YA and fantasy

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by GiovanniDeFeo, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    Have you read any YA fantasy recently (or in the past, if you ever read some YA classics).
    What is that for you makes a fantasy YA? Does it matter to you?
    (And if it does is it a good thing or a bad thing?)
     
  2. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    A young protagonist and broadly accessible writing. Typically there's the glaring issue of "why isn't an adult handling this?" Oh thank God we have this 15 year old to save us! There's a lot of overlap with accessible, PG-rated adult fantasy bildungsroman, like Wheel of Time. Most teenagers who like to read fantasy probably would love ASoIaF and other well-written adult fantasy; I know I did.

    Red Rising and its sequels are probably the best YA I've ever read. I'd also put Harry Potter and Ready Player One near the top. I consider most of Sanderson's work to be essentially YA, even those not directly marketed as YA: Elantris and Mistborn as well as the YA series Reckoners, Rithmatist, etc.
     
  3. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    I read quite a bit and enjoy some. :)
     
  4. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    I think we had this discussion before and I tend to agree with your description of YA but for whatever reason I still like to go with a sort of "movie" rating system as well. I don't ever expect YA to delve much in to the NC-17 or R territory so to speak.

    And I think you are absolutely right about Red Rising being the best out there and part of it for me was that it leaned a lot more adult than most of what I would call YA. That is why I had some trouble classifying it strictly as YA.

    I want to add in The Tapestry series by Henry H Neff as well as one I would rate pretty highly. Not sure how well known/liked it is but I feel like in the few times YA is mentioned I am the only one who sees fit to mention it lol. I am going to have to check out Ready Player One, have never heard of it.
     
  5. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    You'll want to read it before the movie comes out in March! Spielberg is directing, so the movie will most likely be great, but the book deserves to be read first.
     
  6. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    So it is a standalone?
     
  7. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    Yes it is! Which now that I think about it is pretty good evidence for how great the book is, that it got enough Hollywood money to justify a Spielberg budget despite no (hopefully!) room for sequels...
     
  8. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    Hey everyone... good food for thought.

    I was thinking specifically about a Wrinkle in Time which yes is YA and yet is absolutely outstanding + outlandish stuff. Same is for Margo Lanagan's stuff and Frances Hardinge's (read the Lie Tree, thank me later).

    The problem ... is that 'yet'. I have a feeling that there is so much bad YA , and especially so much YA crap fantasy that when I read the "YA fantasy" tag I cringe. Is it just me?
     
  9. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    I went and read the description and it sounds pretty fun. Do you have any other recommendations along similar lines?
     
  10. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    Ready Player One sucked me into the LitRPG genre, which is a cesspool of bad writing (or more like, bad Russian --> English translation), but is often quite fun. Awaken Online was the best of them and is worth a read, imo. Way of the Shaman might not be for everyone, but I originally liked it, right up until the last couple of pages in book 5 that kind of made me wish I'd never picked up the series. It's kind of astonishing how quickly the author was able to destroy the integrity of a decent series. There's a bunch of similarly 'meh' anime series like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon that explore the "protagonist is in a virtual reality video game" idea, too.
     
  11. Noor Al-Shanti

    Noor Al-Shanti Philosophizes with Kellhus

    It won't let me quote so copy-pasting old style...

    "The problem ... is that 'yet'. I have a feeling that there is so much bad YA , and especially so much YA crap fantasy that when I read the "YA fantasy" tag I cringe. Is it just me?"

    I totally agree with you. There's this avalanche of Twilight-like YA or stuff that could be ok, but it's so predictable there's no fun in it anymore. And so many YA fantasies tend to have their plots buried under so much drama that it's hard to stomach for me personally. So yeah, I do read and enjoy YA from time to time, but I also don't really like the label much and I cringe when it's applied to the good stuff because I feel like the label itself now just brings to mind all the badly written examples...
     
  12. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    You can use the reply button under the post you want to quote rather than the +quote button.

    I do treat a YA descriptor as a warning that I should do my due diligence before buying, so I haven't had too many bad experiences. There's an impressive quantity of adult fantasy that is also crap, and the R-rated content can just raise the stakes on that crappiness. My hypothesis is that you're much more practiced at ignoring/bypassing shitty adult fantasy than you are with YA.
     
  13. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    Interesting point. Why do you think is that? And what does specifically fail in YA fantasy when they do fail?​
     
  14. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    Can you expand on that? I am not sure what you mean.
     
  15. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    I watched SAO and while the premise was interesting the execution never lived up to anything worth mentioning. Will give Awaken Online a look as well to see if it is something I will pick up.
     
  16. Noor Al-Shanti

    Noor Al-Shanti Philosophizes with Kellhus

    By drama I meant like teen relationship drama... so many pages are wasted on the main character angsting over their girlfriend or boyfriend liking them or not it's silly...
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  17. Cyphon

    Cyphon Journeyed there and back again

    To be fair that is an accurate portrayal of teenage life lol.

    I always thought that made for interesting discussion. Should an author go for extreme accuracies in certain instances if said topics are boring when presented that way or should they aim more towards the entertainment side of things. Even though a part of me wants to respect an author for getting things right the bigger part of me simply wants to be entertained and enjoy what I am reading and teen angst is awful.
     
  18. Noor Al-Shanti

    Noor Al-Shanti Philosophizes with Kellhus

    lol, too true, too true. But I am definitely in the "just entertain me and skip the drama" camp.
     
  19. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Young Adult for me has features such as most of the deaths being "offscreen" and toned down, and angry characters never swearing. These two things made them hard for me to to get into for a long time. And yeah, I imagine that most teenage fantasy fans are gonna want to read most adult fantasy novels, especially since most Adult labeled stuff can be comprehended by 8th graders.
     
  20. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    This. That's why YA fantasy... wtf? I mean, I read the whole LOTR when I was 12, so just into my early teenagerhood. I think that's why the category escapes me entirely. I mean, I ALSO write for kids, but I would never dream of writing something just for them, especially because at that age you are consciously trying to push the bar up... Children literature I have no problem understanding, it's really the YA slot that I can't grasp.
     

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