Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Does Young Adult ALWAYS have to have Young Adult protagonists?

Phew! Well I’m back guys – and yes it is me this time! The Man in Shadow’s plan to take over my blog failed miserably as everyone saw through his lies! I’m kinda embarrassed that he let me get the drop on me to be honest. Turns out that he, one of my characters, had become self aware and he had become more powerful than I imagined! He was the one that had been trolling me for the last few days.

 

Thankfully, Zarracka stopped him and rescued me. I did have a whole fight scene planned but... well, I don’t have a Michael Bay budget. Basically, this is how the fight went!

 

 

 
 

Yeah... kinda anticlimactic I know. Oh well.

 

Anyhoo, moving on. Today’s post is something that I wanted to talk about because of something that happened recently – which got me thinking.

 

About a week or so ago, I completed a new Young Adult novel, and I found a publisher that I thought would be pretty good for it (I never published through a publisher before so I thought, why not?). Also, as this book had a Disney/Pixar influence, I hoped that would catch their attention. It did and they agreed to read the manuscript. A few days back, I got some feedback from them, saying that they didn’t consider it a Young Adult novel as the main protagonist was in her twenties.

 

My first initial reaction was – really? Ok, that’s not a bad comment at all, but it was a little strange. See, I may be totally showing my ignorance here, but I always thought that Young Adult (as well as New Adult, Adult, etc) was simply there to differentiate the age range of your target audience and the age of your protagonist shouldn’t determine that.

 

Well, after putting it across on Facebook to my friends, a few of which are authors themselves, the general consensus is that Young Adult novels are stories that have a protagonist that is between 13-18 years of age. This is apparently something that publishers adhere to quite strictly from what I hear (if anyone can confirm or deny this, please leave a comment below) and I suppose it makes sense. After all, if you have a target audience in mind, you obviously want to put a character in there that your audience can latch onto and follow the story. This is probably why Harry Potter was so popular as a character – not just that he did magic, but because he grew up like a real human with each passing story. So I don’t entirely blame the publishers for that.

 

However, to quote a conflicting argument from a FB friend – isn’t this “Somewhat flawed logic”, and mentioned a book called Room, which is apparently told from the POV of a 5 year old boy. By that logic, it could be considered a children’s book – but from what I’ve read of it, it’s anything but. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong on this. But I completely see his point on this, why does a Young Adult novel HAVE to have a Young Adult protagonist? What’s wrong with maybe have a slightly older protagonist that represents the values and morals that Young Adult is supposed to teach? You could argue that comics are aimed at a Young Adult market (although there are some mature storylines out there) and the superheroes/heroines in that are mostly adults, or aliens, or robots or mutants, or furries... um... I’ll stop there. My point is that these heroes may not be kids, but they do represent a moral and ethical code that they want their readers to follow – although there ARE teenage superheroes as well (Static Shock, Kid Flash and Speedy to name a few).

 

Another point raised by my friend was that isn’t it “rather patronising to the target audience that they'll only relate to characters of their own age”. Again, I totally agree with this statement. Although I don’t think that is the intent at all, but I do believe what he says. Again I refer to the above statement with the superheroes – what is so wrong about having an adult protagonist? Look at Doctor Who for instance – the main character in that isn’t a child (though he acts like one some of the time) and his companions are usually twenty something women (at least in the later series), but people of all ages – even children – can related to the characters and enjoy the stories. So why shouldn’t the same apply for novels?

 

Here is my view on Young Adult. I feel that a Young Adult novel doesn’t HAVE to include a Young Adult protagonist. It just needs to teach the target market a moral lesson, whether it be friendship, love, bravery – etc. Now that doesn’t mean that it CAN’T have a teenage hero (and if it does that’s cool), I just don’t think it needs to follow that convention. Especially if you look at Manga, where their Young Adult (Shonen) Mangas often have more adult characters rather than teenagers – although their demographics tend to be a little different to ours – so I’ve probably shot myself in the foot saying that! XD

 

But you know what, I’m probably just making a mountain out of a molehill. If my novel is classed as more New Adult than Young Adult, fair play. I just was somewhat surprised by this statement and wanted to put another opinion across.

 

What do you guys think? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Thanks for reading guys!

 

 

 
 

What? You again?

