So this isn’t strictly a YA-related post, but I saw Tangled this weekend, and I was completely shocked by how much I loved it. So I’m posting about it anyways. Cool? Tangled reminded me of the best parts of the later ’80s/early ’90s Disney movies: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. And best of all, it had an unexpected feminist message. The first thing that struck me was how the main villain, Mother Gothel, embodied all of the negative messages girls hear every day.
Spoilers after the cut.
Warning: contains spoilers if you haven’t read the book!
This fan-made video of scenes from The Hunger Games actually had me tearing up! I loved the actress playing Katniss — she did a great job of being emotionally vulnerable while still being so strong. I hope this is something they can translate to the big screen just as well.
The Search For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
Only a couple of chapters into this book, I fell in love. Hard. The Search For WondLa features such a curious, adventurous heroine and such a whimsical, weird world for her to explore. Thanks to the gorgeous illustrations (also by Tony DiTerlizzi), the characters and scenery felt tangible. Every time I picked up the book, I was swept away to Eva’s world, which is wondrous and terrifying at the same time. You have Wandering Forests, giant tardigrades, terrible oxygen-sucking plants, plus robots and hovercraft. What’s not to love?
The Search For WondLa begins with twelve-year-old Eva Nine, who lives in an underground Sanctuary with a robot called Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot), who is charged with Eva’s care and upbringing. Eva is being prepared for survival outside of her Sanctuary, in a world that seems to be much like ours. But when Eva is forced to leave the Sanctuary early after an intruder attacks her home, she realizes that the world outside is nothing like the one she was prepared for. Her Omnipod doesn’t recognize any of the plant or animal life, though it notes that some of it is similar to microscopic life forms like tardigrades. As Eva tries to make sense of this unknown world, she manages to make a friend (or at least an ally) with the lone widower Rovender Kitt, and finds out that she is being hunted by a brutal bounty hunter called Besteel.
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
The second book is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy does not disappoint. Behemoth is one of the releases I was most excited for this year, and it completely exceeded my expectations.
In Leviathan, we were introduced to an alternate WWI era, full of fantastic air beasties and mammoth mechanical walkers. Behemoth takes us to Istanbul (called Constantinople by the British), where we’re introduced to entirely new wonders. Istanbul is full of giant machines designed to look like elephants, which is kind of a brilliant mash-up of the Clanker and Darwinist ideologies: they take the power of the Germans’ machines but are still very connected to the natural world. And one of the Istanbul natives we meet is shocked by the way the Darwinists refer to their beasties as “it” rather than “he” or “she”. Each of the different ethnic neighborhoods of the city also have their own walkers, which they call golems and are designed to look like mythical creatures or characters.