Wednesday, February 27, 2013

YA Fantasy At Its Finest

Wistful YA Wednesday is special today because I have two separate young adult spotlights.

 Firstly, we're celebrating the release of Heather McCorkle's fantasy novel, The Dragon Empire! For today's stop Heather is answering the following question:

The world you created in The Dragon Empire is very elaborate. How did you keep track of everything?

Heather: I created a notebook and put everything about the world in it. I wrote up pages on each type of dragon, each island, each character, the different creatures and cultures, and even drew maps of the world. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!

Here is a bit about it:

On Yacrana dragons are the advanced species. But advanced doesn't always mean civilized...

There's trouble in the Dragon Empire, the kind that could start a war between dragons and the races of people. Hidden factions of dragons believe they should rule the lesser races, not simply stand aside and allow them to develop as they will. Having lived so long in peace, the Emperors turn a blind eye, many oblivious that such attitudes even exist.

Despite being only an architect class, emerald dragon, Grendar is willing to risk banishment and death to stop that which his rulers refuse to see. The hope of peace lies not within the scaled breast of a dragon however, but within the hands of a group of people. But if the hidden factions have their way, these people won’t live to fulfill such a destiny. With a reluctant seer at his side, Grendar must leave his precious Empire for the outside world to save those that will one day save his kind.

While The Dragon Empire is for ages young adult and up, it does contain mild violence and some difficult subject matter. 

YAY for Heather!!

For my second spotlight, I'm sharing a book I read over the summer. It's quite different than anything I normally read.

Title: all the earth, thrown to the sky
Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Genre: Urban Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released: September 13th, 2011
Pages: 240

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Favorite Line/Passage: I glanced at Jane, who had put her back against the boxcar and had her eyes closed. She looked pretty sweet when she was asleep. I decided then and there that Jane was about as big a blowhard as there was, but at the bottom of her bucket there was something real. She knew life was short, and she lived like it was and sucked all the juice out of it. I told myself right then and there I was going to do the same, even if I knew I'd never be quite like Jane. Wasn't nobody could get to the juice the way she could, and wasn't nobody ever who could enjoy it as much as she did, even the times when it was sour.

Description: Jack Catcher's parents are dead—his mom died of sickness and his dad of a broken heart—and he has to get out of Oklahoma, where dust storms have killed everything green, hopeful, or alive. When former classmate Jane and her little brother Tony show up in his yard with plans to steal a dead neighbor's car and make a break for Texas, Jack doesn't need much convincing. But a run-in with one of the era's most notorious gangsters puts a crimp in Jane's plan, and soon the three kids are hitching the rails among hoboes, gangsters, and con men, racing to warn a carnival wrestler turned bank robber of the danger he faces and, in the process, find a new home for themselves. This road trip adventure from the legendary Joe R. Lansdale is a thrilling and colorful ride through Depression-era America.


MY SPLATS: a brilliantly written and poignantly delivered tale of a boy abandoned by life's fate and set on a journey of discovery. 

Jack has been dealt scenarios in life that no teen should ever have to encounter. After the untimely death of both his parents - on separate occasions - he's left to his own devices and without much reason to live. He's desolate, hopeless. Meeting Jane gives him a reason to keep going. He's not sure why, but it does. 

Jane, although annoyingly chatty at times, brings to the surface inner questions gnawing at Jack - questions that plague us all at times: What is the sense of it all? Jane needs purpose in life, to do something important, find meaning in life; her fulfillment comes from being proactive with others and wages she'll find herself and meaning in return. She's a very philosophical character, which is kind of ironic.

The initial element you will notice when reading this tale is the dialog. It's obvious that neither of the lead characters are of high intelligence. But nonetheless, they are amazingly drawing. Jack holds such simplicity that it's beautiful, while Jane makes up for her lack of intellect with loads of snark and wit. This combination makes for some interesting interactions, especially when the two have a run-in with a group of armed bank robbers and are slowly sucked into a dangerous adventure.

As they flee these bandits, they are given a reprieve by gaining the aid of an elderly lady; interacting with this woman seems to give their lives and current circumstances some humanity. And meeting up with others whose futures look bleaker than theirs adds even more humanity, giving them strength. They continue to help others, which only helps themselves, all while gaining in hope and the desire for new futures. As the tale reaches its climax, it's not evident how they will survive but as the reader you just know they will.

As I stated above, this story isn't something I normally read, and I'm not a big reader of dragons and such - but they are really cool. Have you read a book out of your box, lately? 


  1. Both books sound good. I just read Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, a historical novel, which I enjoyed but don't read much. And Plastic Polly by Jenny Lundquist, which I loved. It's a contemporary middle grade novel and it really reminded me that I do love contemporary middle grade, although I don't read it much. Too bad there's not enough time to read everything we want.

    1. I totally want to read Plastic Polly! I saw it a knew I just had to read it. Now, to find the time.....

  2. I've never heard of this second one. Sounds interesting.

  3. Oh man, I love books that have dragons as intelligent characters. This one sounds awesome!

  4. Congrats to Heather and Joe.

    Ugh. Worldbuilding. So much I have to learn there.

  5. Congrats to both authors!

    They both sound intriguing. I've always been partial to fantasy though... Great cover Heather!


    And wow, Joe, just the title alone is so powerful!

    1. It was a very different read, far different from what I'm used to reading. But with saying that, I did enjoy it.

  7. Both books sound interesting, and it's been a long while since I read a dragon book. I loved Anne McCaffrey's pern series. The Book Dragon was the last, an old title but new to me within the last two years or so. The last one I read "out of the box" was Pushing the Limits by Katie McCarry. Too rough for me, so I probably won't venture out of my bounds anytime soon.

    1. I hear you. I try every once in a while to venture out of my reading box. ONLY every once in a while. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by, Sher!


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