Friday, February 8, 2008

Branching out

I don't ordinarily read YA (teen) novels, but I had been told that they can be just as interesting and well-written as adult novels. So I have dipped my toe in, and I've found the waters surprisingly pleasant. My first YA read was General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn. A fantasy novel set in an alternate world, it actually reads like a Regency romance. Averie’s father is the general of a colonizing army, and she sails to the conquered land of Chiarrin to join him and her fiancĂ©, a handsome young Colonel. Chafing at the social and political constraints imposed upon her by her conservative culture, Averie is intrigued by Lieutenant Ket Du’kai – a native of another conquered territory. Once she has reached her father’s new outpost, she begins to push her limits as she adopts local customs, befriends a Chiarrin merchant girl, and begins questioning the imperialistic policies of her homeland. Along the way, she realizes that perhaps true happiness lies with brooding Ket, rather than her stolid – and boring – Colonel. Local unrest and guerilla attacks bring issues of trust, loyalty and politics to a head, and readers may be surprised by the way the story ends (or not - I suspected the big plot twist pretty early on). There are obvious parallels with the situation in Iraq, but I won't dwell on them. This is a very light novel that reads quickly and doesn’t particularly challenge the reader, but it is romantically satisfying. Give it a try - you may find yourself drawn in to the world of YA literature.

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