July 28th, 2007, 07:29 PM
Books You Gotta Read!! (Recommendations)
Greetings and salutations, to all knights and swordmaidens of the Realm!
Fantasy Freak started a thread in which he spoke of a fantasy series he loves and wanted to share about. I think that's a stellar idea. The main SFF site has about 1,000 recommendation threads--some great stuff to be sure.
I'd like to start One Comprehensive Recommendation Thread in my forum--one Thread to Rule them all and in the darkness, uh...make them stay up and read?
And, not trying to be a control freak or anything, but it would be nice if we could all kind of use a similar format--though, I'd rather not set down a rule, but rather let it grow organically.
Feel free to recommend any fantasy/sciFi/SpecFic book you've read. The book does not need to be Christian per se, but please mention if it is as some of us are looking for that. Also please mention if the books is family friendly--maybe what age would be appropriate.
This is a chance to shamelessly plug authors you love. Go for it. Include links to other sites where folks can learn more. I'd love for folks to read my books, but God's work and this genre are MUCH bigger than me. Besides, there are more than enough readers to go around.
Have at it!
July 28th, 2007, 07:39 PM
Rise of the Dibor by Christopher Hopper
The beginning of an EPIC. RotD is a debut novel, but debut as in Van Halen I. Shockingly original and very cool. Here's my Amazon review:
I'd be hard pressed to give Christopher Hopper's work any less than a 5 on this, his first full length novel. Rise of the Dibor is a phenomenal debut novel. Sure like any first novel, there are some minor errors, and I'm sure there will be reviewers who have something to say to that effect. But you have to expect that, even with great editing, first novels are going to be a little rough around the edges.
Rather than technical precision, what readers should look for in a first novel are the following: an intriguing hook, sparks of creative genius, and a story worth hearing. RotD has all of that.
The hook: a world where Adam's fall had never happened. For how long could it stay pure?
Sparks of creative genius: everywhere! Mr. Hopper's worldbuilding skills are wonderful. After a chapter, I forgot that Dionia wasn't a real place. And wait until Luik returns the baby's blanket to the King--what an amazingly surreal scene!
A story worth hearing: This is a tale we all need to hear. People of faith who are honest about themselves will learn a lot about the nature of sin from RotD. We'll realize what we lost in the fall, as well as, all we lose on a daily basis when we scratch and claw to get our own way rather than God's. People outside the faith are not excluded. Sure, if you know the Bible, the allegory will stand out. But it is NOT preachy. Still, for the nonChristian, reading RotD could lead to asking big questions...the questions we all struggle with whether we admit it out loud or not.
More about the actual story: Rise of the Dibor has a very real protagonist who is noble and heroic, as well as, a very real antagonist who is evil and destructive. But lest you think that this is too simple, too traditional, be assured that there are plenty of complex characters. When a wholely pure world is first tainted by evil, you begin to see the complicated machinations of darkness through rationalization and compromise. Very deep stuff.
This is not light fantasy. It is multilayered TRUE fantasy. Lovers of Tolkien, Lewis, MacDonald--you'll love this. Readers of Erikson, Bakker, and other more contemporary fantasy, try RotD and escape in its provoking intracacies.
Add Rise of the Dibor by Christopher Hopper to your to be read pile soon. And when you finish it, take heart, the 2nd book is coming soon. The 3rd is even in the works, I hear. Yes! Bring on the fantasy!
For more about Christopher Hopper's Rise of the Dibor, click the link below:
Last edited by Wayne Batson; July 28th, 2007 at 07:46 PM.
July 29th, 2007, 07:23 AM
Rise of the Dibor is an awesome book! The way Christopher Hopper wrote it, definitely hooked me in. It was so easy to see every plant and person described within the pages and the scene where Luik returns the blanket is very surreal. I still need to read the Lion Vrie, I started it, but with the way I read books, prob will not be done till end of August since I am reading ten books at once. A problem I struggle with. Oh great! I forgot I'm going to Borders today, now I will never be finished with any of the books I already started.
