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A.M. Strickland

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Dead But Still Leaping off the Page: Five (Mostly) YA Books With Deceased Major Characters

In my upcoming new YA fantasy, In the Ravenous Dark (out today!), one of the main characters—one of the love interests, in fact—is dead. This bit of information always seems to pique people’s interest, because, well, how is he dead and still walking, talking, and falling in love?

In Ivrilos’s case, he’s a guardian spirit bound to our protagonist, Rovan, in order to control her, particularly her powerful blood magic, but then the two of them become reluctant allies and eventually something more through their shared interest in toppling the underworld authority. It’s through the duality of blood and death magic in the book that these two characters, living and dead, are able to interact and even touch. But this got me thinking about the other types of dead characters I’ve read in (mostly) recent (mostly) YA books, what makes them tick, and more importantly, what makes them compelling. Below are a few of my favorite reads. Expect diversity, queerness, and above all, amazing dead characters!

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Series: Five Books About…

Finding Freedom and Unexpected Heroes in Mike Carey’s Lucifer

I didn’t decide to read the Lucifer graphic novels, written by Mike Carey and primarily drawn by Peter Gross, for their queerness, or for who became the true hero of the series for me (spoiler: Mazikeen). That was all a pleasant—unexpected, revolutionary—surprise for me as a late teen. I came to Lucifer because I had just split from the religion of my youth, Mormonism. A friend had told me how good the series was, and promptly after my first, knee-jerk reaction of “I can’t read something that stars the devil!”, I snatched them up. Why not, after all? It was a spin-off of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which I was currently devouring, and I wasn’t Mormon anymore.

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Read an Excerpt from A.M. Strickland’s Beyond the Black Door

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy Beyond the Black Door publishes October 29th with Imprint. Read an excerpt below!

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