WOYB: High Fiction, Steam Punk & YAH

I’ve been watching a new Netflix series called Cowboy Bebop. It’s been hammered by the critics and one week into Season 1, Netflix announced it canceled for Season 2. My son told me that it’s terrible because it’s a poor imitation of the original anime. What’s so terrible? I asked. It just is, he said.

Personally, I enjoy it. Unlike the Marvel movies, Cowboy Bebop retains the comic book feel with exaggerated camera angles, bombastic acting and deliciously noir backgrounds. Perhaps too, since I’d never really been into anime, I don’t have the emotional attachment to the original.

In any case, I like this kind of story telling – the cross genre, history bending, cultural blending stories. It’s just the latest in odd-ball stories that I’ve tried and liked this past year.

As my contribution to the What’s On Your Bookshelf link-up, here are similar stories that I’ve enjoyed recently.

Gunnie Rose series by Charlaine Harris

In this series, Charlaine Harris creates an alternate world where the United States is split into separate countries – Britannia (aligned with Canada), Texoma (Texas and Oklahoma), a grander Mexico, Dixie, New America (central states bordering Canada) and the Holy Russian Empire of California and Oregon. The time is placed around early 1900’s and the author cleverly plays with real life figures and events.

Like … what if President Roosevelt was assassinated before he was president, the banks crashed and influenza decimated the population? What if the ensuing turmoil plunged America into chaos? What if Russian royalty escaping the Bolshevik revolution found refuge in America? What if the newly ceded state of California and Oregon, made them the governing monarchy?

I found this a delightful series with imaginative details and unusual characters. The books take cue from bang ’em up cowboy westerns and the obsession with guns can be disturbing but if you suspend belief and luxuriate in the world building, it’s a good read.

The Watchmaker series by Natasha Pulley

The marketing blurb for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street says that those who enjoyed  Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, will find this “… an enchanting, bestselling novel that sweeps readers into a magical Victorian London inhabited by a clockwork octopus and a mysterious watchmaker who is not at all what he first appears.” I enjoyed Clarke’s book (and the TV series) and I enjoyed these two books by Natasha Pulley even more.

Natasha Pulley is another author who plays with timelines and historical events, first in London and later in Japan. For the first book I found the beginning a bit slow but once hooked, it was a engrossing. To my mind, the second book The Lost Future of Pepperharrow was even better. It is placed in 1880’s Japan and deals with the civil unrest and nationalism of the period. Where the first book centered mostly on its proponent Thaniel Steepleton in steam-punk London, the second peels back the history of his partner Keita Mori and digs into the drama of Japanese nobility and political intrigue.

Fable Books 1 & 2 by Adrienne Young

I should be embarrassed to admit that I read YA books. Honestly though, they should be called YAH for Young At Heart. Fast paced, action packed, breathtaking adventures on the high seas and PIRATES! Who doesn’t like a good pirate story?

This week I finished the first book Fable by Adrienne Young where an abandoned girl learns to survive on an island populated by criminals and thieves. Think Robinson Crusoe and Ali Baba but with a fierce female protagonist. I’m just beginning the second book Namesake, where the girl, now a young woman discovers secrets about her mother which endanger her and everyone she loves. Plus, more pirate adventure.

Are you a reader of high fiction? What recommendations do you have for the Young At Heart? Let me know what you think I should put on my bookshelf.


      1. I actually liked Hunger Games as books (not the movies). And there was this series by Kelley Armstrong that starts with Bitten. I read them before the vampire craze started, I don’t know if I’d like them now. I remember reading one of her books as a flight attendant, in an empty plane between passengers. We’d sometimes have long breaks (paid breaks) so I always had a book with me, just in case!
        Also, I’m not sure if this is YA(H), but The Girl With All the Gifts was interesting. (Why does it seem fantasy books are YA? Are adults too boring to read anything unreal?)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Did you know that Kelley Armstrong is a Canadian? Like you I read her Bitten book a long while ago but I couldn’t get into the series when I tried it again recently. Her series seem to be hit & miss with me. Having said that, I did enjoy her Nadia Stafford & Rockford books. I will look up The Girl with All the Gifts & checkout Hunger Games.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great selection of new books to add to my list Sandy! I love YA and agree Young at Heart is a better descriptions. I’m very keen to look out for the Charlaine Harris as they sound great. I’m with Jo, this is what WOYBS is all about and I love it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Charlaine Harris is best known for her Sookie Stackhouse novels which were the basis for HBO’s True Blood series. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The lead actress is Anna Paquin who from New Zealand, in case that rings a bell.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love YA books, or at least, loved many of those I read during my many years as a children’s librarian and involved with our Youth Libraries Group. Back then my favourite authors included Cynthia Voigt, Robert Cormier, Marjorie Blackman and many others I’ve half-forgotten (and can’t be bothered to go and look at my shelves upstairs!)

    The alternate world you describe in the books by Charlaine Harris reminds me of Stephen Fry’s ‘Making History’ where he imagines a different world in which Hitler was never born. And have you read ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’? I also loved Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, Sandy – Thank you so much for joining us at #WOYBS. I’m honoured that you linked up your first blogged book sharing! 😀
    No one should ever be embarrassed to admit that Ithey read YA books. A few bloggers that I follow (e.g. Antoinette Truglio Martin, Laurie Graves and Darlene Foster) write YA books and I absolutely love them!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. And this right here is what I love about WOYB link-up – the different genres that people read. It really makes me want to try something different. I love the idea of the Charlaine Harris “what if” questions & the historical threads in The Watchmaker Series.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good fiction is rooted in truth and one of the intriguing aspects of Harris’ novel is that (maybe) it surfaces tensions & history between the individual States before they were United

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m watching Coyboy Beebop now. After about 4 episodes, I’m wondering if Spike ever changes his clothes… but John Cho looks good in that blue suit so…still watching )

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s