Every reader, gamer and film watcher has their favourite series. For me growing up my favourite was certainly Harry Potter. As I have discovered more and more series, I have had a few new series to add to my favourites list, most of which you will have heard of.
Today, however, I wanted to write about a series that I love which I don’t think gets enough recognition. This may be because it did not become a worldwide phenomena but if you are looking for a good read to get your teeth into this might be a good one.
The first book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy, is aimed at readers aged 11+ but don’t let that put you off, after all Harry Potter is aimed at a similar age range and most people love that!
The plot follows a Skeleton Detective and his human side kick who gradually learns to do magic. The books are filled with twists and turns, action and a side dish of humour. As the series goes on the plot gets gradually darker and more and more about the characters are revealed.
I love this series because of the way it is written and the unexpected twists and turns. The characters are well developed and the world that is built, is added to ours in a similar way as Harry Potter or the Shadowhunters world.
If you enjoy young adult fantasy series you should give this one a try. Plus as a bonus the first series is complete so if you find you do love it you can at least read all of it, waiting for the next one is one of my biggest pet hates.
Interestingly while I was researching this post I was pleased to discover that there is a second series which will probably at some point make an appearance as a review on here.
What is your favourite read that isn’t very popular? Why do you love it?
I know I said that I would be changing the fandom I was reading about but that didn’t go as planned…I reverted to the Mortal Instruments Series. One of the reasons for this is because I have been reading three books at once… meaning that when it came time for me to post I didn’t have a review ready to go, so I picked one of my ongoing books and committed to it.
I read about half of it in one day which is a lovely way to read a book, it is why I tend to read so many books when I go on holiday.
From the start of this book, it was clear that Simon was going to play a bigger role in this part of the series than he had previously. The start of the book shows Simon sitting in a restaurant, waiting for a date. I felt that the start of the book is slow and I was tempted to put it down and concentrate on something else but after a few chapters the tempo starts to increase, and before long it felt like I was being dragged along a placid looking river by a dangerous current.
The book continues to look at good verus evil, and the moral challenges that you can face, in Simon’s case he doesn’t want to feed on human blood but it is made clear in the story that fighting against nature can be useless… like me not reading this book….
There were a number of twists and turns in the plot which I did not predict unlike within the previous three books, and as each is revealed the tension that the author manages to build gets just a little bit higher.
I was very impressed that in a specific scene the setting really reflects the mood of both romance and despair, regardless of the fact that the two scenes were written in the same setting. I felt it was a very cleaver bit of writing.
In this book I started to really relate to Isabelle’s character. I love how sarcastic and sassy she is and that she is a strong female, who while she is happy to have ‘girl’ talk, she is just as comfortable with her weapons in her hands. You also get a better glimpse into Jace’s character and how despite his arrogance you start to understand that he is hiding his insecurities, which in my opinion make him much more rounded and likeable.
I also enjoyed reading a little about Magnus Bane’s background, and it highlights just how sad it could be to live forever, to see all your loved ones pass away and be the only one remaining.
I like how the author builds tension slowly but effectively, making the reader want to read on, pulling you into the ever darkening world filled with deamons and the creatures of nightmares.
I really enjoyed this book and would give it four stars. Now I may well have to finish the series before I move on to a standalone or a different series.
I can no longer say that I am the target audience for young adult books, and if I am being honest… I haven’t been for a while. However that has not stopped me from reading a high number of YA novels over the past months, or years. In truth is it probably the vast majority of content that I consume.
There are a number of articles complaining about these books which are flooding the shelves but today I am going to write my top five reasons why I love young adult literature.
1. Easy to Read
I often read to escape into a different world. A world where I don’t have any deadlines, or house chores. I want to be fighting monsters, or be the world’s best assasin. I want to be surrounded by the biting cold wind in the middle of summer (preferably on a sun lounger complaining to my long suffering partner that I am too hot) or battling through a stormy sea while hiking up a mountain. I do not want to try and decipher difficult or words rarely used. The vocabulary used within these books is more often than not well within my grasp. This helps me to immerse myself in the story.
While I don’t seem to manage to find masses of the shorter YA books, they are on average a little shorter than the books aimed at adults. When you have committed to reading 40 books in a year like I have in my 2020 Aims it is helpful to know that the books have your back if you start to fall behind.
Now if only I could find them rather than the 450 page epics that I tend to pick up….
3. Tackles serious issues
Most of these books will tackle things that can be difficult to talk about or discuss. Highlighting challenges that teenagers are often dealing with. You can have a character clearly trying to hide their homosexuality, worried about how those around them would react, or struggling to deal with their changing friendships.
