Hello everyone! I'm posting, first off, to let you know that the bonus material is all updated and completed as far as I am able to complete it without spoilers. This INCLUDES audio versions of chapters from ON THE DAWNING, along with two character profiles, some more information from the Factbook, a chapter list, a quiz, and an open Q+A session. *Editor's Note on 10 October 2016: Content is no longer available.*
Today I'm also posting to talk about my favorite books! Hopefully most of you have read these--a few of them I will have to kill you over if you haven't. So...
The first book I'd like to talk about is The Giver by Lois Lowry. This book is the first of a sort-of trilogy, which is also fantastic, but The Giver itself works great as a solo novel. It's a YA dystopian sci-fi following twelve-year-old Jonah as he gets his adult job, which is the very unique Receiver of Memory. He will be the only person to have memories of what life was like before the Council removed all difference--the only one to know pain and love and color and music. His journey through the new memories shows him terrible truths about his own society, leading to his final, drastic action.
I love The Giver because, first off, the incredible sameness that it begins with. The depictions of the society Lowry writes are incredible. They fascinated me the first time I read it, and they still fascinate me now. The Ceremonies especially are well-written. Secondly, I love all the moral questions The Giver raises, acting as dystopian fiction before dystopias were hot stuff. And Jonah is an extremely relatable character as well, his actions at the end especially proving him to be a great man.
The second is a set of books, a very famous series you might know as la Harry Potter. Harry Potter is amazing and should be read by everyone. Don't let anyone tell you different. A children's epic fantasy series that follows hero Harry Potter and his friends through the typical epic fantasy track with dark and light, this is top-notch, relatable, readable fiction, people. There is no one like J.K. Rowling to create a world. She knows everything about it, which is one of the skills I most expressedly lack. She's also great with characterization, and though epic fantasy tends to follow the same track, she does it with her own flair--tons of political and moral dialogue and original questy stuff. And the central theme, about love, is a tearjerker if I ever saw one. Some people find the amount of description off-putting, but if you've ever read Lord of the Rings, you'll know this is nothing. You can skim it much easier than a two-page description of hobbit feet. Trust me.
Another gem of a series by a British author, this time a dude named Anthony Horowitz, would be The Gatekeepers. Originally intended to be children's horror, the series leans more into fantasy once you get past the first book, Raven's Gate. The Gatekeepers, like Harry Potter, is about combating the epic forces of evil, but in a much darker tone. It's about five superpowered children destined throughout the circle of time to fight and defeat the Old Ones, the epitome of evil, the very creation of evil. Though it lacks my favorite element, romance, it's well-written, heart-pounding, and the characters are strong. The last book is yet to come out, but I can tell you that the first four are incredible. Horowitz's writing in general is something to aspire to.
The ever-famous Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins set off a trend for YA dystopian novels with strong female characters and romance as a key feature, much the same way Twilight kicked off the vampire/werewolf bit. Truly, there is nothing like the original. The Hunger Games is pure brilliance. It follows Katniss Everdeen, who is the only popular female protagonist, in my opinion, to have an honest voice, a truly tough spirit, and morality. She's actually pure and modest and non-cussy on top of being strong. Do you know how awesome that is?
In the trilogy, Katniss is part of a pretty great love triangle with Gale and Peeta (I AM IN LOVE WITH PEETA. HE IS THE BEST ROMANTIC LEAD EVER AND MY FOREVER FICTIONAL CRUSH PEEETAAAAAA). However, the main focus of the series is, of course, the dystopia, the future country of Panem, which sends children each year to fight to the death in a televised arena. Katniss, naturally, blows the whole thing open.
The true brilliance behind this isn't just the amazing voice, the true characters, the fantastic world, or the thematic points it brings up. Or the beautiful romance. (Hi guys, I'm Kira, and I love romance.) It lies most of all in Suzanne Collins's ability to twist the plot, and your emotions, until you are totally raw. It's just incredible.
So, to conclude and all, these are the best books in the world, read them, and I will be bringing you more recommendations and other stuff SOON. :) Put your own favorites in the comments!
Pictures via Goodreads.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. Basically, stories are my life.
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