We are delighted to have Melanie Fishbane, Kids & Teens Editor at Indigo.ca as our guest blogger today in celebration of the release of Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Claire’s new novel. Follow Melanie on twitter @melaniefishbane.
The Superstars of YA
One of my favourite things about being the Kids and Teens Editor for Indigo.ca is seeing all of the amazing books being written and published for teens. As a writer, I am also interested in how these books are written, what choices the author is making in constructing their story and how they go about doing this.
This week marks the release of one of the most anticipated books of the summer, Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel. I had the pleasure of reading an ARC before it was released and I promise, if you loved her Mortal Instruments Series, you will not be disappointed. Indeed, you will see a writer at the height of her craft.
As I said in my review, Clare reinvents Victorian London and the new characters that inhabit it, with such fluidity and grace, that that it was like taking part in a delicious meal of words. Like this description of the city: “The expanse of London stretched away on either bank, the great dome of St. Paul’s looming up behind them like a white ghost, and everything shrouded in the softening fog that laid a gently blurring veil over the harsh lines of the city,” (314); or, how someone moved like the “silent spring of a cat,” (258); or, how their fingers felt like “thin stems of glass against her skin.” (359) All the while brilliantly integrating contemporary book references, the complexities of class and gender during the period, as well as dark family secrets, addiction, and, of course, romantic tension.
Clare’s colleagues and friends, Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier have compiled a cool collection of short stories spawned from an online debate as to which was better, Zombies vs. Unicorns. This collection showcases some of the best YA talent this generation of writers has to offer not only because they are funny, brilliant and heartbreaking, but, because each of them do this with their own distinct style. Just look at these names! Team Zombie, led by Larbalestier consists of: Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan and Scott Westerfeld. Team Unicorn, led by Black, are: Meg Cabot, Kathleen Duey, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik and Diana Peterfreund.
What makes Black and Larbalestier’s conversation (or intense debate) at the beginning of each story so much fun is how they introduced each story as part of a greater conversation. Justine suggests that Alaya Dawn Johnson’s zombies are “neither voudin possessed, nor George Romero slow-shuffling brain eaters. ” Or how Black, loves Meg Cabot hilarious insight as to why “bubble-gum colored riding over rainbows” unicorns are coming back from extinction.
To me, these YA writers write for the intended audience, not down to them, with the style, intelligence and grace of those who understand the craft of writing. This places them among the writers that I look to inspire me (and many others ) to write good stories and to write them well.
Watch the Clockwork Angel trailer: