What Every YA Reader Should know + The Underworld Saga by Eva Pohler tour + $50 Giveaway

 

Today I have a stop for the blog tour of the Underworld Saga, by Eva Pohler, with the books Thanatos, Challenge of Hades, and more. And book 1, Thanatos, is free.  Check the books below and don’t forget to stroll down and enter to win a $50 gift card.

Eva stopped by to write about what YA readers should know, in an informative guest post.

What Every Reader of Young Adult Fiction Should Know

 

Whether you’re a young adult, an older teen, or someone in your twenties, thirties, forties, or older, there’s a reason you love reading young adult fiction.

 

Freud wrote that writers (and I would add consumers) of stories wish to replicate the pleasure once enjoyed during childhood play. He explained that we are reluctant to give up any pleasures we experience in life, and, as often as possible, we engineer the conditions under which we once felt pleasure. Before film, television, video games, adult board games, and live action role play, fiction and theater were the vehicles by which people experienced the pleasure of childhood play in a socially acceptable way.

 

Writers and consumers of young adult fiction, as opposed to other genres, wish to experience pleasure not often found in other stories. Whether or not we like to admit it, one or more of the tropes used in young adult fiction speaks to us on a deep, psychological level.

 

At this point, you may be rolling your eyes and saying, “Please. Are you seriously going to defend YA tropes?”

 

After earning my doctorate in literature and teaching a course called “Young Adult Literature” at a university for over twenty years, I’ve developed a perspective that may be unpopular and different from yours, but please hear me out.

 

I often read complaints from readers of young adult fiction about particular tropes; however, there’s no consensus over which tropes are “bad” and which are “good.” That’s because readers have different needs. You can bet that the very trope that annoys you may be the one that another reader craves. Here’s why.

 

  1. The protagonist’s parents are either dead, useless, or antagonists.

A list of some of the most popular young adult fiction, including Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, A Wrinkle in Time, Star Wars, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Golden Compass, and The Giver, possesses this trope. Readers who crave this situation in their stories often feel like they have little control in their lives. They enjoy submerging into a world where they become a protagonist that at first feels abandoned or oppressed by parents but is able to persevere and become empowered.

 

  1. The protagonist underestimates himself or herself.

Common in young adult fiction are protagonists who doubt their abilities to rise to the occasion. Luke Skywalker, Bilbo Baggins, Harry Potter (“I’m just Harry”), and countless others hesitate on the threshold of a quest, as Joseph Campbell describes in Hero with a Thousand Faces. In a similar vein, characters underestimate their ability to attract romantic partners. Bella Swan (in Twilight), Meg (in A Wrinkle in Time), Emma Woodhouse ( in Jane Austen’s Emma), and even Harry in the sixth Harry Potter book, are guilty of being oblivious to their good looks.

 

Readers who crave this situation in their stories usually feel insecure about their own abilities and/or appearance. Seeing a character who feels the same way and who eventually learns that they have what it takes is another kind of empowerment.

 

  1. The protagonist is reluctant.

In addition to being an unlikely hero, the protagonist is often an unwilling hero, as described by Joseph Campbell in Hero with a Thousand Faces. Before his aunt and uncle are killed by the Empire, Luke Skywalker resists Obi Wan’s call, because Luke thinks he’s needed on the farm. Bilbo Baggins has to be tricked by Gandalf to look for the king under the mountain in The Hobbit. And Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer just wants to lead a normal life. Readers who crave this situation want to make sense of the responsibilities life has forced on them. They want to believe that it has all happened for a reason, for a greater good.

 

  1. The protagonist is an outsider.

How many young adult novels have you read in which the protagonist feels as if she or he doesn’t belong? Unpopular, nerdy, introverted, or bullied, this protagonist has become a beloved trope by many readers who feel the same way in their lives. There’s something empowering to a reader who feels like an outsider in seeing someone likeminded become a hero.

 

  1. The protagonist is the chosen one.

As with the unlikely hero and the outsider, the chosen one fulfills a similar need to feel powerful in a world where we often feel helpless and without purpose. It’s exhilarating to follow the story of a seemingly average person–someone with whom many of us easily relate–only to discover that this person is the key to saving the world.

