Since I read tons of book blogs specifically about YA fiction, it’s pretty normal for me to see more than five book reviews of the same newly released book in one week. Because I like seeing how different people write reviews, I go ahead and read them all. What I end up finding is that one review tips the scales and convinces me to add that book to my TBR, not because it is such a beautifully-written review, or even because it was a positive review. It’s usually because of one sentence that mentions something that I’m interested in.
I know that recently tons of reviews of A Darker Shade of Magic have been being posted. It’s a fun, well-paced book about magical young man who can travel between different versions of London and starts on a quest to “throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom” (so to speak). But, maybe you haven’t added it to your TBR list yet. Here are three reasons that might tip the scales:
There is no romance.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a good, clean, fun romance (I’m headed straight to you, Rainbow Rowell). But most of the time I would much rather skip the does-he-like-me drama, unconvincing love at first sight (let’s be real and call it hormones or lust), or the brave yet undecided girl-caught-in-a-love-triangle. I think it’s too shallow and narrow-minded to assume that all teens, or all readers have relationship issues and can/want to relate to characters that do. I didn’t and I don’t. I want to read books about friendships with excellent interpersonal character development. A Darker Shade of Magic portrays good light-hearted friendship, cooperation, and playful banter between the main female and male characters.
It’s definitely fantasy, but you don’t have to be a super-nerd to enjoy it.
The Chronicles of Narnia has a wide audience appeal because the fantastical elements don’t require a lot of effort from the reader to grasp, the pacing remains steady, and the invented world doesn’t differ much in appearance from our own. Compare TCON with Lord of the Rings--which fantasy style asks more of the reader? ADSOM uses fantasy and magic in ways very similar to The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter.
It has a great female character.
She’s spunky, pushy, determined, tries to be self-reliant, and keeps a positive attitude. She has big goals that she’s working towards (though I wouldn’t say her goals and line of work are exactly something you should aspire to follow). She’s clever and quick-witted. And she has some obvious flaws. Sometimes she appears more like a cartoon character than a real-live person we might encounter in the world, but the key thing here is that she’s not simply a vessel (skip to ‘Exhibit A’).
Did I convince you yet? If you’ve read ADSOM already, can you think of more reasons to convince potential readers?