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Recs? - YA fantasy and SF
...for adult readers!
I enjoy YA f/sf (hence my membership in this community) but I don't feel like I've read a particularly wide range, and I'd like some recommendations. And I'm leery of just picking any series off the shelf in a bookstore. So what's good? What do you recommend? I'm hoping that once I've read it, I can actually go ahead and discuss it here.

And to start things off, here's my rec:
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

LA was one of my favorite authors growing up, and I'm relatively sure I can classify this series as YA rather than children's. It could be considered a kind of LOTR-lite, with a definite leaning toward Welsh mythology, but I've always enjoyed it on repeat readings. It follows the adventures of Taran, Assistant Pig-keeper and his various companions, and though the stories are fairly simple, the characters feel engaging and sympathetic. Five books, each fairly self-contained, though an arc connects the series as a whole: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King(The second book, the Black Cauldron, bears only a partial resemblence to the Disney movie of the same name).
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queenitsy From: queenitsy Date: August 23rd, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I recently finished The City of Ember and am now on its sequel (People of Sparks) by Jeanne DuPrau. They're post apocaplytic scifi (my guess is for the 10-12 range) and pretty awesome. Slightly reminiscent of the Giver, if you enjoyed that.
leeflower From: leeflower Date: August 23rd, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I heartily recommend Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel. It used to be a duology, Crown Duel and Court Duel, but the most recent printings package them as one book. I enjoyed them thuroughly. Interesting worldbuilding, sympathetic characters, strong storyline.
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: August 23rd, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have lots of recs. *grins*

To start with, Winter of Fire, by Sheryl Jordan. It's a post-nuclear-winter (implied, never stated) where a group of people calling themselves the "Chosen" live off the coal mined by the "Quelled". It follows the adventures of a young Quelled girl. It's very beautifully written, in my opinion, lots of good imagery.

The O trilogy, by Maurice Gee - The Halfmen of O, The Priests of Ferris, and Motherstone. In Halfmen, Susan is kidnapped into another world, entered through an old mineshaft, and her cousin Nick follows her. They find a land where every human has been forcibly made only good or evil - and, naturally, only two of the good survive. Susan has to reunite the two Halves and make the people of O whole again. Action/adventure fantasy, with well-drawn characters and a beautiful fantasy world. They have to be read in order, as they play upon each other, but the series as a whole is an excellent examination of consequences and beginnings. Mythological.

Under the Mountain, also by Gee. Two children, staying with their aunt and uncle in Auckland, have to stop a family of aliens from awakening the dangers under the volcanoes of Auckland and taking over the Earth. Unlike the O trilogy, which is Kiwi-inspired but not driven, this is set in modern-day Auckland and very much revolves around the geography and feel of the city.

The Changeover, by Margaret Mahy. Laura Chant's little brother is having the life drained out of him by a demon, and she goes to the enigmatic Sorenson Carlisle, a prefect at her school, for help - convinced he's a witch. This is, above everything, a romance - with no skimping around the issues involved, given the ages of the protagonists (14 and 18.) It manages to combine fantastic magic with the sheer mundanities of life in a lower-class suburb on the outskirts of an expanding city.

I could go on - New Zealand doesn't do adult sf/f, for some reason, but the sheer amount and class of YA sf/f here is heartwarming. The authors above are all prolific, and then there's also Ken Catran (the Deepwater and Solar System trilogies are perhaps _the_ NZ YA sf series) and David Hill (lots of things.)
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: August 23rd, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I recommend the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, starting with So You Want to Be a Wizard. Wizardry here is partly a matter of aptitude, partly of study, but mostly of need and commitment; you find the chance to become one if the universe needs you to devote your life to slowing down entropy. And oh, it is fun. I'm not actually doing very well with description right now, but I'm sure somebody else could add on.

Sabriel and Lirael and Abhorsen by Garth Nix. Sabriel is part of a tradition of sort of anti-necromancers that must regularly lay the Dead back to rest when they've been dragged back upriver and are shambling around. But she wasn't expecting to take over her dad's job quite so early.

Pamela Service has written a whole lot of novels, generally easy reading; she does reuse patterns somewhat, to the point that I started noticing a bit of a formula feeling eventually when I tore through several in a row, but it's a pretty good formula as they go and she does have a lot of variations on it. I may have just overdosed. :P The ones I love best are Weirdos of the Universe, Unite!, in which a couple of kids end up fending off an alien invasion with the help of (among others) Baba Yaga, Siegfried, the Wild Huntsman, and a tribble; and the pair Winter of Magic's Return and Tomorrow's Magic, which is... um... post-nuclear-apocalyptic Arthurian fantasy.

And while we're on Arthurian stuff, everything by Gerald Morris. I think he started with some of the better-known pieces and later proceeded into more obscure bits, and he turns all of them into really fun novelizations which combine fondness for the characters with real foibles and mix seriousness and absolute hilarity wonderfully. I love them.
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