 

Man in Shadow: Ha! You may have foiled my attempts to ruin you before. But I’ll be back. You haven’t seen the last of me! I’ll come back and troll your blog even more than I did before! You’ll never be rid of me! I’ll haunt your nightmares, disturb your every waking moment. I will make you suffer, I will burn you, I will...

 

Oh, piss off, Man in Shadow! No one cares what you think!

 

Man in Shadow: What? (sniff) How can you be so mean? That’s it! I’m gonna, I’m gonna... I’m gonna gather an army of the most evil minds in fiction and... I’m gonna come back and totally crush you!

 

(He disappears in a puff of smoke)

 

Pffff. Good luck with that!

 

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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The Charlatans Crown Blog Tour - Quick Review

 

Today on the Pandragon Blog, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a fantastic author – Amy Lignor – and a quick review of the opening chapter of her new book The Charlatan’s Crown. Book 4 in the critically acclaimed Tallent and Lowery novels. This next book in the series is highly anticipated, so it’s great that I got a first look in!

 

For this blog, I will do a quick mini review of the first chapter, but first let’s find out a little bit about Tallent and Lowery and the author herself!

 

 

Title: The Charlatan’s Crown

 

Series: Tallent & Lowery

 

Author: Amy Lignor

 

Publisher: Suspense Publishing

 

Formats Available In: Digital and Print

 

Publication Date: MARCH 2014

 

Blurb: Fans across the globe jumped on board when the ‘best action/adventure tale since Indiana Jones’ arrived. In 13, the puzzle that no one could solve was revealed, and led everyone to race to their computers in order to discover how on earth this incredible author figured it all out…

 

In The Sapphire Storm, Leah Tallent & Gareth Lowery took on a new case – a spider web of evil and deceit that would have them piecing together a mystery that began in an old London college; an institution that harbored secrets of a fraudulent author the world still celebrates today, and connected that man to a strange shop in Cairo…exposing the real story of a legend that all knew but no one could ever solve…

 

In The Hero’s Companion, Tallent & Lowery were given seven days to figure out a puzzle of mammoth proportions in order to save the father Leah dearly loved. But as the web unfolded from Athens to Cleopatra’s Mines, more secrets erupted of a personal life Leah knew nothing about, and unveiled an evil man who wants nothing more than to destroy the Tallent & Lowery team in order to bring back an army that was the worst the world ever saw…

 

NOW, Tallent & Lowery are headed into a castle that serves tourists every day in order to make their way through a maze to find the parent Leah never even knew existed. She and Gareth will reveal secrets that were embedded in the Third Reich’s reign – secrets that date back to a time far before the evil Hitler had attempted to reign.

 

 

About Amy Lignor:

 

The daughter of a career librarian, Amy Lignor’s first love has always been books. She began her career in publishing as the Editor-in-Chief of Grey House Publishing. Working in the industry for twenty years, she is now the Owner/Operator of ‘The Write Companion’, an editorial house offering authors a range of services.

 

Appointed the Editor-in-Chief of a brand new traditional publisher–Hallowed Ink Press–Amy somehow finds the time to do it all while still putting out the most amazing series that has received every ‘Top Pick’ readers can think of!

 

Her popular YA Series: The Angel Chronicles (Until Next Time, Gilded Wings & A Privilege), introduced her to fans who now wait with bated breath for the next ‘Tallent & Lowery’ suspense/thriller to arrive.

 

Inducted into the International Thriller Writers Organization, Amy is also a writer/contributor for various magazines, companies, and review organizations; Authorlink, The Feathered Quill, Suspense Magazine and more.

 

www.tallentandlowery.blogspot.com

 

AMY’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

 

Facebook

Twitter

Website

GoodReads

 

Check Out Amy Lignor’s HIT YA Series at

 

The Angel Chronicles website

The Angel Chronicles Facebook page

 

 

Chapter 1 Review

 

Even in the first three pages, the story hooks you straight away. With a plot that foreshadows the return of an evil empire, magic and a villain that happens to share my first name (bonus points for that!) this looks to be an exciting adventure. I think I would easily add this book to my “to be read” pile based on this one chapter.

 

Be sure to check out this great novel when it’s released in March. And be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour by clicking in the button above.

 

But... before you go, why not check out the link below for a chance to win some GREAT prizes as part of this tour!

 

PRIZES!!!

 

Thanks for reading guys!

