—by Nathan on May 15, 2011—
I am a reader. Over the years, I have probably read over a hundred books. That is a LOT of pages. And even more words. Reading is something, I think, gets me away from this world. It's a useful tool in drawing me away from our universe, provided that I don't stay away too long. Reading is a kind of a trip...without the hassle of having to plan and pack. I enjoy journeying to other places and worlds. My bags are full of stickers from various places. Narnia. Middle Earth. Camp Half-Blood. And many more. However, there are certain books that have absolutely amazing authors behind them. Here is a list of three of my favorite authors and what works of theirs that I have read.
RICK RIORDAN: A New York Times #1 Bestselling author, Riordan may be my favorite author ever. I have read a complete series that he's written, plus the beginning books of two other series.
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Books: The Lightning Thief, the Sea on Monsters, the Titan's Curse, the Battle of the Labyrinth, the Last Olympian
There's no doubt in my mind that Riordan is one of my favorite authors of all time. I started reading his stories about five or six years back when he was in the middle of writing the Percy Jackson series. All I remember is that my dad got me the first book, The Lightning Thief, from the library one day. I can't remember my initial reaction to the story, but I must have liked it. Soon enough, I was hooked on the Percy Jackson series. The plot is as follows: Percy Jackson seems to be your average kid. Turns out, that isn't true. He's actually the son of Poseidon, the god of the seas from Greek myth. This means Percy can control water, which gives him power over roughly about 3/4 of the world. Not bad. Basically, the books are a series of quests that Percy and his friends undertake to keep the Titan Kronos from coming back to life and destroying Mount Olympus, which happens to be above the Empire State Building, and the gods who rule it. I love this series because it is a clever hybrid of ancient myth and modern times. Also, the humor is exceptional and the action is, though Percy isn't Zeus's kid, paced at lightning speeds. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" pulls old stories into the American world. It's a series for any fantasy reader.
Series: The Kane Chronicles
Book: The Red Pyramid
Sadie and Carter Kane's father has been kidnapped by the Egyptian god Set. With their uncle Amos, the two learn new powers that will help them defeat Set, stop his diabolical plan of unleashing a horde of monsters upon the world (which would be a BAD thing!), and free their father from the god's clutches. That's a lot to put on a couple of kids' heads, and with Set being the evil would-be-world-conqueror he is, the twins will have to face dangers taken straight from Egyptian myth in order to save the world. With allies that are both human and god, the twins may be able to save the day. But is Set really the one pulling the strings? With the same humor and action that has captivated hundreds of readers in his previous series, Riordan weaves a tale that puts another corner on the mythology market (and when he steals the Norse myth...oh, boy).
Series: The Heroes of Olympus
Book: The Lost Hero
Jason Grace doesn't remember his past. He wakes up in a bus with his supposed-best friend, Leo Valdez, and supposed-girlfriend, Piper McLean, without any memory. Turns out that he and his friends are demigods. Jason is the son of Zeus, god of lightning, Leo is the son of Hephaestus, god of forges and fire, and Piper is the daughter of Aphrodite, goddess of love. They're given a quest (big "duh" there) to rescue the goddess Hera. Also, the heroic Percy Jackson has gone missing. That's a problem. The trio goes on a mission that pits them against multiple characters in Greek and Roman myth as they attempt to rescue the goddess. This is a tale of heroics, deception, and intrigue. The interesting thing about this tale is that it sets up an original concept about the gods. It seems as though the Roman and Greek versions are different personalities of the gods, kinda like moods swings. Quite the clever idea, in my mind. It just acts as further proof at what kind of genius Rick Riordan is.
BRANDON MULL: Another author of fantasy, Mull may be my second favorite author. Though, when compared to a writer like Rick Riordan, I find myself underestimating him, there's no doubt that I should think his skills worse. The following are stories of his I've read.
Books: Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Keys to the Demon Prison
This is yet another series that takes fictional monsters and puts them into our world (what is it with these guys?). In the series, Kendra and Seth Sorenson have grandparents who take care of a magical preserve called Fablehaven. But the siblings don't know that at a beginning, and they soon learn that there's more than meets the eye to what lies beyond their grandparent's house. As they become embroiled into the world of magical creatures, they also become entwined in a plot by the sinister group known as the Evening Star. What these villains want to do is gather the keys to a secret prison known as Zzyzx and unleash a horde of demons led by a very evil, very powerful demon. In order to save the world from demonic invasion (again: why do these guys like monsters and invasions?), the siblings have to rely on their allies and special powers. This series is full of action and humor, with plenty of surprises along the way. Brandon Mull has a wonderful way with words that puts him near the top of my list.