Anyways, the series that I recommend is not Christian and for the violence and mature content contained within the book, I recommend for audiences 16 or older. The series is Tales of the Otori by: Lian Hearn. The basic plot centers around a boy Takeo born into a small religious village, the village though is destroyed by the emperor of the country where they live in. With this Takeo is taken in by Shigeru, the leader of the other country and Takeo learns of his destiny and his amazing abilities shared by a Tribe of Assassin. Seriously, there is much more to the books, I just am not the best at summarizing things! The series will be loved by anyone craving some Asian elements, one reason as to how I found it. Also, the book is not exactly fantasy, even though members of the tribe can replicate themselves (like shadow clones in Naruto), and can have ultra super hearing powers. That is about the only fantasy elements to this series. What will attract people is the Asian elements, for those who like me are complete Japanophiles. Not that I do not like medevial elements, which I love about equally, I just really do love ninjas and samurai, they are just super cool. Anyways, back to the point, I highly recommend this book series, and it will draw you in. And hey, you might want to read this before the movie is released by Universal, which probably will not happen for a couple of years.
Another book series I recommend is the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. This series is also not Christian, and because of content is not recommended for those under 16. The series is definitely well written, and even though the books which are 700 pages, look like a chore, once you start, you will not think of it as a chore. Find a place in the house where you will not be annoyed for hours, because both the Song of Ice and Fire and the Tales of the Otori will suck you in and will leave you reading for hours on end.
July 30th, 2007, 08:29 AM
The PENDRAGON series by D.J. MacHale. While they are not Christian, there is nothing "bad" in them, and they're recommended for ages 10-100. The story centers around Bobby Pendragon, a 14-year-old boy who discovers he is a Traveler, meaning he can travel to fantastic worlds the likes of which you've never seen. His mission is to make each civilization's "turning point" go the right way. Of course, there's a villain named Saint Dane out to stop them.
SHOWDOWN and SAINT by Ted Dekker. These books are Christian and recommended for teenagers on up. While they are sort of "thriller" as well, these books have some great fantasy elements in them. But the plots are hard to describe. Try them, you'll like them.
The DRAGONS IN OUR MIDST series by Bryan Davis. Great Christian novels with dragons- lots of dragons! Can't say how good they are.
HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS by James A. Owen. It starts in WWI England, but quickly whisks you off on a unique adventure that is PERFECT for Tolkien and Lewis lovers, packed with "in-jokes" for the astute fantasy reader. While they are not Christian per-se, they have not a glimpse (bad pun, Mr. Batson, I know) of "bad stuff" in them. Recommended for all ages.
Haven't read anything by Chris Hopper yet, but I will soon!
On a side note, the Harry Potter series seems a bit... allegorical.
Last edited by alexrider12; July 30th, 2007 at 08:37 AM.
July 30th, 2007, 08:31 AM
The Takers & Delon City
I would like to recommend the OZ CHRONICLES by R.W. Ridley. Book 1 "The Takers" & book 2 "Delon City" are as well crafted a young adult fantasy series as can be found. The plotline is truly unique and always gripping! This is not a Christian fantasy series, but man is it an interesting story. There are horror elements to a certain extent...nothing gorey or anything, just suspenseful. You won't want to put either of these down and I can't wait for the third! THESE BOOKS ARE SELF PUBLISHED THROUGH BOOKSURGE, FOUND ON AMAZON.COM ONLY--BUT I'M SERIOUS--THEY ARE VERY GOOD READING.
The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles, by R.W. Ridley. In the first two pages a hook was well placed in my jaw and by the end of the first chapter I was soundly taken hostage by this story. The Takers, is a first person chronicle of the events surrounding the end of the world through the eyes of young hero, Oz Griffin. He awakens one morning form a fevered bout with the ole' kissing disease to find that nearly everyone in the world has been taken by hideous creatures from another dimension. These Takers, (or Greasywhoppers since saying their name brings them into our world from the dark edges of reality), are bent on conquering our world. But only Oz and his ragtag band of survivors, including a signing silverback gorilla, can stop them...or can they?
The Takers is a pure delight! If this is Y.A. fiction then I want more of it. This is a truly original story that completely deserves the comparisons with Stephen King's, The Stand. The transformation of the survivors to warriors with a mission to save the world, never turns dull or slows in its pace. The second book in the Oz Chronicles is on its way and I can't wait!!
