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Kiersten White

Five Young Adult SFF Books Where Compassion Is Strength

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.

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Series: Five Books About…

10 Great Monster Moments From Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer was at its absolute best when its metaphorical demons were on point. The season-long baddies had their ups and downs (yay Mayor and Angelus! boo Adam and The Nerds), but nothing could beat a really good monster of the week to highlight whatever our favorite Slayer and her friends were going through during that episode. Because in the end, the monster didn’t matter so much as what it represented about their lives. (Except that one praying mantis teacher who tried to seduce Xander. We’ll take that one at absolute face value and not think about it anymore, at all, ever.)

With that in mind, here are my top ten (in no particular order) monsters of the week:

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Five Books that Recycle Historical Legends

Let’s be honest: the line between history and fiction doesn’t really exist. After all, history is just stories we tell ourselves. The way we tell those stories says more about our time than about the times we’re examining. Reading about decades- or even centuries-old events in contemporary sources and then comparing how we talk—or don’t talk—about them now is a sobering insight into how writing history shifts what happened into what we think happened and how we process it long after the fact.

So when we write fantasy using history as our playground, we aren’t really rewriting history. We’re writing our own questions played out on a historical background. Fortunately for us, history is cyclical, and we keep needing the same questions answered again and again and again.

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Series: Five Books About…

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