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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Retribution Falls and The Black Lung Captain

from guest blogger, Karyn Silverman:

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Chris Wooding. Perhaps you’re familiar with his gritty realistic YA titles, Crashing and Kerosene, published in the U.S. under Scholastic’s Push imprint—the first when he was just 19. Or maybe you’ve read one of his fantasies: The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray and Poison still circulate regularly among my readers, and Alaizabel has been optioned and may make it to a screen near you one of these days. More recently, the creatively packaged novel-graphic novel mashup Malice (and sequel Havoc) brought Wooding to the attention of tweens. The guy is prolific!

In his native England, he’s published even more, including quite a few fantasy titles for the adult market. Retribution Falls, book 1 of The Tales of the Ketty Jay is the first of these to cross the pond, and it should make a splash—solid action and plenty of steampunk elements. Fun! You can start enjoying the crew and adventures even before you pick up the book thanks to the Logbook—17 short entries from the Captain’s own logbook, available at And once you’ve finished the first two novels and then passed them on to every teen you know (they’ll lap them up; I’ll have them on display to show off the awesome cover art along with lots of other airship and steam tales come September), don’t despair: at least two more are already contracted.

Hopefully I’ve already whet your appetite to read some Wooding, but if you need more, check out Chris talking about his writing on YouTube, or just visit his site for anecdotes, news, and more. (I lost quite a few hours poking around, so consider yourself warned!)

WOODING, Chris. Retribution Falls. 480p. ISBN 978-0-345-52251-1.
––––. The Black Lung Captain. 560p. ISBN 978-0-345-52250-4.
ea vol: Spectra. (Tales of the Ketty Jay Series) 2011. pap. $16. LC number unavailable.  Retribution Falls

Adult/High School–Airships, anti-heroes, and hijinks, oh my. Captain Darian Frey loves the Ketty Jay, his airship, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep flying, even when what it takes is illegal. He and his crew of not-quite-lovable misfits (an inhuman navigator, a drunken doctor, a daemonist on the run, a former slave from an enemy nation, a golem, and two socially inept pilots, along with womanizing, slightly drug addicted Frey) have a talent for falling into bad business and tangling with the fearsome Trinica Dracken, the scariest air captain around and Frey’s onetime fiancé. In Retribution Falls, adventure trumps character development, but what an adventure: after a job gone horribly awry, the crew find themselves taking on a conspiracy and maybe saving the day. Black Lung Captain has more heart: Frey found that he likes it when his crew is, well, a crew, and this time they willingly enter into the adventure, delivering lots of satisfying backstory along the way.  Black Lung CaptainThe series is strongly reminiscent of the TV series Firefly and its feature-film companion “Serenity”–indeed, the opening scene of Retribution Falls walks a fine line between plagiarism and homage–but teens who have seen those will enjoy the funhouse mirror similarities (more swearing, less niceness) while others will enjoy the books for the same reasons the show keeps finding new viewers. The books are perfect read-nexts for those who came of age with Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn (HarperCollins, 2004) or Philip Reeve’s “Hungry City Chronicles” (HarperTeen), and are exactly on target for the teen boy inside all of us.–Karyn N. Silverman, LREI (Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School), New York City

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.