The last few blogs I’ve posted have been about books that were sent to me from the publisher for reviews. They weren’t amazing. I don’t want my blog to be only about book that are okay, and ignore the books I’ve been reading that I have absolutely loved. So I thought I would write about a few books that I would whole-heartedly recommend. Today I’d like to tell you about two middle grade/young adult series I’ve recently read.
The first is The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson. It consists of three books, starting with The Wind Singer. There are three books in the series, which seems like it would be obvious seeing as it’s a trilogy, but you don’t know how many “trilogies” that I’ve read that end up having four books in them. What is the world coming to?
The reason I so whole-heartedly recommend this series is the fantastic creativity in the books. Remember the first time you read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Well, I don’t. I was way to young to remember that. However, I do remember the last several times I’ve read it. I love the way each island is totally different from the others and has it’s own culture and intrigue. This series is much the same. It focuses on three children—Kestrel, Bo and Mumpo—who come from a society much like the kind you see in The Giver or City of Ember—very regulated, no room for going against the leaders of society. They find out that life in the city isn't as great as it seems, and they leave to save the ones they love. As they travel they encounter cultures that are vastly different from their own, or from any that I’ve read in other books. Each time they came to a new place I was floored anew. How did Nicholson think of such things? That’s just the first book. The next two are wonderful as well, but I won’t get into what they are about, lest I give away what happens in the first one.
The second series on my must-read list is the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. So far there are three books in the series, but I don’t think it’s claiming to be a trilogy, so more might be one the way. I’ve read the first two, and I’m looking forward to the third one in a big way.
The feel of the book reminds me a bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Four insanely talented kids who are alone in the world respond to an ad in the newspaper for gifted children and find themselves in a mission to save the world. They have to go undercover as students at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to stop the headmaster from taking over the world through controlling the minds of everyone. Good times indeed. What I especially love about these books is how each of the four children have their own set of unique abilities. One can figure out patterns and riddles like a genius, one is the handiest girl you’ll ever meet, one can remember any bit of information he’s ever come across, and one…well, you’ll have to get to the end of the book to find out about her. All of their skills and personalities are necessary to completing their mission-a theme that is dear to my heart.
So there you have it—some exceptional books to entertain and enlighten. I’ll continue to post my review on the books that publishers send me (I’m now getting books from three different publishers!), but I’m going to try to take the time to write about the books that I’m reading on my own.