Monday, May 31, 2010

the FAERIE post: reflections on my experiece with faerie fiction in YA

Never say never. Two summers ago I read two books back-to-back that were very similar to each other: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Tithe by Holly Black. I haven't read any other faerie stories since; actually, after I finished Tithe, I vowed I would never, ever read about faeries again. I'm not much for histrionics, so I meat it...then.

It's my observation that YA books with "supernatural" characters: werewolves, vampires, faeries, etc., can easily fall into stereotypes. Now I have heard that the Twilight series' take on vampires is different from other authors out there, and one friend in particular is a fan of the Vampire Academy series because she says that the series has a much more creative take on vampires. I don't know - Twilight series is the only vampire series I've read (unless you count The Mortal Instruments, which I don't really) but when it comes to faeries, there doesn't seem to be a lot of variety. What Holly Black and Melissa Marr seemed to tell me through their stories is that
1) faeries are amoral
2) faeries are screwballs with not much of a conscience (which fits the "amoral" #1) and
3) they have a thing for a typical, modern, rather-ordinary human girl. Why?

The modern girl usually always turns out to be some kind of long-lost faerie relation, but that predictability is one that I don't mind so much. After all, fairy tales are pretty predictable, too, but the main thing I didn't like about those two books was how dark and edgy they were. It didn't work for me: instead of suspense, I felt like I reading a faerie-version of "The O.C." Melodrama to the extreme! And disgusting love interests, too. Actually now, I didn't really mind Roiben that much, but Marr...well, I've talked about her already. But what really bothered me the most was the thought that this is what faerie fiction is. Instead of tricksters and mischievous characters, we get practically-nihilistic characters that would give Nietzsche something to smile about. The reason I pick on faeries and not vampires or werewolves is not only because I've read more faerie work, but also because I write on faeries. I think the characterizations employed by Tolkien for his elves (elves and faeries being culturally synonymous) is much more practical.
Or take a page from Shakespeare - his fairies are lovable tricksters.

Anyway, curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I am rather looking forward to reading these two books:

I've heard that they're different from Black and Marr's works, but I don't know exactly. Are they different in tone/story, or are they like the others? I've also been told that The Iron King is similar (a bit) to Labyrinth, one of my absolute favorite films. That's a plus!

Faerie fiction is obviously very popular nowadays. Any suggestions of books/series other than these 4?

Reading Stats

Books Completed
The Shadow Hunt - Katherine Langrish
Perchance to Dream - Lisa Mantchev

Books Reviewed
The Shadow Hunt
Perchance to Dream
Wildwood Dancing

Notable Posts
Interview with author Katherine Langrish
How It All Ends

Currently Reading...

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

Up Next...
The Spook's Nightmare - Joseph Delaney
The Golden Spiral - Lisa Mangum
The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa

And introducing my new affiliate....Christina T from Reading Extensively!

Christina's books read
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
For Keeps by Natasha Friend
My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald

Her reviews
The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald

Have a great reading week!
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