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Ennara and the Fallen Druid

Hey guys, I’m going to try and do something slightly different with the way I do reviews now – at least in the way I lay them out. Don’t worry, I’m still going to do them as concise and critical as I can, but I just wanted to try a different layout.

 

Anyway, my last Pandragon review of 2013 is a Young Adult Fantasy novel called Ennara and the Fallen Druid, written by Angela Myron. It’s a story that, whilst not entirely original, is definitely worth the read for all ages – as opposed to some of the more “adult” Fantasies out there. So let’s get to it.

 

 

About The Author

 

Angela is the author of the YA fantasy series Ennara and the keeper of a secret manuscript dungeon populated by science fiction and paranormal mysteries that long to see the light of day. Before fiction, she earned her living massacring prose in software manuals. She holds a degree in professional writing and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and twins.

 

 

Cover

 

Here we see our heroes – Ennara and friends – surrounded by hideous shadow demons ready to pull them apart. But they stand strong, weapons in hand and ready to kick ass! Not much else to say. It’s a pretty good cover – and has some nice colours to it. It was a bit hard for me to see the shadow demons at first – but then they are shadow demons (duh!). Not sure how eye catching it is, but it definitely does the trick.

 

 

Synopsis

 

When a mysterious curse threatens to transform everyone into shadowy demons, a magical eleven year-old girl must travel to a sunken city ruin—fighting pirates, monsters, and an undead sorcerer along the way—to find a weapon that can save her world.

 

 

What I liked

 

The plot might not be one of the most original – and one that, if you’ve read Fantasy, will know is standard for the stories. But as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” I personally love these kind of stories – the idea of going on a quest to stop a great evil is always good to flame the imagination and bring out the hero in us all. And this time, that task falls to Ennard, a young girl that is seeking to learn magic and be a hero. Move aside, Potter!

 

Joining her is a master wizard, a giant sea cat, a cabin boy and an old friend. Most of them around the same age as Ennara (with the exception of the wizard), so it should come as no surprise that the kids are the ones that come to the rescue in this one! It was a pretty good team and I liked the fact that all of them did their part in the story and Ennara wasn’t the main problem solver. Nothing irritates me more than having that one team member that solves EVERYTHING and the others are there just to either look pretty or be a foil, so it was nice that they all did their part in this quest.

 

The world that Ennara is set in is nicely done and one that I could believe. It didn’t have any overly fantastic set up or a vastly complex magic system that made it too good to be true. I always think that the best way to create a fantasy world is to make it as believable as possible as opposed to fantastical – and this does a good job. The monsters and creatures that are encountered are nicely done as well. All in all, the book did a good job of setting up the world and magic system.

 

Whilst there are some fighting and minor bloody moments, the content is pretty tame for the most part – so younger readers would be able to enjoy this story. The fact that the main characters are children themselves will also appeal to them – making this a fun read for all ages.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

My biggest problem with this novel was the length – in that it was too short. I do believe that a book is as long as it needs to be, but I do feel that this novel could have been a little bit longer (but not too long). I easily could have read through another 100 pages or so.

 

The problem that I had with the length mainly is that I didn’t feel the story had enough space to really expand or breathe properly. The main bad guy is the titular “Fallen Druid” – but I didn’t really feel like the threat of him was really built up enough. I am of the opinion that if you introduce a high powered monster or dark lord, you need to build him/her/it up enough so that the reader knows he is a real threat that must be defeated.

 

For example, take Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He never really appears in the whole trilogy – but his threat is ever present. He has a vast army at his disposal and his presence is always felt by the heroes as they traverse towards Mount Doom. Because of what we’ve been told of his backstory, and the fact that his influence pretty much covers Middle-Earth, we know that he is a really powerful enemy and one that must be stopped if the world of Men is to survive. The same goes for the Others (White Walkers) in A Song of Ice and Fire. They’ve yet to make a move against Westeros, but their threat is ever present and very real, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. So even though they haven't made a move yet, the reader knows that they are building up to something - and no doubt the whole world will suffer when it happens.

 

Here though, it felt more like “This is the bad guy – go get him!” It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the piece, but I do feel that more needed to be made of the villain. Also, the book ended a little too abruptly for my liking – though it does set it up nicely for the next book.

 

 

PROS (Magical):

  • Good characters and each of them has a part to play in the story.
  • Nicely thought out world and magic system.
  • Content would be suitable for younger readers.

