Game of Thrones… for teens

(This is a repost from my Tumblr)

With all the success of fantasy fiction recently, we’ve all heard the ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ marketing line applied to YA epic fantasy. But which books really stand up to that marker? The truth is, most books can’t match the complete depth and breadth of A Song of Ice and Fire but many do have elements that will appeal to lovers of GRRM. Here’s my take on the best ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ books and who they’d appeal to:

If you love… Tyrion Lannister. A flawed hero who steals every scene he’s in.


You’ll want to read… HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

If you love… The Westerosi political intrigue. The battle between the houses in a rich and engrossing medieval Europe-esque world.



You’ll want to read… FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering.

If you love… the Khaleesi and the Dothraki. Swords and sorcery in a medieval Mongolian-inspired setting.




You’ll want to read… THE OATHBREAKER’S SHADOW and THE SHADOW’S CURSE by Amy McCulloch

When a young warrior is wrongfully accused of treachery against the heir to the khan, he is exiled into the desert where he must learn how to survive – and clear his name.

If you love… Arya Stark. Kick-ass young female assassin on a journey all of her own.



You’ll want to read… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince.

If you love… beyond the Wall. Icy intrigue and mysterious supernatural creatures lurking in the woods.



You’ll want to read… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. A lavish world, with a Russian-inspired setting.

If you love… Brienne. A fiercely talented female warrior trapped in a man’s world, with her own twisted sense of honour



You’ll want to read… GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

If you love… dragons. Just give me more and more dragons.



You’ll want to read… Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

The kingdom of Goredd is populated by humans and by dragons who fold themselves into a human form. Though they live alongside each other, the peace between them is uneasy. But when a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon the peace and treaty between both worlds is seriously threatened . . .

If you want… George to explore the rest of the world he’s created and learn more about Yi Ti, the Jade Sea and Essos


You’ll want to read… PROPHECY by Ellen Oh

A superb YA epic fantasy inspired by ancient Korea. Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

If you want… to read a fantasy that tackles a subject even George hasn’t addressed (yet)



You’ll want to read… PANTOMIME by Laura Lam

The heartachingly beautiful tale of intersex youth Micah and his struggle for identity and love, set within the confines of a magical travelling circus.


Five reasons why writing a novel is like Game of Thrones (Season 1 spoilers alert!)

(Please note this post contains spoilers for the first book/season of Game of Thrones! Proceed with caution.)

Who’s hooked on the latest series of Game of Thrones? I’m watching with a mixed group of readers and non-readers, so it’s been thrilling to see how we all approach the storyline – some, completely fresh – others analysing their reactions to seeing the novels’ various plots unfold on screen. I was actually pretty disappointed to be spoiled on Twitter as to a recent major event – and even MORE disappointed by the reactions I saw stating: ‘Well, if you don’t want to be spoiled then read the books!’ For me, the TV carries its own momentum and even though I know the events I don’t know when in the TV they will appear.

Anyway, minor gripe over – time for a bit of fun. How about five ways that writing a novel is like the Game of Thrones…?

1. There are lots of characters and plotlines to keep up with.

Whether you’re writing fantasy or contemporary, historical or crime, you’ve got to keep your characters and plots straight. George R.R. Martin holds them all in his head but he also has the fab Elio & Linda of to help him out if he forgets the colour of a knight’s horse. If only we could all have our own personal archivists, that’d be great!


2. The big six versus Houses of Westeros


Like the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens, the big publishers all vie to rule the book realm. So, who do you pledge your allegiance to – the powerhouse Penguin Random House? Crafty HarperCollins? Heavyweight Hachette? Mighty Macmillan?

3. Brutal cuts must be made.

To your manuscript.


Or someone’s head.

4. You must take a cue from the mother of dragons and rise from the ashes 

bad review

We all have those bad days. The days when you ‘stumble’ onto Goodreads only to see your writing eviscerated  by a bad review. But there’s only one thing for it – to get up, dust yourself off, and hopefully have a pet dragon to show for it. Or at least, skin as thick as dragon hide.

5. Creativity run dry? Sometimes, one word is enough:


The blog of thrones: Game of Thrones DVD Launch party

There are a few perks to my job. Of course, just being part of the imprint that published George R.R. Martin’s bestselling series at the same time the HBO adaptation of said books hit TV screens worldwide has been a massive highlight. But last night – standing in the middle of Pentos, drinking arbor gold from a goblet – really brought into sword-sharpened focus just how lucky I’ve been… I don’t think perks get much perkier than this!

The party was in honour of the DVD release of Series One of Game of Thrones (coming March 5th – and the DVD looks incredible. The best DVD I’ve ever seen for a television show, period.). The invite led us down to the Old Vic tunnels by Waterloo station. We arrived near-enough on seven sharp: far too early to be fashionable but, let’s face it, we wanted to be able to look around and take in the party before it became too crowded to do so. Our diligence was rewarded: we stepped into a glorious interpretation of Pentos, complete with pillows strewn on the floor, silks adorning the walls (some emblazoned with the Targaryen sigil), and market stalls laden with fruit and flagons of wine. Themed-food (think quails eggs dipped in spiced nuts, roasted red pepper hummus, chicken tagine, grilled aubergine) was passed around by actors dressed like the Khaleesi’s handmaidens and fortune tellers read tarot cards to guests lounging on pillows.

Yes, it was pretty sumptuous!

The room gradually filled up (as did our actor-spotting cards), but I was most starstruck to meet David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – two people who are definitely inspiration for me as both the interpreters of ASoIaF but also as writers in themselves. I may have had a slightly tongue-tied conversation with David (yes, we are on a first name basis now, thanks for asking) in which I confused him into thinking that I worked on Tuf Voyaging and not for Voyager (quickly corrected), and then I praised him and the show profusely before running away. Ah, Amy, you are so slick.

D.B. Weiss and David Benioff – creators of Game of Thrones

After speeches from David & D.B. and some mini-skits involving two girls fighting (always popular with a tipsy crowd) and a girl eating a heart (possibly not the best right before dinner), they opened up the venue to reveal… *drum roll* Winterfell.

Oh, Winterfell – how you enchanted me! Huge long trestle tables laden with jugs of ale, enormous candelabras, roast hog on a spit, venison stew, men in armor, the seat of Winterfell and, through another room, the Iron Throne itself (Robert must’ve brought it with him on his way up from King’s Landing). I’d already had the chance to strike a pose on the Iron Throne when it travelled to Waterstones for the launch of A Dance with Dragons, but this time they had a fur cloak and sword as props – I was there! A highlight of the night was watching Arya (Maisie Williams), Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), take the throne. Hmm, I wonder what they know that we don’t?!

I take the Iron Throne (photo courtesy of GameofThronesDVDLaunch)

At any rate, all I really know is that War is Coming… and please, please, can April 2 and Season Two happen rightthissecond?

But enough talk – you want to see pictures, right? Head over to my facebook author page to see my photos from the night. Or to see the actors who were in attendance, you can check out the link.