Monday, July 23, 2012

The Wonderful World of Made Up Worlds

I have such a talent for post titles. Truly. You should all bow down to my awesome skillz. Or not. Hi. You're pretty. I really like your nose. And your teeth. 
 I went out to lunch the other day with my wonderful librarian (Also known as Green Bean Teen Queen)  and Maggie. We talked about a bunch of things, many of them deliciously centered in the book world, and one of those things happened to be trends. Trends fascinate me. There is no new story; that's an old adage. Trends, however, take whatever new aspects we might see in a genre and push them into the market. Recently, we've seen the Twilight craze of Paranormal:
And even more recently, we've seen the Dystopian trend explode due to this wonderful book:
Most recently, though, a new trend has started. A new book is coming out that looks absolutely fantastic called A Throne of Glass, and it's not alone in the market. All of a sudden, fantasy novels are back in style. My guess? Game of Thrones has changed the game again. The book is now a hit show, and America -- and for that matter, a lot of the world -- is enthralled.
I'm amused. Fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres. I grew up on Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and most of all, Tamora Pierce. Harry Potter was set in a fantasy world, and those aspects were always some of my favorites; Lord of the Rings is your classic fantasy novel, yet we haven't seen the trend too recently in YA. Still, there are some fantastic fantasy novels in the past five years, and if you're looking for something while waiting for the next George RR Martin, I suggest these:
General Winston's Daughter is fantastic. It is one of the most realistic worlds that I've ever encountered, with breathing characters and a beautifully crafted social structure. 
Enchanted and Entwined are both smart, well done fairy tale mashups set in fantasy worlds. They're both clever and bright reads, without being difficult worlds or random story lines to sift through.
There are these as well:
All of these are relatively recent fantasy novels, all intricately built and easy to read. If you're waiting for fantasy novels after finishing Game of Thrones, there are plenty of books out there to look to now. And if you haven't already, seriously, dude. Read Tamora Pierce.  (But of course you have. Why wouldn't you have? You're much too smart to have never read Tamora Pierce.)
Anyway. More later!