 

  1. The protagonist experiences an instant or mystical connection with a love interest.

The realists among us hate this trope, but the romantics find a one, true, fated love to be a wonderful dream. Many readers find comfort in the notion that everything happens for a reason and that each of us has a person with whom we are meant to spend our lives–a soulmate that affects us like no other. The idea that this soulmate is almost instantly recognizable or felt through electricity or chemistry is often criticized by readers who despise “insta-love.” But they forget that not all stories are meant to imitate life. Some are meant to escape it.

 

  1. The protagonist has not one but two love interests.

This is one of my personal favorites, though I have read scathing reviews by readers who despise love triangles. Practically speaking, however, the most popular young adult books (and films) have them. Readers (like me) who seek this situation in their stories long to be the protagonist who is so lovable that multiple people fight for her attention. As with the other tropes, our desire for them usually stems from insecurities. Escaping our world where we may feel unlovable to find more than one amazing love interest is yet another kind of empowerment.

 

  1. The protagonist is inexperienced, naive, and/or ignorant about the ways of the world.

This trope is useful in helping authors introduce their worlds to readers, as readers learn about the world alongside the protagonist. Examples include Clary in The Mortal Instruments and, once again, Harry Potter. In addition to being naive about the world, the protagonist may also be inexperienced in love. Readers who crave this trope are either young people who like to anticipate and dream about their future first kiss or older people who want to experience those “firsts” all over again through a story.

 

In addition to understanding the reasons for these common tropes, readers of young adult fiction should be aware of the special situation in which they are often placed.

 

Literature, and art in general, can be a powerful weapon for good or evil. Plato discusses the danger of art in The Republic. It can perpetuate stereotypes, propaganda, and lies. Children’s and young adult fiction can be especially adept at brainwashing its victims. For example, the earlier versions of Cinderella and Snow White, in which oppressed female characters must be saved by a prince charming, were enemies of the female liberation movement. Hugh Lofting’s The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle promotes imperialistic attitudes toward native peoples. William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, a work I consider to be brilliant in terms of literary technique, likewise supports the notion that the conditioning forces of British institutions are necessary to tame savages.

 

Young adult books also have the capacity to be powerful tools for social justice. Works such as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl come to mind as works that record, reveal, or expose injustices. Stories can also function as tools of social criticism, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Finally, young adult literature can show us a world that is more equitable than the one we live in, such as Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects, and even apocalyptic stories such as Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. In the latter, humanity is leveled by zombies but the new world order that arises from the ashes includes leaders that are female, men and women of color, gay, and members of other pre-apocalyptic disenfranchised groups.

 

You also have to wonder why some of the tropes in young adult fiction make some readers so angry. I’m often shocked by reviews of young adult novels by readers that are outraged by any one of the above I’ve mentioned. Perhaps they feel robbed, having paid money for a story that seems too familiar–tired, even. Maybe they were hoping for something brand new, original, less derivative. But, here’s the thing: all stories, to one degree or another, are derivative. As is stated in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

 

However, good stories are able to make “the familiar strange” as Viktor Shklovsky once wrote. So it isn’t unfair for readers to complain when a story feels “tired.” Yet, the sheer presence of the trope is not the problem; it’s the way in which it is treated by the author.

 

Whether you agree or disagree with my perspectives on young adult literature, I invite you to download one of my books for free, as an example of a work that contains most of the above tropes and which, in light of issues of social justice, portrays a character who eventually (in later books) goes up against the patriarchal Greek pantheon in an attempt to reform it.

 

I wrote Thanatos as a defense of Hades, who is unfairly conflated with the Judeo-Christian “Satan” in Disney’s animated film Hercules. I was inspired by the movie Meet Joe Black, in which Death wants a chance to learn about life. I wondered how the story might be different if based on Thanatos, the Greek god of death. At the time I wrote Thanatos, readers of Percy Jackson had no other Greek mythology stories to age up to. I saw this as an opportunity to fill a need while indulging my love for Greek myth. Unlike the Percy Jackson stories, my protagonist would interact, not with demigods, but with the gods themselves, in a modern setting. The story began as a standalone and grew into a trilogy. With reader demand, I expanded it into a six-book saga and later added a prequel that could be read before or after the series. As the books continued to do well, I added three more to what is now a ten-book series called The Underworld Saga.

 

I invite you to read the first book for free in ebook to see if you like my style and my use of common tropes. Many of my readers have gone on to read all ten books in the series multiple times. A reviewer for Midwest Review wrote that Thanatos is “a powerful young adult fantasy” and a writer for Kirkus Reviews said that it’s “sure to thrill.” It’s also been described as “addicting,” “entertaining,” and “one of the best modern retellings of ancient myth.”

