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5 Young Adult Fantasies Told Through Dual-Point of View

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5 Young Adult Fantasies Told Through Dual-Point of View

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5 Young Adult Fantasies Told Through Dual-Point of View

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Published on April 13, 2023

Photo by Farrinni [via Unsplash]
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Photo of two peoples' hands reaching for each other, silhouetted against a cloudy sky
Photo by Farrinni [via Unsplash]

If there’s one thing I look for in YA fantasy, it’s a side of romantic tension. More specifically, the fraught, complicated kind. Whether the characters are rivals, mortal enemies, or simply two young people who can’t seem to get along, you can inject it into my veins. When building this kind of dynamic, I absolutely love dual-POV (point of view). As a reader, there’s something about knowing both of the main characters better than they know each other. You’re constantly on the edge of your seat, waiting for secrets to come to light or repressed feelings to burst forth. Only then can you let out the breath you didn’t know you were holding.

That said, it likely comes as no surprise that my debut novel Seven Faceless Saints contains the perspectives of both main characters as their paths converge after three long years apart. Of course, it’s far from a peaceful reconciliation, but that’s to be expected when one’s former beloved stood by as his father ruined one’s life. Oh, the perils of young love.

Without further ado: five angst-riddled, dual-POV YA fantasies I’ve enjoyed recently.

 

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew

Andrew’s eerily beautiful story combines fantasy, romance, and dark academia, but what really makes this a standout debut is the tension between the two POV characters. Delaney “Lane” Meyers-Petrov has always been unusual, even if she doesn’t quite know why. On her first day of classes at Godbole—an equally unusual school—she meets Colton Price, her frustrating and capricious TA. But their paths have crossed before. And although Lane doesn’t remember it, Colton certainly does. It’s hard to forget the girl who called you back from death.

As Lane and Colton work to solve a series of mysteries at Godbole, their relationship becomes increasingly complex. Lane knows Colton is hiding something, and as the reader, so do we. Having access to both perspectives, it’s intriguing to watch the characters form misconceptions about one another as a romance blossoms and the tension builds to a head. Lane immediately assumes Colton hates her, but from Colton’s POV you learn that couldn’t be further from the truth. Meanwhile, they’re both constantly intrigued by one another. It’s a classic example of “Character A is down bad, while Character B has no idea.” Combine that with all the secrets primed to come to light, the reader is steeped in anticipation from the start, which makes the resolution all the more sweet—and painful.

 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

If there’s one thing I love, it’s romantic tension between two characters on a track to destroy one another. Combine that with a capable, vengeful female character and a deeply emotional male character, and you’ve got a winner in my books.

Karina is an untested princess who will do anything to bring her murdered mother back from death—even dark magic. First, though, she needs the heart of a king. So when a competition for her hand in marriage commences, she knows she needs to kill the victor. Meanwhile, lower-class Malik’s beloved little sister has just been kidnapped. He makes a deal in exchange for her life: all he needs to do is kill Karina. And the best way to get close to her is to enter the competition to become her king.

Excitement ensues as Karina and Malik plot each other’s downfall, having no idea their own lives are at risk. This leaves the reader wondering how on earth a resolution will come about—especially given Karina and Malik’s growing connection.

 

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

A masterclass in atmosphere, A Far Wilder Magic is a tale of a prickly girl and a charismatic boy who team up in an attempt to win a magical hunt. The real heart of the story, though, lies in the interactions between these two characters. Weston “Wes” Winters is an aspiring alchemist who shows up at Margaret Welty’s secluded home hoping to apprentice with her mother. Personality-wise, Wes and Margaret are immediately at odds. But they need each other in order to enter the hunt, and so their tumultuous relationship begins.

Through their very different perspectives, we see how Wes and Margaret directly influence each other’s character development. Wes teaches Margaret she doesn’t always have to be alone; in turn, she teaches him that he’s allowed to be vulnerable. Knowing them both on such an intimate level is crucial to appreciating the depth of their connection. Both are outsiders in their society, and are full to the brim of fears and desires. It takes them some time to be honest with one another, and only then can they change their circumstances (and kiss).

 

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

I specifically love dual-POV when the two characters have a shared past. Seeing how they remember one another, as well as how the dynamic between them has shifted over time, is one of my favourite methods of characterization. As such, I was a big fan of Onyx and Ivory.

Kate Brighton’s father committed treason, and she still carries the weight of his crime. She’s trying to start over when she accidentally saves the life of Corwin Tomane—the king’s son and the boy she once loved. As the two reunite to try and solve a mystery involving dragons and court intrigue, they struggle to rebuild their friendship, then their romance. For me, having both Kate and Corwin’s perspectives is key to understanding how their complicated history informs their present interactions.They perceive the events that led to the end of their friendship very differently, and they have wildly different biases. The reader isn’t simply told about these conflicting feelings—they get to see it from both sides. Can you say drama?

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

A Little Mermaid retelling with teeth, Christo weaves a tale of two characters who team up while actively working against one another. Lira, a siren cursed to be a human, can only return to the sea if she delivers Prince Elian’s heart to her mother. He wouldn’t be the first prince she’s killed, after all. Unfortunately for her, Prince Elian is a renowned siren hunter.

This is enemies-to-lovers at its best. The tension is unparalleled—especially since Lira has far more information than Elian, which means the reader does, too. But in my opinion, what sets this apart from other dual-POV books with a romance arc is the fact that the characters are so similar. They’re both killers, for one, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Since we get both perspectives, we can guess exactly how much betrayal and chaos is about to ensue as Lira and Elian begrudgingly set off on an adventure together.

 

Buy the Book

Seven Faceless Saints
Seven Faceless Saints

Seven Faceless Saints

M. K. Lobb is a fantasy writer with a love of all things dark—be it literature, humour, or general aesthetic. She grew up in small-town Ontario and studied political science at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa. She now lives by the lake with her partner and their cats. When not reading or writing, she can be found at the gym or contemplating the harsh realities of existence. Her debut novel Seven Faceless Saints (Little, Brown) released in early 2023 and is available now. The sequel, Disciples of Chaos, will follow in February 2024.

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M. K. Lobb

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