Supernatural characters in young adult fantasy novels
With the success of young adult fantasy novels such as the Twilight and Harry Potter series, supernatural protagonists were the standard over the last few years. Even though readers may be tiring of vampires and wizardry, it seems that characters with supernatural powers or paranormal tendencies are here to stay.
Supernatural protagonists are everywhere in books for young adults—obviously in paranormal romance novels but also in anything from romance and steampunk to the ever popular dystopian novels. Readers who crave fantasy can easily get their fix from a dystopian world, where characters may have gained their new powers or characteristics due to a meltdown caused by the apocalypse or have arrived from another planet or otherworldly setting.
Vampires dominated the world of paranormal romance novels because teens and other YA readers could easily relate to their plights. While readers may not empathize with their thirst for blood, they may very well understand the need for acceptance from peers and angst about issues such as young love, drugs and developing an identity.
Books for young adults that feature vampires, zombies and witches are not only a means of escape, they offer the reader new perspectives that they can apply to their own life or relate to from past experiences. While the fantasy element makes the characters different, at their core are traits and experiences that many of us are either facing or have experienced at one time or another. Their relationships will have to overcome obstacles that all readers can understand, and witnessing their growth, or “character arc,” will provide readers ideas for dealing with their own personal dilemmas. Reading about a situation lets people know they’re not alone, and at the very least, that the author must have faced it themselves.
In dystopian novels, characters who are magically “gifted” with supernatural or paranormal powers offer readers a glimmer of hope in the context of more dramatic settings and situations than we live in. However, the characters’ ability to cope provides readers inspiration for dealing with their own real life situations.
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