Friday, November 15, 2013
Once again we're posting favorite and recommended books. This year I'm focusing on series.
Wicked by Gregory Maguire: There's a lot going on here and Maguire takes the reader on a ride in Oz. The larger politics for the arrival and dictatorship by the Wizard. The segregation of so many groups. How Elphaba (the wrongly deemed Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (originally Galinda) became best friends despite their differences. There's a world of love and pain in Wicked that comes full circle in the end, even though you may already know how it ends. It's heavy in terms of world-building and Maguire stuffs a good amount of description in this text, yet it is such a spectacularly recreated world I highly recommend. I enjoyed Wicked immensely and the sequel Son of a Witch. The third and fourth/final books in the series were a bit much for me, but I'd still suggest them if you're interested in every character's full arc. If Elphaba is the one you love the most than you may want to stop at Wicked.
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy with illustrations by Ian Schoenherr: Maile Meloy is a lauded writer of short fiction and novels (primarily for an adult audience) and The Apothecary is her first foray into writing for children/teens. She wrote The Apothecary with the intention for it to be a standalone, but having received so many letters from her new young fans she decided to expand and make it a trilogy. The Apprentices released earlier this year and the final book is due out next year. I'm excited. I've met Maile a handful of times since she's toured in NYC and she is super friendly, really kind, a fantastic writer, and a fan of cupcakes. So what is there not to like? What pulled me into this series were the great balance of illustrations by Ian and the history that Maile weaves into Janie's coming-of-age tale. Janie is an American in England (post World War II) who gets thrust into a world she's not prepared to be in and realizes some of her potential. The series gets a bit darker in the second book and who knows how dark it may go in the finale but I'd highly suggest that readers check it out if they haven't along with Maile's other work because she has a way with characters and tension and especially dialogue.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: Everyone here at Fiction Femme Fatale is a huge Maggie Stiefvater fan (as you can see from Krystalyn's post last week & Stefanie's the year before). I became aware of her with the Shiver trilogy. I found the first book in my old company's library several years ago when I needed something to read on the ride home. Since then, hooked. Dream Thieves is the sequel to The Raven Boys series (which will be four books total). Maggie has a literary style and digs deep into her characters. I mean DEEP. It's a multiple POV series and in the sequel you get more of the hard-ass character of Ronan. My God you will adore him after reading this book. I couldn't stop thinking about Dream Thieves a couple of weeks after I read it and even went back to the first book to see the clues that Maggie left there. Woman is masterful in her writing and great to her fans. If you haven't read a Maggie book yet I'd advise you to stop reading this post (okay finish reading and then) head to your nearest bookstore/library and read one of her books. ANY of them, now.
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor: This is also a sequel in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series and man if I said Apprentices was a bit dark than this book is pitch black! Like Maggie, Laini has a literary and fantastical style that is all her own and quite unique in the humor she weaves in with the drama and more action-packed moments. She can write some of the most heartbreaking scenes you've ever read which means you're invested in her characters and books for the long haul. Karou and Akiva are like Romeo & Juliet as seraphim and demons. The sequel sets off a larger story that is set to end next spring and I am psyched. One of Laini's books was on my recommendations last year and I'm more than happy to recommend her again because this series is a standout.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I heard the hype and was refusing to indulge but hey Rick Yancey was at Book Expo, so was I, so why not get a copy? I have since raved about my love for this book. The main characters of Cassie and Zombie are so refreshing. Angry and prideful and flawed but determined and loyal and fighters down deep. From the first moments with Cassie on her own to Zombie's emergence as a soldier and even a couple 3rd-person POVs thrown in Rick takes you through the waves that slowly took down a world and how the rest of it is coming to an end all the while the climax for this first book is: what is the 5th and (final?) wave? I was into it from page one to the end and this is one of those times when I am anxious because I have to wait a year (or less by now) for the next book and then another year for the one after that. Dang.
Happy reading, writing (aka NaNoWriMo), and holidays!