I was nervous a few months ago when I tackled the popular series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the “What Would They Read” series here on The Hub, where we pair up favorite TV characters with YA lit recommendations– but I’m even more apprehensive with this blog entry. Joss Whedon’s Firefly found its end far too soon and yet has been kept alive by extremely passionate fans. This is a massive undertaking in the vast world of fandoms. Feel free to comment on my selections below.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Firefly, here is a brief synopsis: Firefly takes place in a future world with new star systems with moons and planets that have been terraformed to replicate life on Earth. Although the technology of the future is far more advanced that technology today, the new settlements on the moons most resemble the Old West. The Alliance is the central government, comprised of the only two superpowers left; America and China. Because of China’s power, Chinese influences in fashion and language and dispersed throughout everyday life. The show follows a specific ship that resembles a firefly named Serenity. Captain Malcom Reynolds and his crew live on the shady side of the law, delivering stolen government goods to planets in need and making deals with some unpleasant people. In an attempt to appear more respectable and make a little extra money, Mal decides to take on a few passengers. Instead situations because even more complicated.
It is true that a majority of Serenity’s crew would no sooner read a book than play professional football, I would like to believe my statement that there is a book for every reader. With no further ado, here are my reading recommendations.
Mal Reynolds – Initially, Mal has a stern, no-nonsense personality. Although, as the show progresses, we see a bit of a sense of humor emerging for time to time. There’s no question that Mal would prefer a book with a strong action-packed plot with a slight hint of a romance. Mal may think he’s kidding everyone with his love/hate relationship with Inara, but we know it’s there. Also, Mal was on the losing side of the civil war against the Alliance and thus does not respect government authority. For Mal, I would definitely recommend Legend by Marie Lu (2012 Teens’ Top Ten) as well as the other two books in the series, Prodigy and Champion. Mal and Day have similar personality traits, the main one being their need to help out the little guy from being trampled by the oppressive government.
Zoe – Zoe is a soldier and a very strong woman. Second in command to Mal on the ship, Zoe tends to be the level-headed voice of reason when Mal and Jayne show off their hot tempers. It was not difficult to pick a book for Zoe in a time when teen literature is rushing to showcase the tough as nails female protagonist who is ready and capable of taking care of herself. The first book that came to mind was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Throne of Glass, a 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, is the first book in a series about Celaena Sardothien, a female assassin that is so dangerously, most do not know her by appearance but shudder at the sound of her name. Like Zoe, Celaena takes on a role normally held by men and executes it better.
Wash – Everyone needs a little comic relief to melt down all the seriousness! Wash is a child at heart and the perfect match for Zoe. Whether it’s playing with dinosaurs or commenting on his planet’s favorite pastime of geese juggling, Wash always has something interesting to bring to the conversation. It’s been stated by some that Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill has several similarities to Firefly. Perhaps Wash will enjoy reading about another ship hurtling through space. I can picture it so clearly in my mind…Wash sitting in the cockpit of Serenity, leaning back in his car with his feet kicked up on the control panel reading a book.
Jayne Cobb – Jayne may not be the most intelligent or loyal person on Serenity, but he will probably feel bad if he crosses you for his own personal gain. Jayne is a weapons nut who has survived this far due to dumb luck and his partnership with Mal and Zoe. Jayne was definitely one of the more difficult readers to fit with a book. After much deliberation, I settled on Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. In this 2011 Printz Award winning title, Nailer must decide whether his lucky strike will end in his fortune or his helping to save another. Jayne might relate to Nailer’s predicament in comparison to his experiences in Canton.
Kaylee – Kaylee is a starry-eyed mechanic with a penchant for the finer things in life. That is to say, Kaylee loves her job and can maintain Serenity through an ability close to a sixth sense. That doesn’t stop her from dreaming about fancy dresses, high brow dances, and the life of a swell. Kaylee may initially come off as a bit naive, but it’s safe to say that she has lived through some trying times. If I were going to give Kaylee a book based solely on its cover, I would give her The Selection by Kiera Cass, as well as the others in the series. Kaylee loves big, puffy dresses and America Singer definitely has some of those. I also believe that Kaylee would enjoy America’s experiences with Prince Maxon. Finally, I don’t know about you, but I definitely see some shared personality traits in these two girls.
I’ve finished with the basic crew of Serenity. Obviously there are several members that I have not commented on yet. Instead of squeezing in the remaining four, Simon and River Tam, Shepherd Book, and Inara, I will save another entry just for them. Look for the follow-up to this blog entry in November. Feel free you add your own suggestions for these four in the comment section below.
-Brandi Smits, currently reading Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling