It's about time! Those of us who are endlessly impressed by Megan Whalen Turner's writing in her Queen's Thief series have been a little frustrated this year as various committees have said of her latest, "Yeah, the book is very good, but it's part of a series, and since we're not convinced it can stand alone, we won't select it for this prize" (to, um, paraphrase).
So if a book from a series is waaaay better than any of the standalones, it's nevertheless out of luck, essentially by default?
But the most wise L.A. Times Book Prize committee rose above all that and chose A Conspiracy of Kings for its best Young Adult book of 2010, as announced this past weekend. Hooray!
Congratulations to the marvelous Ms. Turner, whose craftsmanship, subtlety, and world- and character-building enchant readers and fellow fantasy authors alike.
Of course, A Conspiracy of Kings did get five starred reviews! I will just add that this series is so intelligent that some people say the books are too smart for kids, to which my response is, "There are some pretty smart kids out in Readerland."
Note for Worried Parents: Book 1, The Thief, a Newbery Honor winner, is considered (upper) middle grade fiction, but the rest of the series is being marketed as YA (for teens). I know a lot of adults who also read the books. Kids who like sophisticated fantasy by writers such as Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper, Terry Pratchett, N.D. Wilson, and J.R.R. Tolkien should give these a try! Book 2 does begin with a rather upsetting (violent) event, but the series builds from there, using that pivotal event in thought-provoking ways, so see what you think based on your child's maturity.
See my review from last year here.