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.