Eat, drink and be scary!

October 27, 2011

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”   Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

There is an abundant crop of imaginative new dystopian fiction for young adults ready to harvest this fall, and we’d like to tell you a bit more about 3 of our favorites…

Ashes, Ilsa J. Bick
Dystopic books rule, and this book is the new king of the pile! Alexandra is in the back country to spread her parents’ ashes at a favorite spot, when the world she knows comes to an end. An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is broadcast across the world, and the consequences are devastating. Alex is witness to the death of 10-year-old Ellie’s grandfather. Later, when they are attacked by deranged humans, they are rescued by Tom, and this fledgling “family” must somehow learn to survive on this new and terrible version of Earth. When the three decide to walk out of the woods to find other survivors, the tale becomes even more compelling and fast-paced—and a little creepy. Readers will be clamoring for the sequel.  – Margaret Brennan Neville, Egmont, $17.99 (14 and up) Limited signed copies available.

The Death Cure, James Dashner
As the final installment in James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy, The Death Cure does not disappoint. The mind-eating virus, nick-named The Flare, is steadily infecting those closest to Thomas. With close friends now infected, Thomas is forced to hastily decide whether or not he will help WICKED, the government organization set in place to find a cure for the ravening disease, or if he should instead stick with his gut and get as far away from WICKED’s headquarters as geographically possible. Just as The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trial hooked readers on the fast-paced and multi-adventurous narrative, The Death Cure will keep readers glued to its pages from start to finish. – Rachel Heath, Delacorte, $17.99 (12 and up) Limited signed copies available.

Crossed, Ally Condie
Local author Ally Condie’eagerly awaited sequel to Matched has been worth the wait! Readers get to hear both Ky and Cassia’s point of view in alternating chapters. Both characters are willing to take risks, to find the other. In the much harsher environment of the Outer Province, Ky struggles to save his own life, and Cassia is desperate to find him. But Xander is not out of the picture, and he surprises Cassia over and over again. The twists and turns of the story bring this dystopian love story to a surprising place. This is a sequel that lives up to the excitement and promise of the first book, a very difficult thing to do!  — Margaret Brennan Neville, $17.99, Penguin (12 and up) Meet Ally and get your copy signed at the bookstore on Tuesday, November 1 at 7 p.m.

The Night Circus & Ashes

October 25, 2011

By Betsy Burton

Once in a while a book appears that is what we in the book business call a crossover—a book that sells to adults and to young adults as well. The Night Circus, a new adult novel, has the magic and romance that make it a natural for young adults and we probably sell as many copies of Ashes, a so-called “young adult” novel to grownups as we do to kids.

Erin Morganstern’s glittering The Night Circus is the story of two young people raised to be competitors in an unwilling game of magical mastery. The game’s board is a black and white circus which travels the world and is open only at night, each of its tents its own magical universe, one more astounding than the next. The tale’s players are the circus creators and denizens, colorfully imagined and artfully wrought; around the edges of this magically imagined world lurk two grey men who pull the strings of the couple at the tale’s center: Celia and Marco. Are they destined for the competition for which they have both been trained almost from birth? Or are they meant for the love that likewise seems their fate? Who can they trust and to whom should they be loyal?

In Ashes that same issue haunts Alex. On a hike in the northern woods to mourn her dead parents, she encounters a belligerent young girl and her grandfather. The grandfather dies, suddenly and violently and for some reason everything that is digitally powered goes dead as well. As Alex, the child she adopts, and a young soldier team up, it is hard to tell not just who can be trusted but worse, who is or is not human.

In their very different ways Ashes and The Night Circus are prototypical fairy tales, full of dark undercurrents that delve into hidden recesses of the human psyche. Both are tales of survival in a world gone mad. But the real magic in each is a story that holds the reader in thrall from one luminous, terrifying page to the next.

ERIN MORGENSTERN is a writer and multimedia artist who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another. She lives in Massachusetts and this is her first novel.

ILSA J. BICK is a child psychiatrist, film scholar, former Air Force major, and full time author. She also wrote the award-winning, Draw the Dark and lives in rural Wisconsin.

Previously broadcast on KUER, 90.1.