DELON CITY: REVIEW--Young Oz Griffin has awoke, seemingly in the future, to find himself an adult in the office of a criminal psychologist. Oz has apparently murdered two people dear to him on the basis of the delusions he's been having. Oz believes he is still fourteen years old and has just defeated the Takers by killing their queen, only to see the more terrifying Delons take over in their place. Nothing is as it seems for Oz and he realizes he can trust noone, but hypnosis allows him to go back to his perceived past to take on the Delons and hopefully solve the mystery of 'when' he really is.
Whereas The Takers was a fairly straight forward monster-fest, and a good one to boot, Delon City is a multilayered masterpiece that takes us on a journey into what may be real or simply the machinations of a lunatic. By the end of the book, but by no means the end of the story, we have several clues to help us understand what the true reality is. And Mr. Ridley uses these clues deftly to hook the reader for book three.
Still, along the way in Delon City we find a more organized and brutal enemy in the purple, dead-eyed Delons. Oz is up against something far more sinister than ravenous beasts like the Takers, who make their own appearance in this installment. The Delons haven't simply removed every human on Earth, they've begun to assimilate them, turning them into Delons! A caste system of sorts is in play upon the Earth now, with some remaining human cows for Delon food, others as mutated outcasts called 'halfers' and the Delons themselves. Mr. Ridley is a master storyteller and continues to deliver thrills and chills abundantly as he describes a darker dimension the world has been plunged into; complete with even more twisted baddies than ever before.
"After nightfall, I crawled out of my window and silently guided Chubby through the yard into our neighbor's, the Drucker's, backyard. There was a time that they would have immediately stormed out of their house and ran to my mother and father, demanding that my parents punish me for trespassing on their perfect lawn of Bermuda grass. Instead, Mr. Drucker, a round little man with thinning blonde hair and thick black rimmed glasses, smiled a phony smile from his living room window as I passed. Mrs. Drucker, purple complexion, grayish hair mixed with spider legs, eyes not quite dead, stood beside him holding a live mouse by the tail. Dinner."
Mr. Ridley has the ability to build the tension in a scene to a fever-pitch, like a guitar string wound to the point of breaking at any moment.
"I stopped. It was a trap. My mind knew it. But is was Gordy's sister. If there was the smallest chance she could be helped, then I had to help her. I walked back up the stairs as if I were climbing the final peak on Everest. Every step was carefully calculated, and every prayer I had ever heard in my life came spewing out of my mouth uncontrollably. I stood in the upstairs hallway, eyes focused on the room above the garage. I flipped the light switch, but nothing came on. "No lights. No eyelids. No lights. No eyelids." The voice screeched throughout the house. I moved down the hallway as silently as I could, but still she heard me. She counted each step I took. "Three steps closer. Four steps closer. Here he comes. here he comes!" -- "Allie," I said. -- "He calls me Allie!" Her voice was shrill with excitement. -- "Allie Flynn." -- "Ten steps closer. Eleven steps closer. Twelve steps and at the door. He's at the door! He's at the door!" -- "Allie," I said. "Your not making this easy. I want to help you." -- "Help me, Oz Griffin. Please, help me." -- I turned the knob and let the door open slowly on its own. The room was a guest bedroom. The mattress from the bed was stacked against the window to keep out the light. 'No lights. No eyelids.' she had said. In the darkest corner of the room, directly opposite the door, I saw a silhouette of a little girl. She stood motionless. She was taller than I remember. -- "We're so hungry, Oz Griffin." -- I forced myself to move forward. The hammer was raised, cocked back, and ready to crash down on her head at any time. "Take it easy, Allie. I'm here to help." Two thirds of the way to Allie, I realized it wasn't her at all. It was a coat rack. I stood in the middle of the room, completely vulnerable. I scanned the room in every direction. My heart went from a nervous flutter to a brutal pounding. "Allie?" -- "We're so hungry." -- The voice came from above me. I jerked my head up. There, crawling on the ceiling like an insect, was Gordy's little sister. Her skinless body was fire red with patches of black. She wore a lipless grin."
