One theme I’ve explored again and again in my books is the concept of strength. What it means. How we keep or lose is. And, while I’ve examined this through traditionally violent means—alongside Lada Dracul in the And I Darken books, her path to power littered with bodies—through desperately manipulative means—Elizabeth Lavenza, from The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, lying and pretending so she can survive—and through good old Chosen One tropes—Nina, the newest Vampire Slayer, trying to figure out what to do with Buffy’s unwanted mantle on her shoulders—when it came time to write my Camelot Rising trilogy, I wanted to explore a different kind of strength: compassion.
There’s so much strength in empathy, strength in kindness, strength in meeting people where they are, but also seeing who they could be if given the chance. And so, in honor of Guinevere’s last adventure in The Excalibur Curse, five of my favorite young adult novels in which compassion has the power to (re)shape the world.