Monday, October 25, 2010
This is Halloween
This week is Halloween. I never think I am a huge fan of Halloween, but then, in the weeks leading up to October 31st I seem to love scary costumes and cutting pumpkins into amusing shapes. Here is where I should probably write about YA horror books, but I am a big fat wimp and really hate that stuff. I don't get a thrill out of horror books/movies, I just feel terribly unsettled for the rest of the night. So instead I will recommend something that is kind of close to horror (but really not at all): paranormal fiction.
Paranormal fiction is scary in the way that it usually involves things like werewolves and vampires, only it's actually not scary because these werewolves and vampires are just like us! But more mysterious. And attractive (sometimes).
Lately paranormal fiction, and especially paranormal YA fiction, has been very popular. This gets largely credited to Stephenie Meyer. I just wrote three sentences concerning that and deleted them all because of unsportsmanlike conduct, so I'll just continue.
I sometimes think I don't like stories with vampires/werewolves/demons etc., but lately I've come to realize that when I think this, I am completely delusional. Because, you guys, I think I love them. There are some really well-written novels out there about werewolves and their (surprisingly) varied brethren.
Specifically, let's talk about an Irish author I like named Sarah Rees Brennan. Sarah published her debut novel, The Demon's Lexicon, in 2009 with Simon & Schuster. Now, as someone in denial about her love for demons et al, I was skeptical about the title, but I read the first chapter on Sarah's blog and was pretty much immediately hooked by her writing style. The Demon's Lexicon universe is compelling and original, but what I think is the real strength of Sarah's writing is the way she presents relationships between people, and specifically familial relationships. Nick and Alan, two of the central characters of the book, will break your heart. In a good way.
This is another one of those books where I can't say too much for fear of spoiling things, should any of you choose to read this book (or the second in the trilogy—did I mention it's a trilogy?—The Demon's Covenant). But I will say that the author is outspoken about featuring strong women in her books, and this is another thing I love about the book: women in it are unapologetically fierce, demanding and, even when thinking romantic thoughts about Nick and/or Alan (listen, you don't understand. It happens. They can't help it), maintain their independence and rational thought. I know some books lead you to believe this is impossible, but it's not! It's actually very refreshing and realistic.
Do you want to read it yet? I hope you do. I kind of want to read it again. Maybe I will.