BOOK REVIEW: Frostborn by Lou Anders

REVIEW SUMMARY: Lou Anders’s debut novel for young readers is an engaging and fun fantasy adventure. Younger readers will enjoy the novel and find identifiable characters while older readers will enjoy the rich world.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fluid storytelling, engaging characters and spectacular worldbuilding.
CONS: Some dialogue felt forced, some characters a little telegraphed (though that may be because of my age).
BOTTOM LINE: Were I the target age for Frostborn, I would have gobbled up this book. At my current age I enjoyed and want more Thrones and Bones.

Thrones and Bones is not just the series title for Lou Anders’s debut novel Frostborn, it is also the game with which Karn, one of the novel’s young protagonists, is obsessed. Our other protagonist, the young half-giant Thianna, is an outsider in her land because of her dual heritage. Of course their paths intertwine in Anders’ Norse-inspired fantasy, set in the land of Norrøngard, with undead kings, Afterwalkers (undead warriors), magic horns, wyverns, dragons and dead cities.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Holly Kench! – Sarah Chorn

Holly Kench is a writer and a feminist, with a classics degree and a fear of spiders. She lives in Tasmania, Australia, where a lack of sun provides ample opportunity for hiding indoors and writing off-kilter stories. Holly writes about her life as a stuffed olive on her blog Confessions of a Stuffed Olive and manages the website Visibility Fiction, promoting and publishing inclusive young adult fiction.

Boxes and Labels

by Holly Kench

I love young adult fiction. I love it for at least a million reasons, but one of those is that, as teenagers, the characters of young adult fiction are navigating identities and choosing (or being slotted into) certain definitions and labels. We’re always in this process as adults too, but as teenagers, the process is heightened and inescapable. It’s part of the reason being a teenager is so fraught with angst and terror and misunderstandings. But it also means that, as readers and writers of YA, we get a rare opportunity to explore certain identities as they develop.
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Twelft Planet Press has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

Here’s the book description:

Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.

Featuring New York Times bestselling and award winning authors along with newer voices: Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar, William Alexander, Karen Healey, E.C. Myers, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, Sean Williams, Amal El-Mohtar, Jim C. Hines, Faith Mudge, John Chu, Alena McNamara, Tim Susman, Gabriela Lee, Dirk Flinthart, Holly Kench, Sean Eads, and Shveta Thakrar

What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories!

Here’s the table of contents…
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Detcon1 Announces the Detcon1 Awards for Young Adult and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction.

Press release follows…
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Julia Rios writes all sorts of things, hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction), and is one of the three fiction editors at Strange Horizons. Her fiction, articles, interviews, and poetry have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Stone Telling, Jabberwocky, and several other places. She’s half-Mexican, but her (fairly dreadful) French is better than her Spanish.

Kaleidoscope: A Diverse YA SF and Fantasy Anthology

by Julia Rios

I’ve always been interested in promoting diversity in the SF field. I’m a bisexual woman of color, so in some ways, that’s a purely selfish drive. I want to see myself reflected in the stories I read. But it’s not limited to that; I also want everyone else to have the chance to see themselves, and I want to see stories about people who aren’t like me. This is why I am so excited about the book I am co-editing with Alisa Krasnostein.
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Patrick Ness’ CHAOS WALKING Headed to Film

The latest book adaptation news (from Variety) is that Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking is coming to film, possibly to be directed by Robert Zemeckis.

The Chaos Walking trilogy — comprised of the books The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men and a trio of short stories — is a young adult dystopian science fiction series in which all living beings can hear each other';s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. The books have their young protagonists dealing with several moral issues and the series has been praised for its treatment of themes, which include gender issues and the gray area between good and evil.

Right now, Variety reports that Charlie Kaufman is writing the script and Robert Zemeckis may direct the film.

BOOK REVIEW: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

REVIEW SUMMARY: The third book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series joins Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), Jason Grace (son of Jupiter) and other Greek and Roman demigods in a quest to save the world from the destructive awakening of Gaia, goddess of the Earth.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Seven teenage demigods of prophecy race to Rome to save one of their own and to thwart Gaia, one of the most powerful gods in mythology. Gaia sends giants and other mythological creatures against them. And the Roman demigods are threatening the Greek demigods camp. All while the teenage demigods act like…well…teenagers.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Full of Greek and Roman mythology; fast paced; suitable for kids, young adults and adults. And flying ships! And Riordan is from San Antonio!
CONS: Gotta wait for at least one more and maybe two in the series.
BOTTOM LINE: Rick Riordan gets my vote (and my family’s vote) to fill the void left by the end of the Harry Potter series. The books include well-researched Greek and Roman mythology, very ‘human’ demigods and gods, lots of humor and ‘save-the-world’ action.

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SFFWRTCHT: An Interview with Author/Shakespeare Expert A.J. Hartley

New York Times Bestselling Author A.J. Hartley has written mystery-thrillers, middle grade and adult fantasy, historical fiction and Shakespeare novelizations. Born in Northern England, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he specializes in the performance history, theory and criticism of Renaissance English drama and works as a director and dramaturg. His middle grade fantasy novel, Darwen Arkwright and Peregrine Pact was just awarded SIBA’s Young Adult Book of The Year this month. His novels include two Darwen books, The Mask Of Atreus, On The Fifth Day, What Time Devours and Tears Of The Jaguar, the Hawthorne Saga fantasy novels, including Act Of Will, MacBeth: A Novel with David Hewson, and several academic and nonfiction books. An active member and contributor to the popular www.magicalwords.net blog along with authors like David B. Coe and Faith Hunter, he can be found online at Facebook, at his website at http://ajhartley.net/ or at www.magicalwords.net.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt talks to A.J. Hartley about his career and his exciting future projects.


SFFWRTCHT: When did you become interested in storytelling and writing and how did you get started? Studying in school? Experimenting? Workshops? Trial and error?

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ChiZine Publications to Launch ChiTeen, a New Young Adult Imprint

ChiZine Publications has announced the launch of a new imprint, ChiTeen, that will publish Young Adult fiction.

From the press release:
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Cover & Synopsis: “Curses! Foiled Again” by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro

From the First Second catalog comes word of the upcoming young adult graphic novel Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro, the sequel to Foiled.

Here’s the synopsis:

Aliera Carstairs is back. This time she’s got her cousin—and best friend—Caroline in tow, and the stakes are higher than ever. The realm of Seelie, the fairy kingdom of which Aliera is the hereditary defender, is under attack, and only Aliera and Caroline can set things right. Caroline, fragile and wheelchair-bound, may seem like more of a liability than an asset, but Aliera knows there’s more to her quiet cousin than meets the eye. Curses! Foiled Again is Jane Yolen at her best, reunited with her partner in crime, the fabulously talented illustrator Mike Cavallaro.

Book info as per Amazon US:

  • Reading level: Ages 11 and up
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; First Edition edition (January 8, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1596436190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436190