Book: The Candy Shop War
"Candy that gives kids superpowers? SWEET!" Such is the tag-line to Brandon's Mull single-book fantasy. When a group of friends visit a new candy shop, they're given more than they can bargain for. In exchange for magical candy that grants the kids amazing abilities, they have to perform certain acts that are maybe slightly unlawful. As the acts get more suspicious, the kids begin to doubt their actions, especially when a new candy seller appears in town. They soon become embroiled in a sinister plot and must stop it. But will their sweet teeth get in the way of what is right? Though this book seemed to be written for a younger audience, it was still interesting to read. I actually saw Mull at a book store, and he said a possible sequel may be in store. So if I keep my fingers crossed long enough...
Series: The Beyonders
Book: A World Without Heroes
Though called a "series," the Beyonders is really a three-book trilogy. When Jason is transported to another world (through a hippo, of all things!) and reads a book he should never have read, he becomes a target for the magician-wizard of the world. In order to be free and destroy the emperor, he has to seek out the five syllables of a magic word. Paired with a girl, Rachel, from his world, Jason traverses this strange world in search of the word. He meets odd allies and is hunted by dangerous enemies. He has to learn who he can trust, who he can't, and what he will have to do find the word. But, possibly more importantly, he has to learn what he has to do in order to survive. I think I may like this series better than Fablehaven. It has a good beginning, and I hope it continues on even better.
ROBIN PARRISH: A Christian author of thrillers, Parrish's books seem to be geared towards an audience older than those Riordan and Mull write for, but I enjoy him nonetheless. His "Dominion Trilogy" may be the best trilogy I've ever read (which seems odd for a fantasy guy like me, but, hey, Tolkein and Lewis can't win them all).
Trilogy: The Dominion Trilogy
Books: Relentless, Fearless, Merciless
These books are the best examples of thrillers I have read so far. Though a fantasy guy at heart, I was enveloped by these books, recommended to me by a friend. Now, I recommend them to you. In the books, Collin Boyd's life is totally altered when he is changed to a different man, Grant Borrows. He has to unwrap the mystery behind this change, the strange ring that has suddenly appeared on his hand, and the new powers he has acquired. Turns out, he's one of many who have "Shifted" and given bizarre abilities. They're kind of like superheroes. But it doesn't stop there. A powerful organization is looking for a way to conquer the world. And Grant seems to be that means. They send assassins and commit painful, violent acts in order to draw him to them and bring their dark plans to a culmination. This trilogy is a fun read, and is a clever way of combining Biblical records and superheroes in a flurry of action, drama, suspense, and paranormal powers.
Maia Peters is the daughter of a couple of ghost hunters (though she prefers the term "paranormal investigators"). While on a trip to a new amusement park, she comes face-to-face with a ghostly image of an old friend, rich kid Jordin Cole. But is this girl really dead? Along with her friend's fiancee, a pastor's kid with totally different beliefs regarding the paranormal, Maia begins the search for her friend. The book switches between present and flashbacks about Maia and Jordin undertaking investigations in places such as Alcatraz and Lexington. While searching for Jordin, the two uncover a plot by a secret outfit who is seemingly making ghosts! But is it all that it seems to be? This book is an interesting story that asks the question whether or not ghosts are real.
Four astronauts return from the first manned mission to Mars, and, after communication with Houston vanishes, they crash. They soon find that practically everyone on Earth has disappeared. After finding a survivor, they begin to journey to Houston, where a bright light glows fiercely. However, strange things happen. Reality shifts every so often. Plus, they're being hunted. And what's the black void that keeps appearing? As dangers keep on popping up, the group must continue on. The leader of the mission, Christopher Burke, also has flask backs of his time on Mars, time he couldn't remember before. As emotions fly and danger abounds, the group must unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of humanity before they are found and killed. Robin Parrish brings out another side of him: The sci-fi author. This is a book that leaves me begging for his next release.
The three authors mentioned above are three of my favorite authors, if not my three favorites. They write fantasy, fiction, and thrillers. They're books with heroes and villains, action and humor, and amazing stories. I hope that these three authors put out more books in the future. And if they do, I'll be there to read 'em.