Delon City is darker than its predecessor and honestly would get a PG-13 rating for intense imagery and mild language. However it never ceases to pull the reader relentlessly through its short 210 pages. The book has been well designed inside and out and if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Ridley has done all of the cover work on both books himself. I was curious about Delon City's cover, but once you get into the story details it seems the perfect choice. There are maybe ten grammatical errors in the entire novel; mostly words in place of the correct word or a few missing words. Honestly this suspenseful young adult horror story had me saying "who cares?" it's so good. This is one of those stories that perplexes me; how it didn't get published with a large publisher. My only true regret with Delon City is that it left me hanging hungrily on the last words, wishing Book Three was already available!
Last edited by James Somers; July 30th, 2007 at 02:27 PM.
July 30th, 2007, 08:34 AM
CHION by DArryl Sloan
I'd like to recommend CHION by DArryl Sloan. This is not a Christian title but is very, very good and clean. The story is completely unique to anything I've ever read. It is a young adult thriller, with a teenage protag.
CHION by Darryl Sloan is a short but exhilarating quest for survival by two teenagers who find themselves "stuck" in a winter horror-land, when the new snowfall halts society to a standstill in Ireland and begins to take lives.
CHION has to be one of the most unique thrillers I've ever read. I mean, how many thrillers will there be that rehash, dinosaurs, sharks, killer viruses, aliens or rampaging beasts? Well, never fear, because Mr. Sloan has made a monster out of pristine white snow, of all things and this story will grab you and hold you just as fast as the fluffy flakes themselves!
The cover is professional in quality and notice that it has everything to do with what the story is actually about. It draws you in, curiously wondering why the snow is blood tinged. The title of the book makes me curious...what in the world is CHION and what does it have to do with snow? You see folks...how everything is meant to draw you in and get you reading? Now, a good book is more than its cover and when we delve beneath the surface we find an engaging and unique situation. Snow has fallen, but this snow is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Anyone or anything which comes into contact with even a single flake is held fast in an iron grip. And be it clothing or skin, you'll be giving it up before the snow releases you. So we have an isolated doomsday scenario with people struggling to survive and our heroes have the unique vantage point of lovestruck teenagers who must figure out a way to survive among hordes of people, even their own teachers, who are willing to do anything they can to remain alive.
The interior is pure quality. I have nothing bad to say about this book at all. On every level, it delivers right up to the end. Whether or not that is a happy ending, I'll leave you to discover. I won't bother to put up any textual snippets because I'd recommend you do something a little different this time. You see, Mr. Sloan has given us a very professionally done podcast file that you can download and listen to and this is exactly why I'm reviewing this book now. I'm in the middle of another good book, but with the MP3 file listened to and a mere 145 pages, part of which is covered in the audiofile, I couldn't help but want to find out what happens. This podcasting thing is something very few authors are making use of at the moment, but having experienced it from the listeners perspective, let me just say, "I like it, I love it, I want more of it."
This novel may be short, but it's well worth what little effort you have to make. It scores big on every level of quality for production and with an engaging well voiced narrative. And let me say again...visit the website and get the podcast file first (see Darryl's sidebar for the link)...it's free and it will have you wanting the rest, which is also available for a lower than amazon price at Mr. Sloan's site. Now, how can you beat that?!
Last edited by James Somers; July 30th, 2007 at 02:22 PM.
July 30th, 2007, 07:26 PM
the DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
here is the web site http://www.dragonkeeper.us/index.shtml
it is Christian fantasy
Book 1 in the DragonKeeper Chronicles
One Dragon Egg Holds the Key to the Future.
Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.
A Desperate Search Begins...
A small band of Paladin's servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect...
Book 2 in the DragonKeeper Chronicles
A New Quest Begins.
A dragonkeeper of Paladin, Kale is summoned from The Hall to The Bogs by the Wizard Fenworth to serve as his apprentice and tend his newly hatched meech dragon, Regidor. But Kale isn't going alone. The Hall is sending a student to monitor her performance and report back to the scholars. Worst of all, it's Bardon -- an older boy Kale finds irritating but who at least can hold his own in a sword fight.