All of this is usually interwoven with strong character development allowing the readers to feel empathy for the characters and can allow the reader to see these challenges from another’s point of view, if you haven’t been through them.
A lot of these stories have a coming of age element tied within the plot. Something the reader has either done or at least is going through it. I can still relate to the characters finding it difficult to transition from a teen to an adult.
Going through the different levels of ‘adulting’ can be daunting. Having your first full time job, paying your rent, your first driving lesson, or your first legal drink. All of these things seemed daunting at the time but now they are second nature, is doesn’t prevent you from relating to the characters and in some cases understanding more than you did when you were going through it.
At their core the reason that YA books are well read and enjoyed by a large number of people is that they are ultimately entertaining. I continue to read them because they are often attention grabbing, amusing, heart racing stories. Stories which once I have started them I do not want to put down.
Do you Agree? Do you have any other reasons you would like to add to my list? Let me know in the comments below.
This is the third in the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I will do a full series wrap up but as I have recently read the first and second books but did not yet have this platform so I didn’t take notes for my reviews. Now as a completionist not having the other books on here will probably irritate me but unless I reread them in the future…. I am not going to write a review… well not at this point in time.
In this book you come to know most of the characters more intimately which allows the reader to understand the characters motivations. One thing that I really love is that with the explination of the characters the reader is left to decide if the character, is a bad person or just someone who made the wrong decisions. It also reveals a number of things about some of their fears and prejudices helps you to see that people can change and you can if you have the right motivation.
There was a lot of hints and foreshadowing in the previous books which pull together perfectly.
There were a number of plot elements within the book that I managed to predict however this did not detract from my over all enjoyment of the plot. Maybe that just says that I read too many young adult novels.
The settings are strong and this is the first time that the reader sees the home of the Shadowhunters. In some places I personally felt that there was too much description which could distract me from understanding or keeping track with what the characters were doing.
A lot happens within the 400 pages of this book, there is a lot of action and it explores what would you do to ensure that your family are safe. The book helps to explore the true nature of families, those who impact on your life most. For some people that is their closest friends and for others it is one particular family member. Exploring the relationships between these characters and seeing them overcome some of their fears and prejudices helps you to see that people can change and you can if you have the right motivation.
This book feels like it could have been the end of the series, but there are still another three books for me to wade through.
I am going to give this book 3 stars. I would read it again, and I was emotionally invested in the characters but there were some improvements which could have been made.
Have you read this series? Do you think the third book felt the it would have been a good ending? What should I read after this series?
Now while it is early in my blogging it isn’t in my reading. As such today I have listed 5 books it may shock you that I haven’t yet read.
1. Game of Thrones – George R.R Martin
Now while this is by no means an easy read, it is certainly in one of my usual favourite genres, Fantasy. Not only that but as my other half has read them and told me not only that he enjoyed them but that I would too…they are sitting temptingly on one of the bookcases in our home.
I made the decision a couple of years ago to not start reading series until they are finished. This is due to my impatience, I hate it when I have to wait a year for the next book in a series to come out. I like being able to submerge myself into a world and not have to come out of it in between volumes. When you have to wait a year to read the next book that is not possible. I also have the bad habit when browsing in a bookshop of picking a book in the middle of a series and then having to back track all the way to the beginning in order to thoroughly enjoy the book.
These are famously not yet completed and despite this the television series is. I have not watched any of the television series, or cracked open those ever tempting books. This has meant that I have not had masses of small talk of the past few years but I am sticking to my guns, I do not want to ruin the books…. now if only George R.R. Martin would get writing so I can get my teeth into this series.
2. Romeo and Juliette – William Shakespeare
In the UK for most GCSE’s the above play is toiled over by fifteen and sixteen year old’s doing their best to read some Shakespeare and often more frustratingly to understand some Shakespeare. I assume the numerous teachers up and down the country choose this one because it has become a fairly popular storyline in a number of other books down the years and there are a few film versions of the play . My teacher on the other hand chose Macbeth.
There are a number of advantages to Macbeth, the imagery used helps you to remember the key quotes and it in in some places easier to understand. This is on my to be read list, but I am in no hurry to get there.
3. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
This is another story that most people manage to get to during their schooling…yet again I did not. I am not sure what I read instead (it has been a long time since I was last in school) but I have been told about the concept and the idea behind it which does interest me. I will probably leave it languishing on my to be read pile for a while longer.
4. The Fault in our Stars – John Green
Unfortunately this will most likely stay unread by me at least. I tend to cry at the slightest provocation when it comes to characters I care about in books. This one would no doubt have me in pieces (according to the synopsis). I am sure that the book is an amazing piece of fiction but I would not be able to get through it without a throbbing head and a runny nose.
