I have many world and story ideas, but one of them which I have recently been working a lot on takes place in a setting populated entirely by talking magical creatures. There is not a single human in the setting. Yet, the story is in no way aimed at small children. The reason? The story tackles some very serious issues and is more akin to a fantasy animal farm then something like Arthur. Yes, it has cute animal characters, but it uses these characters to deliver a story about a world wracked by genocide, apartheid and environmental degradation. Even further the setting is the way it is because it essentially has been colonized by an imperialistic force that bears resemblance to historic imperial powers. It isn't totally happy, yet at the same time it is not written to be extremely dark either. While it deals with serious issues it does it in a way that is not crushingly depressing. The story has humor and actually can be quite light-hearted at times. It was inspired by many 90s cartoons which could be silly and fun at one point yet very dark and serious in another. So, this brings up my questions. This story is not aimed at very young children, but is also not aimed at adults. The main characters are young(like in there low teens.) and the story is not meant to be like the aforementioned animal farm. It's meant to put serious world issues both historical and current in a package that younger readers can handle and understand. Simply put, it's making rather dark real world topics "friendly" for readers while not babying them. It also may appeal to teens, though I am not 100% on this one. Anyway, my main question is if the issues the story covers are "too dark" for the audience the story would generally appeal to? Further, should I focus the story to an older audience, bumping up the ages of the characters and shifting it more to older teens ect..? Any thoughts and opinions on "dark" elements in stories aimed at older children/younger teens would be appreciated.