Sunday, March 22, 2009

After you're done being disappointed by Twilight....

try reading some actually good (great!) examples of young adult paranormal romance. It's an interesting genre, one that has been at least pseudo popular for years. It has just been sadly neglected until Twilight came around. What is my problem with Twilight you might ask? It is essentially a HORRIBLY WRITTEN LOW BUDGET SOAP OPERA. Bella is whiny, annoying, and so full of angst it makes me want to kill myself. Edward is wimpy and the most unattractive example of a vampire hero that I've ever seen. I mean, can we all the say the word Emo? For God's sake, after telling her for the entire book how crappy it is to be a vampire and how he doesn't want that for her, he lets Bella go and ask his family to VOTE on whether she should become a vampire. Oh come on! Let's be real here.

Thus I've been inspired to try and redeem the entire genre, by listing her by author some of the best young adult vampire/werewolf novels out there. Because there are some great ones, with inspiring characters and wonderfully written emotional journeys. Here's my list -

Top 5 Young Adult Paranomal Romance Writers (no particular order)-

1. Robin McKinley - Sunshine
-While this is usually cataloged as an adult novel, I think it's pretty cross generational. In this book McKinley does probably the best job I've ever seen of illuminating the relationship between humans and what is essentially their predators - vampires.
2. L.J. Smith - Night World Series
-Smith's Night World series covers everything from vampires to werewolves, witches to reincarnated souls, all while showing the kind of eternal love that most are looking for. Want to see what Bella and Edward's relationship could have been? Read her first novel Secret Vampire. Enough said.
3. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes - In The Forest of the Night
-Atwater-Rhodes doesn't primarily write romance, but all of her books contain an element of the paranomal. This novel along with Demon In My View have central vampire characters and I higly recommend her work.
4. Rachel Caine - Morganville Vampires Series
-Caine is more noted for her Weather Warden series at the moment, but these Morganville Vampire series are very interesting and appropriate for a younger audience. There's still trials and tribulations in these books, but I actually found myself empathizing with the characters and caring when the 'big bad' mad an appearance on the scene. Also the connection between vampires and main stream society is done much better in these books.
5. Annette Klause - Silver Kiss + Blood and Chocolate
-Hands down, these two novels are the best young adult paranormal romance books in existence. The Silver Kiss deals with vampires, and no one has done a better job at showing the emotional connection between two diametrically opposed creatures, alongside the reality of what it would mean to try and live forever. Plus A+ for a really creepy villian. Vampire children, anyone? Blood and Chocolate made a horrible debut on the silver screen, but the novel maintains as a great werewolf story. Not just a typical tale of a werewolf girl in love with a human boy, Klause again brings in outside factors, like the pack and loyalty to oneself to craft and amazing story of love and redemption.

Honorable Mention: Katie Maxwell - Circus of the Darned
-An amusing story, it follows a psychic girl named Francesca who lives with her mother as members of a GothFaire and her adventures with a young (looking) vampire guy named Benedikt. There are two books in the series as of now, and I recommend them if you're looking for something quick and funny.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes stand—without a leader and without hope.

Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who remembers the Blood’s code of honor and lives by the Old Ways. The woman chosen to rule Dena Nehele, Lady Cassidy, is not beautiful and believes she is not strong. But she may be the only one able to convince bitter men to serve once again.

Every once in a while it is my pleasure to be reintroduced to a world of my childhood. To a time and people and a land filled with mystery and fantasy and the most ideal mixture of darkness and light. Anne Bishop is one of the few authors able to really bring me into this place. Her Dark Jewel Trilogy is one of THE most fantastic fantasy epics every written. The emotion that she writes with is unbelievable, and not something that I think a lot of authors are able to pull off. I do admit that this trilogy is her crowning jewel - most of her others books are decent, but just not up to the same standard. I can't imagine how hard it is to live up those three books. But the Shadow Queen is an admirable new addition to this family. Continuing on the tale of Janelle and the rest of the court of Ebon Askavi, we are introduced to a newer generation of Blood and Kindred, centering on Cassidy, Theran, and Gray. Cassidy is a hurt woman, betrayed by her first court, who finds her future in a land that she's never set foot in before. The complicated relationship that she has with Theran, a man dedicated to Dena Nehele but not to her, and Gray, Theran's cousin, who's pain filled past has stunted both his mental and emotional growth, is a wonderful thing to behold. Again Anne Bishop writes a moving tale of three people finding themselves after their world has gone mad, with the added benefit that she's connected it to the feelings she original stirred up in her first Dark Jewel books. Highly recommended.