Welcome 2017

It was a year ago last night, as I waited for 2016 to arrive, that the concept of the Mad Chronicler first sprang into being. It is with great pleasure that I say today marks the first year anniversary of this blog. It’s gone through a lot of experiments, and a lot of changes, but I think it came out better for it.

As is customary, I’d like to look at this fledgling year with some hope. I have a lot in mind for my works in progress, including finishing the first draft of a new novel and sending out my manuscript for Dire Fate to be edited by a professional. In terms of books to read, I hope to see more originality in Young Adult novels, but more than that, I hope that New Adult will officially become a thing. So, without further ado, I will turn to the topic of today’s post.

What I Want From New Adult Fiction

I think I’ve been pretty vocal about my distaste in plots that revolve more around the main characters’ romance than it does plot or proper character development. While I hope to see less of this in YA in any case, I sincerely hope that it is left behind completely with the emergence of this new collective age range. (Note: I refuse to call it a genre, because it isn’t, it’s an audience grouping.)

My reading preference is nestled almost completely in fantasy, so I’ll stick with what I know and let you expand on other genres in the comments below. My thought is that NA fiction should be the segue from YA to adult fiction, and thus would ideally rid itself of the pitfalls of each to create a plot that moves fast like YA but focuses more on character development and world-building like adult fiction seems to.

I also hope to see some old YA tropes stay in YA, or disappear altogether. For example, the hero with the tragic past, or the villain whose evil deeds we are supposed to forgive because of his troubled past. (To clarify, I think compassion and empathy are good traits to encourage, but authors have spent so much time trying to make their readers feel pity for the villains that they seem to forgot about the sufferings of the villains’ victims.)

A few other tropes, like the Chosen One/Marked for Greatness or Medieval England 2.0, I don’t mind reading, but would like to see some more variations. It is possible that the protagonist chooses to combat evil, rather than be chosen by others. And there were other societies during Medieval times. For example, did you know that, while England was going through their Dark Ages, India and some other parts of the world were flourishing scientifically. Essentially, I’d like to see more authors looking at novels as an opportunity for creation, and to use that opportunity to its fullest, using the fledgling NA to experiment with tropes that have become far too tired. I’m not saying that NA can never have stories with a similar feel to those in YA, because there are plenty YA novels that I’m absolutely in love with and would thoroughly enjoy seeing translated into the NA age range.

Naturally, NA will be catering to an older audience, and so the novels’ plot and conflict should be drafted in a way to ring true with that audience. As with YA, I’m not expecting my new favorite fantasy characters to be in the same boat as I’m in, necessarily, but NA authors should keep in mind the transitions New Adult (aka college-aged kids) will be going through at this point in life: new-found autonomy and the responsibilities that come with it, trying to expand their knowledge and/or working a job to pay or save up for their near future, etc.

I think I’ve covered everything, but please feel free to expand on my ideas or tell me what you’d like to see in other genres.

Mini Book Reviews

Desert Spear

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Author: Peter V. Brett

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Rating: DNF

I wanted to like this one, because its predecessor, The Warded Man had intrigued me. Unfortunately, the novel was a hefty 579 pages, half of which revolved almost solely around Jardir, who was introduced in Book 1, and whose importance I understood but didn’t care for. I couldn’t read 200 pages of just him before getting to characters I was actually interested in. I tried, but I couldn’t.

The Scorpio Races

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Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Mythological fantasy

Rating: 5 stars

This book is perfection. I mean that in all seriousness. Stiefvater (pronounced Steve-otter, like the animal, if you’ve seen her video) takes a mythology that she was fascinated in as a young person, and makes it real, putting it on a fake island, presumably off the coast of Ireland. Carnivorous horses? Check. Perfect pacing? Check. A beautifully organic romance? Check. Characters you can love? Double check. And if you aren’t hooked yet, then I will also add that this is one of the very few books that I absolutely could not guess the ending of. No clue whatsoever, because all I could think as I was reading was how on earth could this possibly have a happy ending???? It did. Please read. You won’t be sorry.

Frost Like Night

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Author: Sara Raasch

Genre: Epic fantasy

Rating: 3 stars

This was one of those weird books where I could look at glowing reviews and see where the reviewer was coming from, while still thinking this book did very little for me. Some things felt a little rushed and some battle scenes felt a little too cinematic and unrealistic, but perhaps the biggest killer for me was that there wasn’t much in the way of review from the previous book. All the characters Meira and the rest mourn over, I try and fail to figure out why I’m supposed to care, because the names are just words. I would say that it’s fairly well written, but I only read it to finish the series. Overall, personally, I’d say that it was an interesting concept with a rather disappointing delivery.

Books to Add to Your 2017 Reading List

With book reviews now commonplace on my blog, I’d like to start the year by giving you a list of the most memorable books I’d read these past twelve months.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab for its originality of concept. Six Londons, travel between worlds, magic held by the few. It features two very real characters, and is written very well.

Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer for its mash-up of fairy tale stories with a futuristic, semi-steampunk story, a villain you can hate, and a half-dozen romances you will absolutely root for.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for the light and mystical feel to its narrative, its lovely plot, and its mix of black and white imagery. Overall, fantastic and mysterious, just like a night circus out to be.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater for everything I said in my above review, and also for its ability to pull off a brilliant narrative in a stand-alone novel rather than a series.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo for its diverse cast (in terms of race, sexual orientation, disability, and gender) and for its author’s willingness to have societies based on more than just your typical European-style culture. Also, there are loads of strong female characters, and as a bonus, they’re all strong in different ways.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu for its almost overwhelmingly realistic world, for its dark, three-dimensional protagonist, for its beautifully-planned plot, and for those really amazing plot twists.

And, to end as I always do:

Writing Prompt:

“So vampires don’t show up in film or mirrors, right? What if that applies to literally any kind of sensor. You got some 2000-year-old emissary of the night cussing out an automatic soap dispenser.”

“automatic doors. AUTOMATIC DOORS”

“Those light switches that shut down when they sense lack of activity.”

“#my favorite kind of vampire#the [bad] and inconvenienced one”

You can click here for the image version that I took this prompt from, but it’s got a curse word in it that I didn’t want to include, out of respect for those who aren’t a fan of cursing.

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