Teen Reader Advisory By Proxy: High Fantasy

Teen Reader Advisory By Proxy: High Fantasy

High Fantasy is and probably always will be my favorite cup of reading tea.  I think I find myself drawn to High Fantasy mostly because it exemplifies just what I imagine all novels should do: Take the reader into an entirely new world via the written word.  I also think that current literature is offering up a lot of new and interesting stories by a group of relatively fresh – or at least fresh to the genre- writers.  Though his first book in the Game of Thrones series was published in 1996, George R. R. Martin, for example, has started to make a name for himself in the realm of High Fantasy this past decade; Stephen King has even stepped into the world of High Fantasy with his Dark Tower series.  High Fantasy, in other words, is more within the realm of popular culture than it has arguably been before.

Now, when people think of High Fantasy, the long, winding, and convoluted sagas that maybe the typical reader would view as too arduous or daunting are typically what are brought to mind.  The greatest thing about the recent insurgence of High Fantasy into popular culture in my humble opinion is the corresponding development of more and more High Fantasy works within the sphere of Teen Fiction.

The thing that is almost even more wonderful than High Fantasy being written with Teens as the perspective audience is that these books are being written in a way that make them interesting for both boys and girls.  The books I enlisted below are examples of this merging of High Fantasy into Teen Literature, paying special attention to factors that would hold interest to both girls and boys alike.  Some of these books have female protagonists – but these female protagonists kick butt to an extent that would make Joss Whedon proud; meanwhile, some of these books have male protagonists, most of who are of the asking names second variety, but with a plotline that includes some wonderfully written romance interests.  I have included some tried and true Teen High Fantasy works – The Hobbit very obviously makes the list – but the titles here are, for the most part, written within the millennium.

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Upcoming 2013 Teen High Fantasy Novels…

Upcoming 2013 Teen High Fantasy Novels…

  • The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, Book One) by Sherry Thomas  Supposedly the greatest elemental mage of her generation, untrained Iolanthe Seabourne is prophesized to defeat Mage Tyrant Bane.  Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe in his quest to kill Bane and avenge his family, but when Titus falls in love with her will love or vengeance win?

 

 

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Titles with Both Male & Female Protagonists

Titles with Both Male & Female Protagonists:

  • The 10th Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley  Modern-day New Yorker Virginia and her father are pulled through a magic mirror into the Nine Kingdoms, a universe straight out of fairytales.  In a journey involving a bewitched Prince, a twitchy werewolf, an Evil Queen, and lots of Trolls, Victoria attempts to save the kingdom.

Also a TV mini-series!

  • Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, Book One) by Morgan Rhodes  In a universe with three kingdoms vying for power, the only certainty is that kingdoms will fall.  It is in this tumultuous environment, four young adults, Cleo, a princess, Jonas, a rebel, Lucia, an adopted royal with an unknown magical legacy, and Magnus, a fighter, find their lives strangely entwined.

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Titles with a Female Progatonist

Titles with a Female Protagonist:

  • City of a Thousand Dolls (Bhinian Empire, Book One) by Miriam Forster Abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls, Nisha lives with other orphaned girls on the estate.  The girls work as apprentices, and Nisha, as Matron’s assistant, is settling – until girls start to die.  Delving into the deaths, Nisha uncovers secrets that could claim her life.

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  • The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book One) by Philip Pullman  Lyra Balacqua, ward of Oxford’s Jordan College, lives a carefree life traipsing around with her friend, Roger.  Things change, however, when children start to go missing.  Lord Asriel disappears after mentioning the far North and, when Roger is taken, Lyra, with Mrs. Coulter’s help, decides to venture north too.

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  • Poison by Bridget Zinn  Kyra, a highly skilled potions master, is the only person who can save her kingdom from destruction.  But when her poison dart misses, Kyra must figure out how to correct her mistake, kill the evil princess, and save the kingdom – all while on the run from the king’s army.  No big deal, right?

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  • Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy, Book One) by Garth Nix  Living a sheltered life in an Ancelstierre boarding school, Sabriel has had limited exposure to the Free Magic and Undead that embody the Old Kingdom; limited exposure, that is, until the Abhorsen, her father, goes missing.  Sabriel enters the Old Kingdom and, along with Mogget, a Free Magic spirit, and Touchstone, a Charter Mage, faces her own destiny in search of her father.

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  • Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass Series, Book One) by Sarah J. Mass  To win her freedom after a year of labor in Endoveier’s salt mines, assassin Celaena must act as Prince Dorian’s champion in a competition for the new royal assassin.  When competitors start turning up dead before the games begin, Celaena must uncover the killer – or become the next victim.

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Titles with Male Protagonists

Titles with a Male Protagonist: 

This guy is creep-tastic...

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimeaus Trilogy, Book One) by Jonathan Stroud

At five years old, Nathaniel’s parents sell him to live as a magician’s apprentice.  Nathaniel’s master is a cold and cruel teacher, and, worse, Simon Lovelace is bullying Nathaniel.  Attempting revenge, Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus and sends the djinni to steal Lovelace’s greatest treasure… but the plan works too well.

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Here there be dragons. Eragon (Inheritance, Book One) by Christopher Paolini

Eragon finds a blue stone in the forest and at most expects to trade it for food; what he gets is a dragon, Sephora.  When his farm is set aflame and family killed, Eragon and Sephora flee.  Revealed as a Dragon Rider, Eragon trains to face the Empire’s evil King.

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There and Back AgainThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The night after Bilbo Baggins refuses to go on an adventure with the wizard Gandalf, thirteen dwarves arrive at his door.  One thing leading to another, Bilbo becomes the fourteenth member of Thorin Oakenshield’s company, set on a quest to reclaim Erebor, the dwarrow’s home, from the dragon Smaug.

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So this is also being made into a movie...

Incarceron (Incarceron Series, Book One) by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron was a microcosm of a prison with forests, cities, and everything.  The original prisoners are long dead, but their descendants live.  Finn refuses to believe he was born within Incarceron and when he finds a key that allows him to talk with Claudia, an Outsider, Finn resolves to escape.

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I know this is on MY reading list!

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day One) by Patrick Rothfuss

Kvothe will grow to become one of the most notorious magicians ever seen in his time.  Before he even enters magic school, however, Kvothe will travel with a troupe of players, survive a childhood alone in a crime-infested city, and become a fugitive guilty of regicide.  This is his tale.

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Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice, Book One) by Joseph Delaney

Old Gregory has been The Country’s Spook for years and is ready for retirement, but so far twenty-nine apprentices have failed, some even failing to the point of dying.  Maybe Tom Ward, seventh son of a seventh son and able to see things others cannot, will be the lucky thirtieth.

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Teens and High Fantasy

This blog will be centered around High Fantasy (HF) – but not just High Fantasy, High Fantasy written for (and sometimes by) Teens!  Not that there’s anything wrong with regular ol’ “adult” HF… it’s just that, sometimes, the faster-paced and jauntier writing style of Teen Literature must needs be applied to spice up a genre.  You know what we mean. 

So, in the depths of this blog one might find book recommendations, links to articles regarding High Fantasy and Teens, Teen writers of HF, the development of HF in current times, and personal rants and exposition posts by yours’ truly on the subject at hand – as one does on a blog. 

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