I'm at a conference and don't have much time, but I was just reading China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, and things are heating up but slowly. It's been an interesting, engaging, simmering start, with no particular direction.
And, aside from being enormously impressed at the descriptions and inventiveness of the story so far, that is what I noticed. All the (effective, enjoyable, successful) YA fantasy I've been reading has a fast start. The Forest of Claws and Teeth, for instance, starts in the title. There's a confrontation involving two main characters (I'm trying not to confuse them with Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow of duPrau's Ember series, but I just did), and then the world falls apart. Fast.
But that's not even the whole picture. What's missing from PSS and other grown-up works (Years of Rice and Salt, Stone Raft) I've read is the dream. In each of the YA fantasy novels, the main character, the protagonist, has a dream. Lina dreams of her imagined city. Katniss Everdeen dreams of keeping Prim safe. Alanna in Songs of the Lioness dreams of doing great deeds as a knight.
And now I'm late for the exhibit hall. Cheers.
- Steve Shea
- A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!