Thursday, December 23, 2010

Serious About Series

Kids love series, or so they tell us. “They” are an impressive lot of book professionals, but none more impressive than the readers themselves, the kids who read series.

When is the best time to pick up on a series? Do you start from the one that suddenly captured everyone’s interest, not always the first in a series, or read the latest first, or wait until all are out, as in a predicted trilogy? Then what? Do you read from start to finish, bidding your family and friends good-bye for a week of binge reading?

I read the Twilight series from the middle out in each direction. Confusing at times. A friend waited until Mockingjay came out before she began Hunger Games. Such discipline! She planned to read Catching Fire next and figured by the time she got through these two, her name would rise to the top of the waiting list at the library and she could sacrifice another night’s sleep to the third and final book in this Suzanne Collins trilogy.

The following is a Newbery Honor book which won other awards, too. As you can see from the publication date, I waited long enough that when I read the last page, the next book was ready to pick up. And the next and...

THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner, Greenwillow 1996

Gen is a master of many talents. One of them is stealing. His boast, “I can steal anything,” lands him in the king’s prison and sets off a string of events. The king’s advisor wants Gen to steal a treasure from another land, a land not so likely to welcome them. Some of their party die, some live. Who and why?

Threaded throughout the adventure is the imagined history of countries and the gods they hold responsible for their fortunes and misfortunes. These stories are surprisingly interesting. Don't ask. I won't even hint how this turns out. The conclusion came as a complete surprise to me. It should be that way for you, too.

The lucky reader who begins to read this series now, as I did, will be eager to dive headlong into another cauldron of characters and quests seasoned and stirred by story chef Turner in The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The latest novel, A Conspiracy of Kings, is generating Newbery buzz this year.

Boys and girls from ages ten and up will get lost in these novels. You might, too.

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