Going on an adventure where you don’t know where you’re going or how it’s going to turn out can be fun. Or scary.
It’s the unknown that provides the thrill, right?
It’s the same with reading books.
The adventure that reading takes us on is one that we can choose, or at least we choose where we think the author will take us.
So, taking a chance on an unfamiliar author is like asking someone to lead you on a journey without knowing where they are likely to take you.
And I don’t like wasting my time on adventures I’m not going to enjoy.
Still, I decided to go on some new reading adventures and try out a few books by people I’d never heard up. Here’s what I found.
(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy the book. You pay the same exact price. Doesn’t make me a lot of money, but it helps to cover the costs of this blog.)
The Prince of Thorns
Often described as dark, Prince of Thorns delivers a protagonist who on one hand is someone you’d never want to meet. But somehow, learning his story makes you feel some compassion for him (even though he has none for anyone else) and hope for his eventual success. The world the prince lives in is a brutal and grim one, and the prince has literally been fighting for his life since he was nine.
Part epic adventure, part fantasy, I found myself liking Prince of Thorns more than I thought I would, since I usually don’t care for dark novels. The brilliant writing kept me engrossed in the story. A few surprising twists kept me wanting more. Enough that I want to read the rest of the series.
The Book of Three
Delightful is the word for this fantasy that’s geared toward middle grade readers. Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper’s adventures and exploits are fun to read. The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) is also quite clever. One of my favorite lines: “[He] undertook the meditating, an occupation so exhausting he could accomplish it only be lying down and closing his eyes.”
There’s a reason The Book of Three is considered a classic of children’s fantasy. But like the Chronicles of Narnia, anyone can enjoy it.
First Contact (In Her Name series)
I always have to give high marks to a book from a genre that I usually don’t read when the book keeps me reading right to the end, and wanting more.
First Contact is a story of humanity’s first contact with an alien species. Any thoughts of peaceful trade and mutual sharing are quickly dashed when it becomes clear the aliens are out for nothing less than destroying all of humanity.
Given the aliens are thousands of years ahead of humans, technologically speaking, the situation almost seems hopeless. Almost.
This book reminded of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, set in outer space. If you like your reads heavy on the technology and battle scenes, this is one you’re sure to enjoy.
Illuminae starts out with a teenage breakup. Then Ezra and Kady are forced to evacuate their planet when a megacorporation attacks, seeking to control the planet. Then they begin to believe that the ship’s artificial intelligence has turned on them.
Right there, I was hooked. But this was not your usual novel.
Instead, it’s a 21-st century version of the novel in letters, the story told through emails, interviews, messages and other hacked files. I read this book on a kindle, which I wouldn’t recommend. Much of the formatting didn’t work well on an electronic device.
I also found the censoring of foul language annoying, in that there was so much of it. That just got old and lost its impact early on, when it could be have employed to much greater effect in much smaller doses.
In spite of those complaints, I eagerly read Gemina, the second in the series. When the third comes out, I may just get it in paperback.