Is This Just Fantasy?: Valentine’s Day Special

Just Fantasy Valentines 2014Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and as heart-shaped cookies, chocolates, and balloons fill shop windows, I must acknowledge that the romance is in air–and on the bookshelves.    And it seems only appropriate to celebrate the holiday by exploring some of my favorite love stories: the romances featured in young adult fantasy fiction, of course.

While particular subgenres of speculative fiction such as supernatural romance and even dystopian or futuristic romance have enjoyed a particular upsurge in popularity over the past few years, I must make a case for the delightful variety, rich character-driven stories, and, yes, swoon-inducing moments available in high fantasy fiction.  Whether you like your romance to be a classic case of initial dislike and misunderstanding turned to love or platonic partnership grown into something more, there’s a something for you!  So here are a few of my favorite high fantasy novels and series featuring that unique magic: romance.

gracelingGraceling – Kristin Cashore (2009 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009 William C. Morris Award finalist)  Since discovering her Grace (or superhuman ability) for fighting and killing as a child, Katsa has lived as her royal uncle’s unenthusiastic thug.  But with the help of her tentative new ally Prince Po, Katsa sets out on an epic journey to face frightening secrets–about her abilities, her undecided future, and the dark violence spreading through the kingdoms.

 

Kristin Cashore is a fairly recent but incredibly popular addition to many lists of favorite fantasy writers.  Her debut Graceling features not only an action-packed plot and fantastically complex heroine–it also possesses a wonderful romance.  The developing relationship between Katsa and Po highlights their complementary personalities and explores the complexities of romance for a woman who has worked hard to earn her independence.  Continue reading Is This Just Fantasy?: Valentine’s Day Special

Alice’s Reading List

alice in wonderlandHaving always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I was stoked for the spin off TV series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, airing on ABC. Though it has been met with some criticism as well as praise, I have loved watching this new spin on the classic tale.  As the show goes into hiatus until the spring, I started thinking, what could I read in the meantime that was similar to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland?  What YA novels out there are spins on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale?  I also thought about how at the beginning of Lewis Carroll’s book Alice states, “…what is the use of a book…without pictures or conversations?”  If Alice saw no use in books without pictures or conversations as a child, would her tastes have changed as she grew up and became a teen?  What would Alice read?

Of course, I had to start digging.  What I came up with is a list of books that Alice may have read as she got older, after her adventures in Wonderland.  The novels I found have direct tie-ins to the Alice tale, they are set in the time that Alice lived, or they are about fantastical journeys similar to the one Alice took when she fell down the rabbit hole.  Check them out and be sure to add any suggestions you think Alice would enjoy!

Continue reading Alice’s Reading List