Like C. S. Lewis, I love literature that is ostensibly for youngsters. Unlike C. S. Lewise, I listen to audiobooks constantly. I’m listening to one right now, while I’m typing this. (Or am I?) So, I frequently listen to what we now call “YA” books, and have recently discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s work.
First, I listened to her Raven Cycle.
Look, I’m sorry, but those books are not “just YA lit.” They are straight up literature. And by, “look, I’m sorry but,” I mean, “I’m afraid you’ll disagree with me, but I have a strong opinion about this, so I’m going to protect myself by prefacing what I say with protective padding.”
The characters are fantastic, the world is engrossing, the settings are gorgeous (like your face). Also, if you want to understand class differences in white America, skip your sociology class (don’t ever skip any classes) and read these books. I’m a poor country boy with a Ph.D. in philosophy, so I know what I’m talking about.
In addition to all that, Steifvater wrote and performed the incidental music (the music that plays at the beginning and end, between sections, whenever you walk into the room, etc.) for the audiobooks. When the narrator announced this at the end of The Raven Boys audiobook, I realized I finally knew who I wanted to be when I grow up.
But back to The Scorpio Races. It’s an excellent place/atmosphere book, being about life on an island with magical horses that will eat you. It reminded me a lot of Over Sea, Under Stone, by Susan Cooper, and as anyone will tell you whose read Over Sea, Under Stone, that is a very excellent thing.
And, once again, Steifvater wrote and performed the incidental music for The Scorpio Races audio book. So, to adapt the words of Nas: hit the book sto’, never let her go, get her whole collection.