Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trend Analysis: Medieval

Maddy and I have been chatting...
*cue our friends and family running for the hills because our conversations are all-out crazy*
No, but seriously.
Maddy suggested that we start a feature where we analyze what trends we'd like to see in YA in the upcoming years... what trends deserve to start or return.
Obviously I loved it.
So, without further ado, we present...

Trend Analysis

The first trend that Maddy brought up was Medieval Settings. (Please note: these conversations take place via FB chat very late at night, but I thought you all would appreciate the direct transposition).

Maddy: I really wish there were more Renaissance-faire type of medieval YA novels like Tamora Pierce's Alanna series or The Last Unicorn or stuff like that King Arthur ish

Audrey: You're right, there definitely aren't that many medieval YA novels anymore, except for the ones including time travel. (PS to all the blog readers out there: I definitely introduced Maddy to Tamora Pierce, my absolutely favorite YA author ever)

Maddy: Yeah there aren't a lot of them! Did you hear that MTV is making a TV show of this "Shannara" book series? I've never heard of it but it apparently is the biggest fantasy series that hasn't yet been adapted to TV or movies.

Audrey: I've heard of that series before, it's by Terry Brooks!

Maddy: Also, Game of Thrones is medieval-ish but where's the colorful medieval series with court jesters??? I want that in my life haha

Audrey: Tell me more about what you want to see in this trend and why?

Maddy: Clariel by Garth Nix is coming out in October and with that came a re-issuing (with new covers) for his Abhorsen trilogy, so that's why the trend has been on my mind recently. Also the Kronos series by Marie Rutkoski definitely had that magical medieval feel going on. I mean, I certainly WANT it to become a trend again- I love books like that, with King Arthur and court jesters and knights. I really like Avalon High by Meg Cabot which isn't set in medieval times but draws on Arthurian legend. I feel like recently we've seen the scale tip to really dark when you deal with the medieval-ish world, like Game of Thrones or Snow White and the Huntsman. It would be interesting to see more of the light, Ren-faire side (even though the medieval world was full of suffering and the plague and obviously didn't have magic)

Audrey: I'd definitely say that the dark and almost more realistic side of Medieval has been the trend. It seems like Medieval was more trendy in the past though, and seemed to drift away in the past decade or so. For instance, my favorite Medieval-era books included Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (1997), ANYTHING by Tamora Pierce (1983-present), and hey... remember Jane Yolen?

Maddy: I think so too. But then after that, books with medieval elements but modern times are popping up, albeit sporadically. I really like books that have magic in them, and it's certainly easier to imagine magic in medieval times- with all of the dragon-slaying and Merlin and so on. Magic and fantasy are huge parts of YA novels, so I feel like it should make a comeback soon

Audrey: So I feel like you're actually advocating for the historical fantasy, as opposed to the modern paranormal that currently dominates the YA world. We get a lot of mystical creatures or powers that take place in today's world, but maybe not as many brand new worlds or magical worlds based on Medieval times. 

Maddy: Yeah, maybe it's time for a renaissance, if you know what I mean?

So... what do you guys think? Are we crazy about own craving for some more Medieval-type settings? Do you think there's any chance of a trend revival? Tell us your ideas!

Blogger's note: I read this post to my dad and he responded that I have just crossed the line into geekdom. His direct quote was "You have fallen and need a dragon to help you up". Oh dear....


  1. This is such an interesting conversation, I don't think I've ever read any mediavel-ish books before it does seem like it was something that is either MG or earlier YA. However, I am planning on reading The Young Elite by Marie Lu which is renaissance Italy based. She is pretty popular so if this series does well maybe it will spawn a new trend ?

    1. Exactly, it seems like MG and old YA had the medieval trend, but it has faded away. I don't think either Maddy or I has read The Young Elite, but we will have to add it to our list and give it a read! It would be pretty cool for this trend to reappear.