A Tuesday Ten: Male Protagonists in 2015 Fantasy Fiction
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
Since I did a list of female protagonists for last Tuesday, this Tuesday Ten is about male protagonists in speculative fiction for the year. They were actually harder to find than female protagonists surprisingly . . .
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (Dial Books for Young Readers, June 2015)
Quite possibly my favorite of this particular list. This delicious story of a magical circus and what it brings to the lives of both a grandfather and grandson in turn. It’s the kind of book that makes me believe in the possibility of magic existing just out of sight, in the corners of the world. Micah is a boy with a bit of magic in him, and a great deal of hope.
Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey (Tundra Books, Expected Publication September 2015)
Our young protagonist is a terribly shy boy named Lewis Dearborn. He wants nothing more than to have time alone–until his new room winds up having several residents already. Seven piratical ghosts inhabit his room, and they tell Lewis that he has been assigned a rather alarming mission–to reunite the pirates with their old ship. Problem is this rowdy crew is terrified of stepping outside the house they haunt, and it’s up to Lewis to change that. Can he find the bravery to succeed?
Milo Speck :Accidental Agent by Linda Urban (HMH Books for Young Readers, Expected Publication September 2015)
Milo’s adventure began while he was taking the laundry out of the dryer . . . and was sucked through the dryer into another world. This new world is populated by nearsighted ogres who love to eat “boys” (aka humans). Rather than simply escaping the ogres, Milo quickly becomes into rescuing other humans before the ogres can do away with them! A hysterically enjoyable romp! By the way, is it just me or does that illustration of him make Milo look like what Chekov from Star Trek might have looked as a kid?
Button Hill by Michael Bradford (Orca Books, March 2015)
Dekker’s not really a pleasant kid. He’s an angry and ornery kid who tends to do what he’s not supposed to. When his actions result in his little sister entering into the dark and dangerous world of the Nightside, Dekker’s got to go to the Nightside himself to bring her back. Dekker’s an odd sort of hero in that he’s not the shy or good-hearted type. He’s the kid who typically makes the bad choices. But he redeems himself in the end . . . as strange an ending as it happens to be!
The Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage (Shadow Mountain, Expected Publication, September 2015)
Trenton Coleman lives in a city under a mountain where all the residents abide by a strict code that doesn’t allow for new inventions or improvements unless they’ve been sanctioned by the officials of the city. This is frustrating for a boy whose own mind is full of ideas for fixing things and changing things–and downright dangerous when he actually decides to tinker. But another inventor has left clues behind that will lead to a most astonishing discovery, and change Trenton’s life forever. (Broad hint, yep there are steampunk dragons involved)
Seaborne: The Lost Prince by Matt MyKlusch (Egmont USA, April 2015)
Foundling and pirate Dean Seaborne has one last chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the Pirate King and stay alive. He’s got to con a group of mysterious islanders into thinking he’s their long lost heir. For all he knows it’s true–right? Of course once he is named the heir, he can lead the pirates to the island’s bounty of treasure unhindered. But what will ultimately win out? Dean’s desperation to succeed, or his conscience?
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Simon & Schuster, Expected Publication October 2015)
Steve just wants to save his baby brother. His brother has so many health problems and worries his parents so much that Steve would do pretty much anything to help. So when the dreams of angel-like beings begin and they offer to help him, he takes that help. But the things in his dreams aren’t angels, and that help comes with a price . . . This spooky horror story reads like a darker version of David Almond’s Skellig.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel & Friends, Expected Publication September 2015)
Imaginary friends are big this year–but this is one I can’t wait to read. Jackson’s life has hit some hard times. There’s no more money for food or rent and Jackson and his family may have to live in their minivan again. Real-world worries combine with a touch of magic and a real power of friendship when Jackson’s old imaginary friend Crenshaw comes back in his life. Can a large, outspoken, imaginary cat change his friend’s life for the good?
The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne (Simon & Schuster, July, 2015)
One night Thomas Marsden, the grave robber comes across an astonishing thing. The grave of a young boy who could be himself. They look exactly alike. That’s when what Thomas knows about his life begins to unravel, and he must pursue the threads to discover his heritage and his destiny. For Thomas is not altogether human . . . but is he magical enough to be the answer a desperate group of creatures need? Can he help them escape back home again?
Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick (Random House Books, Expected Publication September 2015)
Okay, so technically maybe this story is more SF related than fantasy. It’s sort of wild and wacky space opera to be honest. But I wanted to include it because the main character of this story isn’t actually Hilo, it’s D.J., (the kid on the left in the background) . In D.J.’s large family, everyone’s good at something except him. Even his family shares this attitude. That is, until Hilo crash lands in his life. Now D.J. has a strange kid with no concept of normal human interaction that he’s trying to help. And you get to see D.J. really shine as a hero in his own right. Finally, I had to include this because there just aren’t any really diverse books on this list other than Hilo, and it’s bugging me.
So there’s my ten. As you see it’s pretty non-diverse stuff overall–there seems to be less trending of diversity in spec fic for male protagonists this year. Either that or I’m missing the books that have them. Anyone got some titles to add that would give me a more balanced list?
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on August 20, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, Historical Fantasy, kidlit, Lists, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Reading, reviews, series. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.