The original idea for this was to do five things in books that made me sit up and go wow. And this list does fit the bill; it’s a compilation of the things that made me love five of my favorite books or series. In most cases, they’re things that I’ve striven to bring into my own work, too.
- Up first because it’s what I’m currently rereading is the Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat. This was the first time I ever fell in love with a political plot. What sold it for me is that Damen is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. He has no idea what’s going on in the Veretian court, and his prejudices blind him to the real danger until it’s almost too late.
- Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce. I already talked a little about what made me love this book in my other posts, but what made me love it above others of Tammy’s Tortall books is how absolutely badass Keladry of Mindelan is, but how understated it comes across on the page. I love characters who don’t make big loud shows of strength or wit. Kel is in command of her own power and secure in her own strength. And I love it.
- A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh. Confession: I don’t like romances. Of almost any stripe. If the book turns on whether or not the two main characters end up together, I’m probably not interested. This book is the exception. I genuinely care if the protagonists end up together in large part because, by the end of the book, their affections are tangible to me. They’re such total opposites, but their slow journey together, making each other into better people, leaps off the page.
- Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer and the Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce. These share a spot because they both managed to take one thing I HAAAATE and make me love it: they’re written entirely in dialect. Usually, it comes across as gimmicky to me, but these two series made it work. I actually found it a core part of the experience after I got used to the distinct voice it lent to the prose, and then I couldn’t imagine it without.
- Harry Potter, because no list would be complete without at least mentioning The Boy Who Lived. There’s a lot to like about the series as a whole or each book in specific, but the thing that kept me reading was the unanswered questions about Voldemort’s rise, the First War, and the night the Potters died. I love stories that have a lot of backstory and don’t feel the need to shove all of it at me from the start.
As always, be sure to check out Undivinelight for Rachel’s take!