What YA’ Reading: Independence

I love a well-written character, but what takes it over the top for me is when the character shows a markedly independent nature despite the world that surrounds them. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite independent characters.

Everless (Everless #1) by Sara Holland

Jules Ember lives in a world where time is a commodity that can be measured, bought, sold, traded and stolen. Time is found in each person’s blood and can be taken, bound to iron and consumed to extend the life of another person. In this world, the poor die young and the rich are close to immortal. Jules grew up on the estate of Everless before she and her father were banished for witnessing a secret event. When her father needs more time, Jules returns to Everless to earn more time. This decision results in farther reaching consequences than she could have ever imagined and changes her life forever.

I loved the concept of this book and was fascinated by the idea that time can be a commodity. You want to live longer? You can, but only if you can afford it. It took a little while for the book to really get going, but once it did, I couldn’t put it down. There was a plot twist I absolutely did not see coming. The cliffhanger ending left me wanting so much more, particularly because I didn’t realize this was the first book in a series when I picked it up.

Jules was an interesting character who chooses to return to Everless at her own peril due to her love of her father. She has pleasant memories of her time at Everless prior to her banishment. Jules is immensely relatable. There’s a hint of potential romance in the book, but it was not dwelled upon and I appreciated that this was not Jules’ motivation, which made the book more enjoyable and made it stand out from many other YA novels.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles, #1) by Mindee Arnett

Kate Brighton’s father attempted to assassinate the king years ago. He was executed and Kate was labeled “Traitor Kate” the outcast. She is also a Wilder – someone born with magic, which allows her to influence the mind of animals. Being a Wilder is illegal, punishable by either death or exile. While working as a member of the imperial courier service, Kate comes across a destroyed caravan with only one survivor. That survivor is the king’s son, Corwin, who broke Kate’s heart and allowed her father to be executed.

Kate is fiercely independent, but cares deeply for her friends. She knows she has to keep her Wilder magic a secret or risk her life. Kate cares for Corwin, but doesn’t know if she can trust him. These conflicts are the driving force behind the novel. Corwin grew up with Kate and was her best friend and love interest until Kate’s father attempted to kill the king. Corwin is the second son in a kingdom where succession of the throne is connected to a series of trials. Although Corwin doesn’t want to lead there is question as to whether will he step up to lead or step aside for his older brother to lead. The villains of the novel are unexpected and made this story one that I couldn’t put down. This book was a great read and I can’t wait for the sequel.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

Jinghua is a slave in the home of the Khalaf, the kind and smart prince of Kipchak Khanat, and his father. That is, until Khalaf and his father are deposed and forced to run for their lives. Even as Jinghua hides her own secrets and begins to fall in love with him, Khalaf and his father hope to be able to regain their kingdom. Their hopes are pinned on a marriage alliance between Khalaf and Turandokht, the daughter of the ruler of the Empire. Turandokht requires anyone seeking her hand to answer three riddles. If the suitor succeeds, he wins her hand in marriage. If he fails to answer the riddles correctly, he dies.

When Jinghua’s secrets finally catch up with her, the story runs at breakneck speed to the end of the book. She shows a strong independent nature even though she is a slave. I really like that Khalaf is not portrayed as this snooty prince sure of his own importance. As the third son, he is not considered very important to the family and has been sent away to get an education. This book hihglights the importance of education and Khalaf’s ability to think critically becomes a matter of life and death. The ending of the book really surprised me and it fit really well with the story.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

What are some of your favorite independent characters?

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Abigail Siemers

Abigail is the Community Services Librarian. She loves to read, write, listen to music, crochet, watch DIY television, and eat pretty much anything that involves potatoes or chocolate. Some recent reads that she loved were "The Invisible Library" by Genevieve Cogman and "The Rose and the Dagger" by Renee Ahdieh.