brenna Yovanoff for this. Hers was by far the best first novel I have read in awhile.

I agree with supporting new authors and encouraging others to read their books, since I'll be a new author soon. However, some new authors outshine others. Some you can sense their insecurities, or their propensities in their work and it detracts from it. I was pleased this didn't happen with The Replacement.

I'll keep up with the reading, as well as the writing, and perhaps even post some reviews. Until then, I encourage others to stop by the YA-fae section and see what magical treats they uncover.
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