5. Divergent Series
This is on my to be read pile…. I just haven’t gotten to it… yet.
Which of these books shocked you most? Have you got any that would shock other people? Let me know below
In my first post on Indulgent Readers, I wrote my aims for the year and promised a book review of Mort by Terry Pratchett and I am back to do so (see this accoutabilty idea is already working!). I had read Mort before but it was the first time I had done so through critical eyes. I enjoyed the book, possibly just as much if not more than my first read through.
With a lot of Terry Pratchett books, you can read them time and time again and still find new things to laugh at. Or rediscover old jokes which you still find amusing. Mort is the fourth book of the Discworld series and the first to concentrate on the character Death. The premise of the book is that Death decides that he needs a human apprentice, and the story unravels from there. The book explores predestination and the human condition with a generous sprinkling of humour.
The plot is interesting and well thought out and there are no sections of the book which are extraneous to the plot. The narration is consistent and while the book is written in third person it jumps from following one character to another. This writing device also allows the plot to unravel for each character in a way which is often reflected in film or television, it can be a little jaring if you are not used to this style of writing but you get used to it quickly. The further through the book you get the more you want to reach the end to find out what happens and the pace of the book reflects this.
The characters are well developed and relatable. There are parts of Princess Keli’s character which are a little clichéd however over the course of the plot she matures and due to this character development she stops being the cliché and becomes a strong leader. My favourite character in the Discworld series is Death, so while my opinion my be biased I cannot help but empathise with the character. It is understandable that humans do not want to be around him (especailly if you have had a bit of a sniffle recently). Death is frustrated by the limitations of his existence. When I am completely honest with myself I also occasionally feel this way (and I hope that is is not just me). As the story continues Death starts losing parts of himself and wishes he could be someone else which everyone in the world will have done at some point. Most likely with the same outcome, slipping back to your old life.
As the book is one of the first in the series I was expecting there to be a little more world building. I am glad that there wasn’t, what world building there is well distributed within the plot and the descriptions all fit in well with the narration. The only description which I found a little jarring was when Mort is in Ankh-Morpork for the first time, then again Ankh-Morpork is quite a jarring place.
This book helped me to consider the idea of predestination and if everything is predestined can it ever be changed? I had never really considered the possibility of predestination before and I am not entirely certain if it does exist or not but this book has certainly given me food for thought.
The humour used is very dry and sarcastic, which certainly appeals to me, and despite the fact that this is not my first time reading I still found new parts which amused me (there was even one part that I ‘sang’ in my head rather than spoke… first time I noticed that, it also took me another half a page of reading to realise why..)
The book is a comedic fantasy is suitable for anyone over twelve to read, though there are a number of misquotes and jokes which you may only understand as you age (it took me a few years before I even recognised one of the jokes…). Before I met my partner I had not read any of Terry Pratchett and he and his family all love Terry Pratchett and over the length of our relationship I have slowly started to love the series.
If you have never read a Discworld novel before then please be aware that the official start of the series (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) is not the way that the rest are written so if you found the first one or two difficult the writing does change significantly.
I am going to give Mort a 4 star rating I thorougly enjoyed the book but I was able to do other things without wishing I was still reading.
Have you read Mort? Let me know what you thought in the comments.
2020 is looming large and instead of promising myself that I will read more this year, I am promising you.
Yesterday I spent two hours tidying up my To Be Read list. I removed a number of books which I am no longer interested in reading and added a few more. It is often at this time of year that resolutions are made and are usually broken by the middle of January.
I am not doing that this year.
I am going to read 40 books this year (1.5 books per week) and I am aiming to review all of them on here. This is a big commitment for me as my aim in 2019 was 27 books, which I only just scraped by on 29 December.
My TBR list is not too large at the moment, but I know that reading in high volume tends to mean that you end up adding to your list. The bookcases at home are bulging and I have started keeping my TBR pile under my desk so it is easy to just grab my next book.
My usual genres are Fantasy, Crime, Thrillers and Young Adult, though I do pick up other genres and series of books on occasion.
I am hoping that reviewing the books for you and being able to discuss them will motivate me to read more and find some people who share the same tastes.
In preparation for this undertaking I have already started reading my first book of 2020 (shh….don’t tell anyone, it counts if you finish it in the year right?) which is a rather battered well loved copy of Mort by Terry Pratchett. This is not my first time reading the book but it is a book I enjoy and I felt it made sense to start with I book I already know I like.
Do you have any books that you enjoy every time you have read them? If so let me kow about them in the comments below.