spock: logic is sexy

Book recs wanted

Having just finished (and adored) the Hunger Games trilogy, I have determined that I wish to read more young adult sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian future stories. Female protagonists are desired but not required. I should probably confess that I know the Tortall books are widely loved, but no matter how many times I pick them up at the bookstore, I somehow cannot summon the desire to read them.

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Some of my favorites, not all young adult:

A Fistful of Sky - Nina Kiriki Hoffman (urban fantasy, female protagonist)
Feed - M.T. Anderson (dystopian, male protagonist)
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (dystopian, male protagonist)
Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder (fantasy, female protagonist)
Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs (fantasy, male protagonist)
The Hob's Bargain - Patricia Briggs (fantasy, female protagonist)

Edited at 2010-11-27 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the Poison Study rec - I just finished the first volume, and I loved it!
Feel free to ignore this!
ZOMG the Tortall books are so so so good. But start with Protector of the Small Quartet because the Lioness Quartet would be a disappointing introduction since they are her first books and while good... they do have some issues that I think adults find harder to overlook. Seriously, I've reread Protector of the Small several times and each time I get addicted. Kel is a great hero because she doesn't have magic or anything other than her incredible strength of will to get her through.

Okay, there's my spiel... I totally understand the feeling of not wanting to read stuff despite hearing good things but I think I am safe in saying if you give First Test a read you will almost certainly be hooked. And it's a fast read anyway so you don't have anything to lose!

I was going to try to rec other things but sadly I haven't been reading much teen fiction lately.

Edited at 2010-11-27 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Feel free to ignore this!
The Lioness Quartet holds up better if you look at as children's lit rather than YA, I think; it has the same kind of "a thing happened, and then another thing happened, and then something else happened" effect with little by way of unifying theme. Protector of the Small is my favorite (and my first Pierce books), although I am deeply fond of the the way she fleshed out the magic in Immortals (rampaging zombie fossils yay!).

Mostly I'm here to advise against going anywhere near Trickster's Choice/Trickster's Queen -- it's very White Man's Burden-y, the tradecraft is awful and the protagonist's middle name may as well be "Powerup".


(And to recommend doubly the Beka Cooper books -- prequels -- but not on dead tree: they're in a twee journal format, and IMO much better listened to on audio than read.

For worldbuilding that's better planned out, and an in-world view that's grayer [Tortall is frequently quite black and white], the Circle of Magic books are quite good, but again, the first four are definitely children's lit rather than YA.)
Re: Feel free to ignore this!
Protector of the Small were my first Pierce books too! :] And Immortals is my second favourite series (a very close second). I definitely agree with you about Trickster's Choice/Queen. I thought the writing was good but I cared more about the little bits of Daine, Numair, and Kel we got to see. Something about Alanna and Aly has always bugged me but maybe it is that both their middle names seem to be "powerup."

I love Beka Cooper, even on dead tree. But I can't do audio books so.. Yep.

I still haven't read the Circle of Magic books but I plan on it soon.

Edited at 2010-11-27 10:18 pm (UTC)
Re: some of my classics and interesting 2010 reads
I second Tithe/Valiant/Ironside if you are down with faeries/other supernatural creatures. :]
some of my classics and interesting 2010 reads:

Feed - Mira Grant (sc-fi/dystopian, female protagonist)

Tithe/Valiant/Ironside series - Holly Black (dark urban fantasy, female protagonists)

The White Cat - Holly Black (male protagonist, dark fantasy)

Poison - Chris Wooding (DARK fantasy, female protagonist)

Zombies vs. Unicorns - short story collection (uh. various. and various.)

Ash - Malinda Lo (fantasy, female protagonist)

And a much older, very interesting example is The Changeover, by Margaret Mahy.
Anything, anything by Octavia Butler but specifically:

Parable of the Sower

and

Dawn
Adulthood Rites
and Imago.
These three are sometimes bundled under "Lilith's Brood."

Female protagonists, sci-fi, social conscious without beating you over the head with it, and just plain good writing.
Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. It's a ghost story, though more fantasy than spooky. There's even a ghost kitty. The protagonist, Jenny, is a strong character with a strong voice. It involves strong friendships between young women.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, whenever you're in the mood for something light (but with heavy undertones). It concerns a couple of alien invasions and a kick-ass heroine nicknamed Tip (her mom - who's not the sharpest tool in the shed - thought Gratuity meant something else *g*). I found it very funny. Also nice: Tip is a POC.

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee. It's the first in a series (fantasy, kind of dystopian) but subsequent books weren't as good. Fortunately, Wolf Tower is a complete story by itself.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is about a boy, but it's set in a future dystopia, and I thought it was chillingly brilliant. The sequels were good but not as good.
The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce; it's the kind of book that's un-put-downable and the worldbuilding is magnificent and it hits me right in the sci-fi buttons. Also with the in-world gray morality (it's a series that's unafraid to let its protagonist be wrong. I love it very much for that.).

Also, it's children's lit but The Windsinger Trilogy is one of my favorite books of all time, this time because it hits my creepy buttons (definitely sci-fi, definitely dystopic, very creepy all 'round), and because it's my very favorite portrayal of twins in any piece of literature ever.
The Abhorson Trilogy by Garth Nix (awesome female heroines)
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

These are, I think, my two favorite YA series.
trying to rec things other people haven't . . .
I don't know what you've already read in the YA fantasy realm, but I think the biggest recommendation for YA fantasy, etc. that I have is Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief and sequels. I loved them quite a bit. They're sort of set in an alternate Greece. Main character is male but there's an amazingly strong woman in the later ones.

Juliette Mariller wrote a handful of YA-ish books with vampires that are not like Stephenie Meyer's vampires; the first one is Wildwood Dancing. They're historical YA fantasy set in eastern Europe. Lots of strong, intelligent women.

There's always Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville. Two protagonists, one identifying as male and one female.

One of Cory Doctorow's books was sort of dystopian--actually, most of 'em are, but I was thinking of Little Brother, but CD's hit and miss for me, depending on how badly his "Nice Guy(TM)" is showing.

I unfortunately tend to avoid dystopian fantasy because I usually don't like it (I couldn't stand the Uglies books for various reasons) but, well, I'm sure this is enough to start!

(Also, I vastly prefer the Song of the Lioness quartet to the Keladry quartet, but it may be because of at what age I read each of them.)
Have you read the Sabirel books, and/or the Alanna books?

Aaaaaaaaaannd both of those have already been recommended, whoops.

Edited at 2010-11-28 03:24 am (UTC)
I strongly second the Abhorsen trilogy (Garth Nix), the Queen's Thief series (Megan Whalen Turner), and His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman).

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (aka sartorias) - YA fantasy, female protagonist.

Green Rider series by Kristen Britain - fantasy, female protagonist. 3 books so far, 4th due out in February!