Teens' Book of the Month: Children of Icarus
Book: Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith | Age category: 12+
Ever since our protagonist can remember, she’s heard the story of Icarus and watched children enter the labyrinth outside the city each year, destined to become his angels. Although being chosen as Icarii brings honour, she’s never been desperate to follow them, unlike her friend Clara who longs to be reunited with her older brother Collin. But when both girls are chosen to enter the labyrinth, they find that it is very different to what either of them expected. What should be their path to paradise is more like a nightmare, and when they’re torn apart, one must struggle to survive against the odds.
In Children of Icarus, Caighlan Smith uses Greek mythology to craft an original dystopian society, which acts as a backdrop for the fast-paced and action-packed plot. If you’re looking for an exciting new YA read, you might find it difficult to put this book down!
We have 5 copies of Children of Icarus to be won! To be in with a chance of winning one, just answer this question:
What are the children chosen to enter the labyrinth called?
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. The competition closes on Friday 30 December at 5pm.
Q&A with Caighlan Smith
How did you become interested in the story of Icarus, and how did that interest develop into this story?
Greek mythology has fascinated me since I was a kid, since before I even started school. The Icarus myth was just a part of that overall mythology love, though what really intrigued me about the story of Icarus wasn’t actually Icarus himself, but his father, Daedalus, who built the labyrinth. When I was fourteen, it struck me that a labyrinth filled with mutated Greek monsters would be an excellent setting for a story. Perhaps I should note that this was around the time I read Lord of the Flies and was therefore thoroughly fascinated with youth societies and the survival genre. That fascination, much like my interest in Greek mythology, has only grown. I came back to the labyrinth idea when I was twenty, the summer before my third year of university, and ended up writing Children of Icarus.
What would you be scared to run into within the labyrinth?
A crossroads. I’m incredibly indecisive in everything outside story-telling. I would just stand there stressing over taking the wrong path, until the horrible monster at the end of the wrong path got tired of waiting and just came for me itself. Really, I’d be thoroughly incompetent in any horrific survival situation, and so everything would scare me. I’d be scared about breaking my glasses. I’d be scared about an allergic reaction to the various flora. I’d be scared of running too much and having an asthma attack. I think most of all I would be scared of not having a proper bed. Aside from writing, sleeping is my favourite activity. A proper bed is paramount.
Do you have any tips for aspiring young writers?
Write a lot and read a lot. Even if you write something you later consider to be complete garbage, just keep in mind you’ve become a better writer for writing it. Reading, likewise, is one of the most natural ways to harness your style, voice, and other writing skills, all while actually enjoying yourself.
Learn how to tell the roses from the thorns. You’re going to get advice about your work, from readers and eventually editors. Recognise that while much advice will benefit the story, some advice may hurt it. Craft the story into the best that it can be without losing its heart.
Write something you’ll enjoy rereading later. This will help the editing process exponentially. Besides, if you’re not enjoying your own story, why will anyone else?
Don’t forget to enter our competition to win a copy of Children of Icarus!