New Friendships are Forged
Meanwhile, Wizard Risto has seized another meech dragon, bringing him dangerously close to gaining the power he seeks. So with only a motley band of companions, Kale sets out on a desperate quest to rescue the second meech, to free those dragons already enslaved, and to thwart Risto's devious plans. It's up to Kale to lead the search and to embrace the role that's rightfully hers. But will her efforts be enough to save the land of Amara from the dark future that awaits at Risto's hands?
Book 3 in the DragonKeeper Chronicles
Before vowing his allegiance to Wulder as a knight, Bardon heads to the mountains for solitude. His life is suddenly complicated by a woman and her granddaughter, N’Rae, on a mission to rescue the woman’s son trapped in a chamber of sleep. Bardon learns that more of Paladin’s knights are imprisoned–and suspects one of them is Dragon Keeper Kale’s missing father.
The secret is in their hands–and hearts.
The band travels north, uncertain of their destination and encountering numerous perils. When they unlock the chamber, they discover a dozen knights–who cannot be awakened. The journal holding the secret to rousing them is in an unknown language. How can they find the help they need, and overcome even graver obstacles, to rescue the knights?
Book 4 in the DragonKeeper Chronicles
Paladin is deathly ill. His followers struggle to survive against an escalating war among three evil forces. Kale and Bardon with their comrades seek to destroy the leaders of destruction before their homeland of Amara is crushed.
August 5th, 2007, 08:43 AM
It's REALLY good!!!
Originally Posted by Wayne Batson
August 5th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Alex Conklin Adventures
I would like to recommend the Alex Conklin Adventures by Richard H. Wolters. The first book is titled Alex and the Kitten Monster.
Alex and The Kitten Monster is a thrilling adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat! A roller coaster ride of mystery and suspense!
Alex and his friends are told a creepy story that makes no sense, but scares the pants off them. What apparently started with the malicious drowning of a neighbor's kitten, has grown into a spine-tingling tale of the kitten's survival and the horror of it growing into a monster cat that lives in the swampy waters of the local sandpit.
However, Alex's friends (and his parents) don't believe this horrifying story is true. Alex, on the other hand, figures out that there really is a monster. But no one believes him, even after the mysterious disappearance of a dog and one of the local boys. Not realizing that he could become the monster's next meal, Alex goes to the sandpit at night with nothing more than his camera. He is determined to get a picture of this kitten monster to prove that he is right. He ends up riding a roller coaster of mystery, suspense, and terror as Alex faces the most horrifying experience of his young life.
This book is short, but it still very good. The sequel is written, but hasn't been published yet. Richard has been using a self publisher (blech...). I need to speak with him about trying to find a new publisher ... seriously. the self publisher does no marketing whatsoever. You can find the books on Amazon.com, here.
NOTE: Richard H. Wolters is my Daddy!! And yes, it's a Christian book.
Oh, and the author bio on the Amazon.com page hasn't been updated in a long time. My dad is now retired, and my mom died about 3 and a half years ago....
Last edited by Pais Charos; August 5th, 2007 at 08:50 AM.
August 6th, 2007, 09:26 AM
The Navigator & Renlentless
Thanks for the kind words y'all. You're very kind.
Currently reading Relentless by Robin Parrish. He has me glued. Highly recommended. And he's on my new favorites list...of all time.
Also reading The Navigator which I picked up in Nashville at the Borders we stopped at during our book tour. Eoin MacNamee paints a great premise, but it hasn't held me as much as Robin. May just be the target audience (which I suspect). But also a good read and very creative.
August 6th, 2007, 03:05 PM
It's Christopher!! *waves* Hi!
Originally Posted by CH Hopper
I'm a few chapters away from finishing RotD, and I can't wait to get The Lion Vrie! Don't know when that will be, though...
August 30th, 2009, 05:06 AM
Books You Gotta Read Recommendations
Animorph series, Harry Potter, Bunickula series at least some books, Anne of Green Gables books, The Ancient One, some Goosbumps...thats all that I can remember for the moment. I read Where the Wild Things Are before elementary school, I think. I know that I have gone back to it a couple of times since.
Last edited by kater; August 30th, 2009 at 02:10 PM.