A series full of magic, adventure, dreaming and true love. Meet Ronan (the dream thief), Gansey (the boy-king), Adam (the mechanic), Noah (the unnoticed one) and Blue (the cursed non-psychic) who are searching for a dead Welsh king in the hills of the all-American state of Virginia. The quest will change each and every one of them — and, it is said that those who wake the king will be granted one wish, but the group of five aren’t the only ones searching for the king. A slow-burn read with a heartbreaking climax that you will read over and over again.
It’s been less than a week since I’ve finished the final book in this series, but the series has stayed with me. As most people found, when Book III came out (Blue Lily, Lily Blue), I read it too quickly, didn’t enjoy it enough. So when The Raven King finally arrived, I knew I had to re-read the series despite how much I wanted to read the Raven King. I wasn’t disappointed. If I hadn’t re-read, I would have missed the masterful technique that went into telling this story. I missed Gansey being the main character — he wasn’t supposed to be, in the end; he was the glue between all the pieces — but I got to appreciate Adam’s development into who he was meant to be. I got to watch Ronan come to terms with who he is and where he came from. I watched Blue accept her fate. I let Noah go. This group, so tightly wound together, unravelled and grew up.
The story follows a dead king sleeping on a magical ley line, and the people trying to find him.
Mitsubishi. Chevrolet. BMW. Mercedes. Porsche. Subaru.
They slid by and by and by. Never overtaking, never speeding up, just lapping. Lap after lap of the circuit.
She turned her head towards the sound. The new car sound. A rumble that resonated through — no, across — the ground, and up, vibrating the constructed stadium. The pristine white, the fluoro blue bars and rims, glided into the stadium, its nose at the edge of the circuit.
She knew this was trouble. Everyone knew this meant trouble.
The white car was on fire last week. And yet, here it was, revving. Ready to go.
A vignette, a 100-word drabble, inspired by a mix of The Chainsmokers (feat. Halsey) single “Closer” and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” series.
Are we out the woods. Are we in the clear yet.
He sits on the hood of his car. Waiting. Just waiting. 2am. 3am. 4am. The hours come and go and he never moves. His head is bent towards the ground; his eyes never moving from the dirt on the side of the road. Concentrating on nothing; nothing but the time passing him by.
The sun’s first ray shines over the horizon, through the forest behind the car. He turns and waits, watching.
If you and I were there, we would swear she walked out from the tree line. But that isn’t what happened. She appeared, out of nothing at all.
A vignette, a 100-word drabble, inspired by a mix of Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Dream Thieves”.
I am the editor of a scrapbook magazine. This means that all the new friends and creatives I meet are papercrafters, not writers. And often they have kids. Occasionally I’ll see a post like the one on the left on my social media streams and I just have to jump in and recommend books because I love introducing people to my favourites. (And all the writers in my life know this list.)
Note I: This post will deal with series only. They are not in any particular order.
Note II: Harry Potter is not on the list because it’s assumed you’ve already read it.
The Lumatere Chronicles. (Melina Marchetta, Penguin) I had to start with an Aussie series, but this series holds its own against even the best overseas series. A country is in exile and it’s up to the king’s best friend to reunite his people and take them home. Recommended for 14+
The Spiderwick Chronicles. (Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, Simon & Schuster) I am very partial to this series as I have never found anything for middle readers that quite lives up to the imagination that this book has. Jared, his twin brother, older sister and mother move into an old Victorian house in New England after their father leaves them. When Jared comes across an old book that details the mysterious creatures of the forest, Jared has to see them for himself. Recommended for 8+
“The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” trilogy. (Laini Taylor, Hachette) A recent addition to my recommendation list, but I’ve bought it twice now–once in ebook form and once in hard copy. Karou is mysterious to everyone, she has crazy blue hair, open eyed tattoos on her hands, and is whisked away at any moment for no reason. The reason that she can’t share is that she is a tooth collector for her foster monster dad. Recommended for 14+
The Raven Cycle. (Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic) Warning: do not get too attached to this book. There are only two published out of the four in the series. Whenever I read these books, I feel like I’m coming back to old friends. Set in Henrietta, a town that lies on the magical leyline which is the key to finding the lost king who will grant his saviours one wish. Recommended for 14+
The Sally Lockhart Mysteries. (Philip Pullman, Oxford University Press) No, it’s the normal Philip Pullman recommendation, but it’s just as amazing. Meet Sally, who is essentially an orphan, and is looking for a way to make her life meaningful in Victorian London. She stumbles upon a mystery surrounding her father’s death and a photographer who is willing to help her. Sadly for Sally, the fourth book is my favourite and she’s barely in it! Recommended for 11+
The Tales of the Otori. (Lian Hearn, Hachette) Admittedly, I have not read all five books, and honestly I’d only recommend reading the original trilogy. As a historical fantasy novel, it is greatly influenced by feudal Japan. Another plus point: Australian writer! A riveting story that makes you want to visit Japan. Recommended for 14+
“The Bronze Horseman” trilogy. (Paullina Simons, HarperCollins) This book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s intense. It’s heart-breaking. It’s an epic love story set in World War II Russia. It’s my go-to gift book. (Testament in this picture and this picture) But it’s not for young kids. I read it when I was fifteen, but that’s because I ignored my teacher’s recommendation to get my mother to read it first. And then my mother was a little horrified when she eventually read it. (What I’m trying to say, descriptive sex in this book!) I won’t put an age recommendation on this book because everyone is different. At fifteen, I read it twice in one week.
This list should keep you going for sometime. But I’ll make a non-series list sometime soon too. AND: I would love to hear how the papercrafters go!