The 30 Day Geek Out Challenge continues with Day 13 – A Geeky Gal’s post for today is all about books. This is another day I have to be extra for, simply because reading is one of my biggest passions, alongside video games. Here’s five books (series, or stand-alones) that I’ve loved throughout the years.
Day 13: Favourite book series?
Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan
Meghan, age 12, was obsessed with many things, two of which were reading and Greek mythology. When the first book in this series, The Lightning Thief, came out, my parents bought it for me for Christmas, or a birthday maybe. I absolutely flew through this book, and loved everything about it. Percy Jackson was a great protagonist – he was funny, loyal, and most of all relatable – he wasn’t great at everything, and he failed often. Grover and Annabeth were both solid characters (I always liked Annabeth’s no-nonsense attitude) and the Greek mythology (though watered down slightly) was always appealing to me. The demi-god children of the Greek Pantheon (Percy’s father being Poseidon) having their own strengths and unique powers made the action in these novels that much more exciting. Similar to Harry Potter, I feel like I grew up with this series, and I’ll always consider it a favourite of mine.
The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham
This series was recommended to me by an old co-worker, after we’d gotten into a discussion about A Game of Thrones. I decided to give it a try, and it’s easily one of the best fantasy series that I’ve ever read. The novels center around the people known as Poets, who are able to bring literal written concepts to life as powerful beings called the Andat. They pay a heavy price for their power, as they are forever chained to their creations, and once an Andat has been lost, its power can never again be captured in the same way. For example, an Andat called “Water Moving Down” that is able to control rain, rivers, and seas, would have to be described, renamed, and re-conceptualized in order to be bound again. With the limitations of language (obviously there are only so many ways to describe the same concept) this makes binding and losing an Andat a very tricky business. The Andat are incredibly useful to the people of these lands, like Seedless, who is able to help with the harvest, but are always wanting to escape back to their original states. Rarely are they pleasant or cooperative. The Long Price Quartet, beginning with A Shadow in Summer, is constantly escalating as the stakes for two nations on the verge of war continue to grow. With the dangerous power of the Andat involved, I couldn’t put these books down; despite their occasional slow pace, and lengthy descriptions, they’re extremely well-written, and if you’re a fan of high fantasy, I would definitely recommend the series.
The Demonata by Darren Shan
I discovered Darren Shan by reading The Vampire’s Assistant (which also turned out to be a very good series) and The Demonata was his second big YA series. It began with Lord Loss, which my mom bought me for Christmas one year, literally just because she liked the cover. She made a great choice because I’d kind of forgotten about this author, and I ended up loving the book. The protagonist, Grubbs, was refreshingly average – he was a bit of a coward, and not particularly great at magic (or chess) all the while dealing with the loss of his family, and the reality that Demons exist. As with a lot of series’ that drag on too long, the novels started to drop in quality as it continued, and I didn’t really like the way that they ended, but I would still consider the series to be a favourite. They’re one of the few ‘horror’ YA novels I read that actually made my skin crawl. If you can handle the gore, or even enjoy that kind of thing, these books might be your cup of tea.
Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
This series was so essential to beginning my love for fantasy narratives, I can’t even begin to express my love for Deltora Quest. The broad arc of the narrative involves the hero, Lief, attempting to gather the missing seven gems (each with its own special power) from the mythical Belt of Deltora, in order to reforge it, and reignite its power to push the Shadow Lord back to the Shadowlands. Lief is joined by Jasmine and Barda, and together, they face all manner of perils, from the massive snake (Reeah) that guards the opal, to the witch, Thaegan, that endlessly pursues them to avenge her fallen children. The monsters and magic in these novels was just so endlessly creative – I was constantly in awe reading these as a child, and I still am now when I think back on them. I remember a particular plant from one of the later novels that housed a sort of parasite – the pollen from the plants would numb the legs of those that walked through them, while the leech-like insects would latch on and drain their blood until they passed out and died – all without them even being aware. Mind blown. Amazing details like that made the world of Deltora feel so real, and presented a genuine challenge for the protagonists. I wish I still owned all these books – I’d love to read them again.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I read this novel as part of a Modern Literature class in university, and usually because of my massive reading load, it would take me weeks of reading in small bursts to finish anything. Instead, I finished this book in about 3 days (my other readings suffered a bit). This novel is absolutely gut-wrenching, as it follows a father-son duo through a post-apocalyptic road trip of sorts. The father has to struggle to keep his son alive, as they scrounge for food, fend off other desperate survivors, and encounter all manner of disturbing and frightful things on the road. McCarthy’s minimalist writing style really suited the nature of this narrative; I loved all the primal imagery he works in as well. The father and son’s mantra is all about “carrying the torch” of humanity, and trying to stay decent in a literal living hell. This book was really dark and heavy at points, but its story is one that really stuck with me.
There’s a million different novels that I’d love to talk about, but I think I gave a decent amount of variety with the five I chose, so I’ll leave it there. As always, let me know what your choices would be in the comments below!