Sunday, December 07, 2008

Last night, I finished Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts, the first book of a trilogy of YA historical novels.

Fantasy has gotten quite popular in the YA world, providing an outlet for many fantasy authors as the adult fantasy/science fiction market struggles a little. Roberts seems to be taking advantage of that by positioning his historical novel set in the 9th century to the YA market. There are a lot of standard YA cliches in the book - the lack of, or quick death of the parents, the struggle for revenge, etc, but the book does a good job within that genre box in creating a compelling story and some sympathetic characters, as well as recreating a historical setting. The characters do not feel as period accurate as those in some hard core historical books, like the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien, but they are a definite improvement over the "90210 goes medieval" feel that occurs in some YA books.

My strongest quibble with this book is with the cover - what's up with the brooding hunk? The actual contents of the book would be great for boys looking for an classic adventure story but the cover seems to be trying to market it to girls looking for a cute guy, something that will probably keep many boys away from it.