Of Olympians, Reservoirs, and Some Questions

When it comes to YA (still hate that name) SF, I’ve missed a lot. Largely because the glut in the genre came when I was “too old” to be interested. And, now that I’m trying to make up, I really am too old.

Obviously, I’m not talking about Harry Potter but rather Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I recently checked out The Lightening Thief  from the library. And yesterday, I finally got down to read it.

And I got about three or four pages in before I closed the book. With no intention of opening it back up.

This time, though, had nothing to do with any preconceived problems with the text. Not even my position on Greek Mythology in popular culture.

It was the structure and tone of the opening that immediately turned me off.

Seriously, playing around with whether or not the novel is “real” or a “piece of fiction” in a meta sense made no sense. And Percy’s narration? Just no.

That said, Percy Jackson and the Olympians does raise in an interesting question. Why are the Olympians in hiding? I can see it with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but not with the Olympians. Why hide themselves? Especially if it is real?

Okay, then the series will be AU rather than Contemporary and demand more work. But still!

But yesterday wasn’t completely disappointing when it came to reading. After putting down The Lightening Thief, I picked up the first volume of CLAMP’s Tsubasa. And it was freaking awesome! Mind you, I am a fan of CLAMP . . .

Anyway, my reaction to both works reveals an interesting insight. I’m not overly fond of YA. Especially in prose. But I love shonen manga. What is up with that?

Part of the answer, I think, is that the graphic story telling element eliminates the usual stylistic tone of a lot of YA that puts me off. Excepting dialogue and interior monologues, the “narrator” has little chance to talk down to the reader.

Another part of the answer may be the ages of the characters. The closer the lead characters are to the later teens, the more I like it. Remember, I hate Naruto volume one, but love much of Part 2. So, there is that.

Am I disappointed that I didn’t like The Lightening Thief? Yes. But it doesn’t do to dwell. Rather, it is important to move on. So many more books to read.

Given my problems with YA, any ambitions I have to possibly write in that genre is suspect. Should I write a YA even if I don’t like it? Maybe write a YA SF novel the way I would like it to be done?

That is, however, a post for another day.



Posted on August 21, 2013, in Books, Manga and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. There’s good YA out there. Thanks to the recent rush of authors who’ve “discovered” the genre, though, it’s not that easy to find, as I’ve been discovering now that I’ve started looking into it again–mostly thanks to my hometown’s public library having a dedicated YA section. The Firebird books imprint has been put out some impressive stuff, which is really strange, since I’ve never associated an imprint with quality before–I guess they were small enough to be discerning and had a really good set of editors.

    Otherwise, there’s not much to go on. I would avoid series that go beyond quartets, since most of them are transparently crap (e.g. Ranger’s Apprentice).

  1. Pingback: Percy Jackson & The Olympians – A Harry Potter Rewrite? | Book Equals | The Blog That Made No Sense

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