The Roar Background

The Roar Background

The Roar is a children's science fiction novel published by author Emma Clayton in 2009, and illustrated by Jim Murray. It was published in Britain in the same year as The Hunger Games was published in the USA, and worthwhile comparisons can be made, with both being young adult fiction dealing with the issues of a media obsessed society in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world. Indeed both novels are in part responsible for the sudden spike in young adult science/post apocalptic fiction, a trend which also encompasses the Divergent and Maze Runner series.

Author Emma Clayton's publication of the novel, which is her debut, came after winning a competition with Waterstones and Faber and Faber. Originally submitting three chapters, her prize entailed a publishing deal.

Comparisons of The Roar to the works of other authors can also be made, and many point to Ender’s Game (1977) by Orson Scott Card as bearing striking similarities. One could view the novel as a modern update of the Ender's Game, which dealt with similar science fiction themes. Clayton welcomes such comparison, claiming that Scott was a visionary - writing before many technological advancements - she deals with a pre-existing culture of video games, films and books when creating her fictional world. Clayton also welcomes the comparisons to Susanne Collins claiming that it is "exciting" to be part of the new movement in youth fiction.

Contextually, 2008-9 the world was undergoing a huge boom in social media, with platforms such as youtube and facebook reaching peak user numbers. The novel in some respects can be seen as a turn-of-the-decade expression of anxieties about this ever growing, connected culture. The novel also introduces a young audience to themes that are typically seen as indicative of adult fiction, from government corruption to social and economic divides.

The novel received a warm critical response, with many praising it for its rich and imaginative world. It was nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal award, honouring the new novels by children's authors. Following this, the novel won the Yorkshire Coast Book Award, and was selected for the 2010 Texas Lone Star Reading List and the USBBY 2010 Outstanding International Books Honor List.

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