 

At the back of the final book, Storming Olympus, I ask readers to email me if they want me to continue with The Marcella II. The response has been overwhelming. The Marcella II will release on May 31, 2020 in a new series called Vampires and Gods.

 

To download your free ebook copy of Thanatos from your favorite vendor, please go here.

 

The Underworld Saga by Eva Pohler Blog Tour

Thanatos
The Underworld Saga Book 1
by Eva Pohler
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Dive into a world in which the ancient gods of Greece are real.
Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos (the god of sleep) and Thanatos (the god of death). She thinks she’s manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world.
Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese’s heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her.
The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.
**Get it FREE**
Series Trailer

Challenge of Hades

The Underworld Saga Book 2
Thanatos and Therese’s love story continues in the second book of this epic young adult series by USA Today bestselling author Eva Pohler.
Ten agonizing months have gone by since Therese faced off against her parents’ murderer at Mount Olympus, and she suspects Thanatos’s absence is meant to send her a message: go on with your life. She tries to return Pete’s affections even though her heart aches for the god of death. Then she becomes infuriated with Than when he says that he’s “been busy.”
In cahoots with her new friend, who’s gotten in with the Demon Druggies at school, Therese takes a drug that simulates a near-death experience, planning to tell Than off so she can have closure and move on, but things go very, very wrong.
Eventually she learns that Than has been busy searching for a way to make her a god, and he’s found it, but it requires her to complete a set of impossible challenges designed by Hades, who hopes to see her fail.

A New Goddess

The Underworld Saga Book 3
Death is not the worst fate for a goddess.
The Olympians don’t tolerate oath-breakers.
Therese may have finally succeeded in becoming a goddess, but if she wants to remain one, she’ll have to discover her unique purpose and make some allies among the gods. Artemis sends her on a seemingly impossible quest across the world, while Than searches for a way to appease Ares. To make matters worse, Therese’s unborn baby sister’s life depends on the outcome of her quest.
Can Than and Therese finally live the life they’ve dreamed of? Or do the gods have other plans for them?

The House of Hades

The Underworld Saga Book 4
Just when things were looking up for Than and Therese, everything crumbles.
Eighteen-year-old Therese Mills has second thoughts about marrying Thanatos when she learns that no god has ever been faithful to his wife. But before she can move out of Than’s rooms and into Hecate’s, the Underworld is attacked, she and her friends are crushed, the souls are unleashed, and a malevolent goddess threatens to unhinge Mount Olympus.
Hypnos has just made a deal with Hades to have his turn in the Upperworld, but before he can tempt Jen with a kiss, he’s called back to rebind the souls and defend the House of Hades, and he unwittingly puts Jen and her family in harm’s way.
Can Hip, Than, and Therese save the living and the dead?

The Athena Alliance

The Underworld Saga Book 5
She never thought her wedding day would be like this.
When Zeus invites Therese and Thanatos to a party on Mount Olympus in their honor, they and the other gods who have formed the Athena Alliance are immediately suspicious of a trap. They fear Zeus has learned of their desire to free Metis and Cybele and to stand up for all the women he has wronged.
Although Therese recruits Dione, Amphitrite, and others to the Alliance, Pete has unwittingly sabotaged their plans by revealing to Zeus the prophecy from the ghost of Mr. Holt. And now, the day that might have been the most wonderful day of Therese’s life (her wedding day) will be wrought with conflict where someone close to her is fated to die.
Can Therese and the other gods in the Alliance bind the almighty Zeus and restore justice and true democracy among the Olympians? Or will Zeus succeed in swallowing Therese and separating her from Thanatos for all eternity?

Hades’s Promise

The Underworld Saga Book 6
Therese never expected to find herself in Circe’s battlefield again, and this time she fights for things more important than her life.
Before Therese and Thanatos can come to terms with the uncertain future of their unborn twins, Poseidon is attacked and both his wife and trident are stolen.
Therese is forced to deliver her babies in the midst of an all-out war with enemies more powerful than the Olympians.

