Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Haven’t I Been Reading Scott Westerfeld?

So, I saw that a nice indie bookstore that I sometimes frequent (Changing Hands) was having a signing event with Scott Westerfeld. I’ve heard the name and heard good things about him, but I haven’t read anything by him before – primarily because Westerfeld is best known as a YA writer. Having nothing to loose (except perhaps $25 for a copy of his new book), I decided to go. I had a wonderful time (even if I was one of the few lone adults – most were accompanying their teens). Oh, and the room was filled to the brim with teenage girls – I have recommendation to teenage boys, read Westerfeld’s books, it will give you something to talk about with girls.

I’m always (pleasantly) surprised when I go to author signing events. I suppose I have an image of authors of insular people more at home with words than people. But pretty much every author event I’ve been to has lead me to question that assumption. The authors I’ve met in person have all been fun, dynamic people who are surprisingly entertaining and funny. Perhaps they just get used to the dog and pony show and have prepared their ‘material’ well, but there is often a real enjoyment shown by the authors that seems very genuine.

While I was waiting for the event, I decided to dive into my newly purchased book, Leviathan (
US, UK, Canada, Indiebound). And after 70 pages, my reaction was largely ‘why haven’t I been reading Westerfeld’s books?’ Yes, they are YA, and as I’ve talked about before, there is often a stigma for adults reading YA. But, if what I’ve read so far of Leviathan is any indication, these are YA books that adults can (and should) be reading and enjoying.

Leviathan is simply made of cool. This is re-telling of WW1 where all the conspiracy theories are true in a steampunk world that really takes things to a new level (complete with spectacular illustrations). Imagine the steampunk equivalent of Imperial Walkers marching to war against huge genetically engineered creatures. It’s the Darwinists versus the Clankers, and it’s awesome! Sure, the plot is YA, but so far it’s well executed and easily enjoyable to adults. This book is steampunk on steroids and a lot fun. And it has a really cool book trailer:

So, go read some Westerfeld and don’t let you adult ‘sensibilities’ get in the way.


The Mad Hatter said...

I'll be reading Leviathan shortly as well. I don't understand the stigma of YA any more. The only difference are less f-bombs and they are usually not as graphic with sex and sometimes violence. Another YA book that just came out that I think deserves a wider readership is Going Bovine by Libba Bray. It is frickin crazy.

Neth said...

Easily the darkest and most disturbing book I've read in the past few years was a YA book - Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. It takes on way more serious topics than 95% of the 'adult' books I read.

Misty Mays said...

snds like it cld be a good read. thnx for the heads up.

James said...

My interest in this book has been steadily growing since I saw the trailer some time before its release. I have it reserved at the library, but there is no telling how far back in line I am.

I don't read much YA either, though my experience has been positive when I've ventured there in the past. Should probably look at some more eventually.

Jeff said...

Westerfeld didn't start out writing YA. I really liked his Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds two book series. Also Evolution's Darling was very adult (read sexual content), and garnered some very good critical reviews. I've read 90% of the Uglies, Pretties, Specials series, as my daughter started reading them, as I make it a point to check on what she reads. It was decent, but not as strong as his other works, including Leviathan which I am now about half way through. So, I guess this is a long post to say you should check out Westerfeld's earliest works, as they are quite good as well.



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