The other day, I was looking at my listing for Nevermor on Amazon (the print version), and I noticed that, at the bottom of the page, it stated that the age range was 1-17, and that the reading level was grade 1 and up. … I don’t know who decided to put that information there, but it wasn’t me. Just because I didn’t mark it as having ‘adult content’ does not mean that it’s appropriate for all ages, CreateSpace! Also in the side column, I noticed that it was showing a link for ‘Best Children’s Books’. …am I being linked to children’s books?? Now, maybe it was just a coincidence, but let me officially say it again:
The Nevermor trilogy is NOT for children.
It’s based on Peter Pan, yes. Peter Pan is a children’s book and also a Disney film, yes. It has bred many retellings and continuations, most for children (but not all). That said, this is also not Peter Pan. See, changing the characters did another thing for me: it helped me to take the preconceived notions out of the characters and give readers a new first impression without the Disney baggage.
So, do not buy it for your young kids – unless of course that’s cool with you. I even wrote in the description that it’s for ages 16+ so that no one would be confused. That info is also on the back of the print book. (One of the strangest comments I ever got from a fan – not about Nevermor – was a message telling me how awesome I was, and then went on to say ‘even my 3-year-old loves you!’ …I’m just like ‘what? No… #you’redoingitwrong’) Anyway, Nevermor is dark, it is gritty, and it deals with mature themes. Whether or not the themes are always R-rated, they do require a deeper understanding, and I believe older readers will appreciate these things more. The plot is complicated, somewhat mature, and progressively gets more mature as it goes along, so note that as well.
At the same time, I think that certain people might find it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for, and not just in a fairytale retelling. Simply, in a book.
I often find myself with the misconception that I like YA books, when in reality, I’m not sure I do. Maybe some, but it’s wading through the sea of awful to find the good ones. Just because something sounds interesting doesn’t mean that it is, and I’m incredibly picky. Not only must it have an interesting plot, the characters must be interesting, the love enticing (no insta-love, though I don’t have to have romance at all, to be honest), the storyline creative, and on top of all that, the writing has to be immersive and poetic. …and if I feel like I can see the end coming, that’s a deal-breaker. I WILL stop reading. The writing in YA is often simple, the plots easy to figure out, and very often the characters are shallow and I wind up not having feelings for them at all.
That’s what I strive to work against. I want to make something better – or at least the sort of written treasure I long to discover myself.
So back to talking about Nevermor: Some people like to know exactly what they’re getting into when they read a book – or watch a movie, or play a game… Even I check some things out before I dive in. I think that the ‘dark fantasy’ tag scares people, but I didn’t want to lie about what sort of story it is. The last thing I want is for someone to get mixed up in a story they don’t want to be mixed up in, but I also think that if some readers would only give it a try, Nevermor may not be as bad as they think.
So what exactly is so mature about the Nevermor trilogy, and what can you expect? On some movie sites, I’ve noticed parental overviews which tell parents exactly what is in the film scene-by-scene so that they can judge it themselves. I even read those sometimes. So while I’m not going to tell you the exact instances of what you’re going to find in the series, I will give you an overview, which I don’t believe I ever did.
Nevermor’s warnings (considering you haven’t already read it)
There is plenty of cursing – maybe not a lot by the standards of what comes out of people’s mouths every minute or two when they get going, but including strong words, at least. I’m not the sort of author that dodges. If my characters are saying something bad, you’re certainly going to hear it too. You won’t catch me writing things like “he muttered something that sounded like ‘witch’ but wasn’t.” (Clare). I’m straightforward with the language and I like it that way. “But, Lani, can’t it be just as good without all the swearing?” NO! And you can’t tell me that pirates and teenage boys don’t swear A LOT.
I like to write about violence, fighting – mostly stylized or meaningful in some way. This comes from my personal love of action and horror, so there’s a lot of blood splashing around. (Don’t slip in it.) It annoys me when writers go to great pains to make sure that no one gets hurt at all. I will also do really terrible things to immortal characters, because they can’t die from it, of course. There is terror and there are hideous monsters, and people who do bad things. You know, fun stuff.
My characters are not always good people. Even the so called ‘good guys’ don’t always stick to the straight and narrow. I call it being human. Circumstances arise and choices must be made – sometimes selfish, sometimes sacrificial. Also, the ‘bad guys’ are usually incredibly bad…though sometimes it is hard to tell which is which at all. Characters are like people with different motives, and love is not always the most important thing.
I often deal with sexual themes – sometimes subtle, sometimes major. Not always involving love. I don’t always describe very graphic, erotica-type sexual encounters, but when I do… Nah, just kidding. Sometimes I do, but I don’t really plan to do that in this series. As far as dealing with underage characters, I suppose I push it a bit. But again, I won’t pretend those things aren’t issues or that feelings like that don’t exist between teenagers, even though they are young.
I don’t mind making people a bit uncomfortable for the sake of a point, but there are a few things I’m not willing to do, so…don’t think too badly of it, just because I say it’s a ‘dark’ story. What I really mean is that it’s fantasy/horror. At the end of the day, I’m not that outrageous. I have scruples.
Aside from all that, there are also many good things that can be enjoyed in Nevermor if you’re mature (also considering that you already enjoy those things I just mentioned). There are good messages, the plot is interesting, the writing is – well, not terribly simple like some. I don’t feel like talking big, I just felt like writing about this. I always get complements about my characters, and I usually do write character-driven stories.
Basically, Nevermor is Young Adult with adults in mind. ….and this was more of a rant than anything, I guess. :p