Hypnos

The Underworld Saga Book 7
Therese doesn’t like being stuck on the sidelines, especially when the entire pantheon is in trouble.
Hypnos and Jen aren’t married long when they realize something’s missing: they both want to have a child, especially when they see how happy Therese and Than are with their twins. But the creation of new gods is against the rules, and they aren’t willing to give up their immortality.
Hypnos goes to Mount Olympus to offer Zeus a deal. He’ll make it his mission to find out the source of the recent attacks on Gaia–horrible earthquakes that have already released two monsters from the Titan Pit–if Zeus will agree to let him and Jen have one immortal child.
Because the attacks are getting humans killed and none of the other gods have been able to discover a lead, Zeus, in his desperation, agrees. But this new quest just might get Hypnos swallowed and trapped for all eternity, and there seems to be nothing Therese and Than can do to stop it.

Hunting Prometheus

The Underworld Saga Book 8
Hermie and Hestie never asked to be demigods.
Unlike others of their kind, they aren’t interested in going on quests and being the center of a world-changing prophecy. But when Zeus learns of Apollo’s vision–of the twins finding Prometheus, Zeus’s number one enemy–the hunt for Prometheus begins.
Zeus and his allies want to bind Prometheus and to kill the twins before their threat of a revolution becomes a possibility. If Hermie and Hestie don’t find the Titan first, they have no chance of fulfilling their destiny or of surviving Zeus’s threat against them.

Storming Olympus

The Underworld Saga Book 9
The rebellion led by Hades prepares to storm Mount Olympus.
But their every move is sabotaged. Morpheus is torn between his allegiance to his Underworld family and the oath he swore to Zeus under duress. Forced to play both sides, Morpheus sees no hope for the rebellion.
Hermie and Hestie share Morpheus’s despair. Although Poros turned them into gods, the transformation has only heightened Hermie’s debilitating fears. And even Hestie’s fierce determination isn’t enough to overcome her trust issues.
As the gods square off, how can one identify the friend from the foe?
Read the surprising conclusion to USA Today bestselling author Eva Pohler’s The Underworld Saga.

Persephone

An Underworld Saga Prequel
Unrest brews among gods and mortals alike when Hades makes a deal with the Fates to end his loneliness in the Underworld.
But when Persephone proposes to conspire with him in a plot against Demeter, things get out of hand.
Find out the truth of how Hades and Persephone met and fell in love and the impact it had on the rest of the pantheon in the throes of the Trojan War. Learn how their children–Hypnos, Thanatos, Megaera, Tisiphone, Alecto, and Melinoe–came into being. Discover why they were assigned their respective duties as Sleep, Death, the Furies, and the goddess of ghosts. Find out the real reason why the Olympians possessed such profound disdain for these Underworld gods.
This prequel to The Underworld Saga is more than a retelling of the Persephone myth. Many more of the ancient myths are woven together to reveal the conflict, tension, and relationships among the gods in one of the most beloved pantheons in human history.
Persephone can be read before or after The Underworld Saga, but might be enjoyed best at the end.

Charon’s Quest

An Underworld Saga Novel
The ferryman of the dead is forced to leave the life he’s always known.
Apollo has had a vision: as the life of each soul flashes before Charon’s eyes, the ferryman ages like an old man. Charon needs to experience his own adventures to become youthful again, or he will soon die. The last thing Charon expects is to fall in love with a mortal woman—someone he can’t take with him when he returns. Charon must decide whether to abandon the love of his life or his duties.While Charon’s Quest shares the world of The Underworld Saga (a bestselling paranormal romance/urban fantasy series), it can be read before or after or anytime in between the rest of the books in the saga.
Eva Pohler is a USA Today bestselling author of over twenty-five novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult fantasy. Her books have been described as “addicting” and “sure to thrill”–Kirkus Reviews.
After teaching writing and literature at a university for over twenty years, Eva is now a full time writer in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband, three adult children, and three dogs.
A reader herself, Eva’s stories blur the line between reality and fantasy, truth and delusion, and draw from Eva’s personal philosophy that a reader must be lured and abducted into complete captivity in order to enjoy the reading experience.

$50 Amazon gift card

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
06/25/2020 - Category: Book tour/blitz - Tags: Book Tour / Silver Dagger Tours

Leave a comment



Grace Henley

2 weeks ago

Thanks for the Chance!

Leah

1 week ago

Interesting series! And the covers are cool. 🙂

Winter holley

1 week ago

Those cover are all so beautiful.

Eva Pohler

1 week ago

Thank you!

Tabitha Ritchie

1 week ago

These are very good covers! I love all the blues and greens.

Jackie Tansky

1 week ago

Love the books. Can’t wait to read more

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