 

CONS (Demonical):

  • Maybe too short, which means the story doesn’t really have a chance to breathe.
  • Main villain and overall threat never really built up as much as it could be.

 

 

Summary

 

If you’re looking for a good Fantasy story to introduce to your children, or if you just want a nice, safe Fantasy tale to read, then this one I recommend. If you prefer your Fantasy a bit more “adult”, then you probably won’t enjoy this as much. But if you just want to read a good Fantasy, regardless of content, check this one out. It’s a fun read for all the family.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Twinned Universes

To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep no more; and by a sleep, to say we end The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks that Flesh is heir to?

 

You may be wondering why I’m quoting from Hamlet by William Shakespeare here – but that’s kinda the main theme in this book I’m about review. Try to imagine Shakespeare, mix in a little bit of Doctor Who style time travel and add in elements of John Lennon’s assassination and what do you get? Twinned Universes by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan.

 

 

About The Author

 

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. She is a founding member of BroadUniverse and a long-time member of the Online Writing Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her current day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! And taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

 

Sandra can be found online at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

Cover

 

Here we see our hero Paul and the two Universes (hence the title of course). I kinda like this – it’s almost symbolic of the fact that Paul is not just carrying the weight of the world – but TWO worlds! Or maybe I’m just reading too much into that. Either way it’s a decent enough cover and captures the feel of the book.

 

Overview

 

Paul is an actor on 21st Century Earth and his biggest ambition is to play Hamlet in the play – well, Hamlet. But the death of his mother sparks off a chain of events that leads Paul to discover that a) his death may have been orchestrated by his great uncle Jack (or Jackass as he’s referred to in this book), b) he is not a relative of Sean (a TwenCen musician) but rather his clone, and c) his uncle is a giant p****! The only way he’s gonna get any answers is by heading towards 20th Century Earth and trying to save Sean – and find out more details about his mother’s death in the process. Oh, and did I mention that there is a wormhole between the two Universes that could cause a serious kerfuffle if this all goes wrong?

 

So that’s the set up of the book, and I must admit that it’s a pretty decent one. I’ve always liked the idea of time travel and the cool science that goes with it (even though I am not a science geek). The problem is that sometimes these sorts of stories tend to be bogged down in all sorts of technobabble and timey-wimey sort of plot points, making the story needlessly convoluted and hard to follow. Fortunately that doesn’t happen here, and the plot is for the most part easy to keep up with. There were a couple of times where I got lost and had to re-read it again, but otherwise it was great.

 

Secondly, I do like the John Lennon inspiration behind the character of Sean. Indeed, it would be an interesting thing to wonder what could have happened if someone stopped the shooting of John Lennon and this is an interesting concept. Not only that, but the idea of Paul being a clone does raise a lot of moral and ethical questions – are clones human? Should they have the same rights as people? That was an interesting mortal dilemma that we have seen plenty of times before, but it works just as well here as it does anywhere else.

 

The one thing I did find a little bit strange was when Paul seemed to gather some strange powers – possibly as a result of the time travel. This I’m not sure what really added or detracted from the story and it probably would have worked just as well without it – or it could just be that I missed something the first time round. Also, I felt that there was a little too much faffing around at the beginning before Paul went to TwenCen (that’s a cool word by the way) Earth and that it could have got to that part a little quicker for my tastes.

 

The book is supposed to be aimed at YA audiences, but there are a few cases of F-bombs being dropped here and there. They are totally justified within the story, but this does mean the book will not be suitable to younger readers.

 

Finally, although this is a sequel, it is in itself a self contained story – so you do not have to have read the first book to understand what is going on, which is a bonus.

 

 

PROS (To be or not to be):

  • Interesting concepts.
  • Not overly complicated like some sci-fi, making it easy to read.
  • Great science fiction mixed in with some real life themes.
  • A self contained story, so you do not need to read the first book to understand it.

 

CONS (Get thee to a nunnery):

  • Plot a little slow in places.
  • Strong language means it is unsuitable for younger readers.

 

 

Summary

 

On the whole, Twinned Universes a pretty good story. It’s easy to follow, doesn’t bog you down in technobabble and it introduces you to some Shakespeare as well – which can only be a good thing. If you don’t mind the odd f-bomb here and there, and enjoy a nice, easy to read novel, then please give this one a read.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba

 

What happens when E-S-P spells D-A-N-G-E-R? Well it could mean one of two things. One, you need to learn to spell properly – or two, you’re a young girl with psychic powers and you’ve met other young girls with psychic powers and made some friends. Only for something sinister to be in the air...

