I have had the pleasure recently to pick up a few books from authors who are new to the YA scene. I can be a bit mistrustful of new authors, especially if I see book one in a new series. I get so wrapped up in things that I hate waiting a year for the next installment. I would rather wait and start the series when it’s a few books in. In the case of these three, only one is the start of a series and my son bought it for himself and suggested I read it when he was done. Of the other two, one I found at a used bookstore and the other drew me in like a moth to a flame. In all three cases, I was glad I bent my rules.
Museum of Thieves
Museum of Thieves is the first published work by Lian Tanner. I love it. It takes place in a slightly Victorian dystopian society, where everything is clean, safe and civilized. All the children in the city of Jewel wear silver guardchains so that they can be tethered to safety till they turn twelve. Our heroine, Goldie Roth, is excited for her Separation Day ceremony, when she will be unchained for the first time in her life. When one of Jewel’s leaders declares that Separation is cancelled because of a bombing, she steals her freedom and finds her way to the Museum of Dunt. The museum is a magical, TARDIS-like place where the city’s wildness goes when the people decide they don’t want it anymore. Goldie’s story is like a Dickensian fairy tale, with politics and magic thrown in for fun.
The Clockwork Three
This is Matthew Kirby’s first book, and he shows great promise. The story was inspired by a story about a boy named Joseph who lived in New York during the late 1800s. He was kidnapped in Italy and brought to America to be a busker in what amounted to a slave labor situation. He ran away, found an old woman in Central Park who took care of him and eventually helped change the laws so that no other boys could be taken the same way he was. The Clockwork Three takes place in a city like New York in 1873, but different. Half the city is built up and the other half is a wilderness. The main characters are Giuseppe, the street musician, Frederick, an apprentice clockmaker who was rescued from a cruel orphanage, and Hannah, who had to leave school and work after her father had a stroke. All three are trying to make a better life for themselves, and their three stories merge into one as they get to know each other and find out that each knows something the others need to reach their goals.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
This book came out about a week ago. The cover art drew me in, the title sparked my interest and the endorsements had me completely hooked. It won the Andre Norton Award and had quotes from Neil Gaiman, Tamora Pierce, Holly Black and Peter S. Beagle, all talking about how wonderful it was. How could I possibly pass it up? Our fair heroine is a girl named September, who is taken from her house by the Green Wind an the Leopard of Little Breezes. The story is told in a very classical Victorian style, with steampunk overtones. The author writes as though she assumes the reader will know what is going on, or at least figure it out on their own. It is filled with wonderful profound and inspirational moments as September finds out that adventures aren’t quite as easy as they seem in books. This book is the only one written by a previously published author, but this is Catherynne M. Valente’s first book for young audiences, so it counts.