Young adult fantasy isn't just for teenagers - in fact, it's widely read by adults who enjoy a fantastical story but who don't want to run into content issues they might encounter in some more mature novels, or who enjoy good storytelling wherever it may be found.
Today I'm featuring two novels released within the last month that show just how much this genre can be enjoyed by readers of any age.
First is The Golden Spiral, by Lisa Mangum. When I first picked up The Hourglass Door, which is the first novel in this series, I was completely flabbergasted by Mangum's lovely writing style. Some elements of the story reminded me a little of Twilight - girl meets amazingly handsome guy at school, notices he has unusual abilities, becomes attached to him - but that's where the similarity ends. Mangum brings a touch of sheer artistry to her storytelling which I greatly appreciated. In The Golden Spiral, that artistry continues as we follow Abby, the main character, on her quest to save not only her dashing young man, but her friends and her family from the plan concocted by Zo, the enemy they made in the first book. He has taken control of the river of time and is targeting Abby, making her loved ones disappear as though they never existed anywhere but in her own mind. She must hang on to every shred of sanity she possesses to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and summon courage she didn't know she had. These books are considered urban fantasy, taking place on our world but with fantastic elements.
Second is The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover. Ember and Kayla each have extraordinary gifts, and they each have an extraordinary role to play in saving their world, Rasann, from total destruction. The world has been broken into pieces and the only thing keeping it from falling apart is the band of magic which is woven around it and strengthened daily by the efforts of the mages of the land, each bringing their own color of magic to the mix. A white mage, one who possesses all the colors of magic, is what the world really needs, but one has not been seen for three thousand years.
As we go with these two young ladies on their separate, but very connected, journeys, we learn that it is only through trusting themselves that they can unlock the powers they each hold. They face opposition, danger, and fear of the unknown, but as they gain strength in their callings and in what they know is right, they rise up to their challenges and prepare to take their place in mending their broken land.
This is the first novel for Karen E. Hoover, and is considered high fantasy, meaning that it takes place entirely in another land and time.
Fantasy is the best-selling genre on the market right now, and it's really no wonder. With the power these books, and others like them, have to lift us up out of our current situations and show us all that might be possible, we turn to them for comfort much the way movie-goers turned to the musicals of the 1930s and 1940s for comfort in the aftermath of the Great Depression and during World War II. There's something about good entertainment during trying times that gives us hope and a little break from the daily grind, strengthening us to go back at it the next day.
Tristi Pinkston is an author, editor, and media reviewer, sometimes consuming over 300 books a year. She enjoys movies, scrapbooking, being unpredictable, and sharing her opinions. You can visit her blog here.