 

Well, that’s the plot today of the book Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba, a Young Adult Paranormal novel involving psychic powers. It may sound like the plot to a Charmed episode, but in actual fact, this is a lot more enjoyable (apologies to Charmed fans).

 

So let’s start channelling our chakra and gather our inner spiritual energy and dive into Dark Before Dawn.

 

 

About The Author

 

Stacy Juba has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag: she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the adult mystery novels Sink or Swim and Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and the Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle (Three Complete Picture Books), and the young adult novels Face-Off and Dark Before Dawn. She is also the editor of the essay anthology 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit.

 

Website: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Before-Dawn-ebook/dp/B005PG7SXG/ref

 

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-before-dawn-stacy-juba/1105896327?ean=2940013428591

 

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Dark-Before-Dawn/book-FR1KyG_SGkOx_tLz3cSseA/page1.html?s=V2kxe7qEY0Ob5UL-4FW6Qg&r=4

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-before-dawn/id476451947?mt=11

 

More retailers at: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/dark-before-dawn/

 

Dark Before Dawn is also available as part of the Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set - which contains Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Sink or Swim and Dark Before Dawn in one download. http://stacyjuba.com/blog/young-ladies-of-mystery-boxed-set/

 

Twitter: http://ow.ly/99G6J

 

Facebook:    http://ow.ly/99G8i

 

 

 

Cover

 

Gotta say I love the title – very symbolic of the central character. And this cover is quite striking with its contrast of dark and light. It may not stand out amongst most covers I’ve seen, but it’s a pretty cool cover none the less and the themes of the book are portrayed nicely.

 

 

Overview

 

Like a lot of teenagers, Dawn has trouble fitting in and making friends. The fact that she seems to possesses psychic abilities and can read minds by accident doesn’t help matters and can put her in some quite embarrassing situations. But when she makes friends with Candice and Jamie (two girls that also possess psychic abilities), they bring her to a powerful psychic called Serina, who seems almost too keen to teach her about her abilities. With it, Dawn learns new abilities that she never knew that she had, which empowers her and gives her more confidence. But there couldn’t possibly be a sinister side to Serina and the girls, could there?

 

Well, I don’t want to give too many spoilers – but if you know how most Paranormal stories go, you can bet that there will be some sinister dealings somewhere down the line!

 

I liked this one, it was a nice change to the amount of romantic novels I’ve done the last few reviews (not that I don’t enjoy reading those of course). The language and writing style is simple to follow and very easy to read, making this perfect for teenage readers.

 

The basic story (of a main character seeking acceptance, but isolated because of the gifts they possess), is one we’ve seen more than once in other novels, but I felt that the story was well done and I couldn’t see any plot holes in it, which was a good thing. Occasionally it was a little predictable in terms of the twists and you do kinda see what’s gonna happen before it does – but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to read. It’s a good length as well and not overly padded out, so most people will be able to get through this fairly quickly.

 

I think the only real issue I had with this book was a lack of a strong male character. All the guys in this book are either annoying or (minor spoilers) characters waiting to die. The closest we get is Ken, her step brother – but he was a bit of a prat and little more than a “damsel in distress”. I’m guessing this book was more intended for female readers, but I believe that, just because you may aim this book for one particular gender, it doesn’t mean you can’t put characters in that the opposite se can’t relate to or back. After all, even Twilight had some strong male characters as well as strong female characters. That’s just my view though and only really a nitpick.

 

But the above didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it and it was a refreshing read from the sort of books that I had before.

 

 

PROS (the Force is strong with this one):

  • Easy to follow story and plot is very tight and consistent.
  • A good collection of psychic powers throughout.
  • Great length.

 

CONS (I sense much fear in you):

  • More aimed at female readers, so male readers may feel a little isolated.

 

 

Summary

 

If you like a nice, easy to follow story with a strong plot, then this will be right up your street. It could have had more strong male protagonists, but I still found a lot to enjoy in this book and I’m sure that readers of Young Adult Paranormal novels will as well. Go get yourself a copy – you know you want to!

 

 

FINAL SCORE: 3.5/5

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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UPCOMING BLOG TOURS:

 

  - 5th December - Interview with Sasha Summers

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