Cait over at Paper Fury recently wrote a post about how her heroes are authors. She inspired me to make my own post talking about authors who inspire me or who were/are very influential to my reading life. Basically, I’m spreading some love to these fabulous writers. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all! Hugs for everyone!
Here they all are, in alphabetical order. Be prepared for some serious fangirling!
Jeanne is the author of The Penderwicks, which won the National Book Award in 2005. (Holy ravioli, I just realized that was TEN YEARS AGO! It feels like yesterday when I read it for the first time…) I got the book for Christmas the year it was released, and upon finishing it I decided I wanted to write my own book just like it. The Penderwicks and Jeanne inspired me to become a writer. I will forever thank her for that marvelous book that made me realize my true calling in life. The sequels (The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, and the soon-to-be-released-this-March The Penderwicks in Spring) are great, too, but The Penderwicks, the first book, is by far the greatest, and will always have a special place in my heart.
Kristin is one of my favorite writers ever, and I regard her as a queen of high fantasy. I’ve read her Graceling trilogy (visit the series website here), which includes Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue. All are based in the same world but each book focuses on a different character and takes place at various different times. They are brilliant YA novels, full of action, romance, and kick-ass heroines. I’m dying to reread them soon. And I’m dying for her to release a new book! C’mon, Kristin, write faster, haha!
Kate has written some absolutely breathtaking and heartbreaking Middle Grade novels, such as Because of Winn-Dixie (my favorite of all her books and the one read probably every year), The Tiger Rising (read my review here), The Tale of Despereaux, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, to name some. I’ve read and reread those books I mentioned, they’re just that good. Her books just hit you right in your soul and make you laugh and cry. She’s a genius storyteller.
Shannon is another queen of high fantasy, but also of fairy tale retellings — The Goose Girl is the first in her YA series The Books of Bayern, which is followed by Enna Burning (my favorite book in the series and of all the books she’s so far written), River Secrets, and Forest Born. Man, I need to reread that series now… She’s also written Book of a Thousand Days, which is a retelling of the lesser-known fairy tale Maid Maleen, and Book of a Thousand Days is fabulous — I’ve read it numerous times. She won a Newbery Honor for Princess Academy, which she wrote two sequels for: Palace of Stone, and the soon-to-be-released The Forgotten Sisters — which is coming March 3rd, 2015!
Sarah is another queen of high fantasy, I think. You might not know of her, though. She’s written this really under-the-radar book called Throne of Glass. *Snort.* C’mon, who hasn’t heard of Sarah J. Freaking Maas?! This lady writes bad-ass high fantasy like nobody else, and her books are mind-blowing and so richly layered. I’ve read the first three books in her six-book series: Throne of Glass (read my review here), Crown of Midnight (read my review here), and Heir of Fire (read my review here. Be ready: DRAGONS ARE PRESENT). The books just keep getting better and better… I’ve yet to read the prequel, The Assassin’s Blade, which is a bind-up of four novellas, but I plan to eventually. And the fourth book, Queen of Shadows, is coming in September! Aaaaaaaagh, I can’t wait that long! In the meantime, though, she’s got a new book coming out called A Court of Thorns and Roses (releasing in May), which is the first book in a new high fantasy series and is apparently a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I LOVE RETELLINGS! See, Sarah is a master. She’s got two series going on and while I haven’t read an ARC of ACOTAR yet, I am 99% certain it’s going to be one amazing ride!
Robin is yet another queen of high fantasy! (Man, I’ve got quite a lot of Queens on this list so far, don’t I?) I’ve read five of her books, all of them terrific and so deep and well-imagined. My favorite, though, of hers is Chalice, but The Hero and the Crown (which won a Newbery Medal), Beauty, Dragonhaven (DRAGONS I LOVE DRAGONS), and Sunshine (most creative and original and different and absolutely amazing book about vampires ever) are amazing, too. She’s another author of fairy tale retellings: Beauty being, you guessed it, Beauty and the Beast, Rose Daughter being another Beauty and the Beast retelling, Spindle’s End being Sleeping Beauty, The Outlaws of Sherwood being Robin Hood, and Deerskin being the little-known Donkeyskin. She’s also written the Newbery Honor book The Blue Sword and Pegasus, as well as even more books. Her writing is insanely great and very unique; no one writes like Robin Freaking McKinley. Her books aren’t easy to fly through in the way they’re written, but her stories are so well crafted and are so memorable and deep. Robin herself is also an amazing, unique woman — go read her hilarious blog to find out what I’m talking about.
The Golden Compass. That is all.
Okay, just one more thing: I know that Philip’s books have a bit of controversy surrounding them because of his anti-Church beliefs, but if you put that aside, his works (at least the books I’ve read which are His Dark Materials trilogy, consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) are thought-provoking, rich and magical, dark and serious, yet also full of hope and love. The Golden Compass is what I consider to be a contemporary classic, and is a book I believe everyone should read at least once. People seem to either love or hate it, but I am someone who loved it, and think that Philip Pullman is an absolute master writer.
Never have I read books that are so funny, action-packed, and weave mythology (I freaking love mythology) into our present-day world so well. It all started with The Lightning Thief. And the rest is history. Rick is truly a master at delivering entertaining adventures that still seem fresh with every new book he writes. I have read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (quintet? Is that what you call a five-book series, a quintet?) multiple times, and have read the spin-off series The Heroes of Olympus and his trilogy about Egyptian mythology The Kane Chronicles. All his books are fabulous — and it’s been wonderful to see his characters grow up. I was a kid when I started The Lightning Thief and I grew up alongside Percy and Annabeth and all the other characters. Rick’s books are a Middle Grade/Young Adult hybrid, which is wonderful because they appeal to a wide audience. (He does write Adult books, too.) I absolutely cannot wait for his new series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard because now we’re going to delve into some Norse mythology! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!
How could I not include Joanne? She’s another queen of fantasy, arguably The Queen. She did something no one else has ever done before. She created an epic story that became a universal phenomenon. She wrote seven books about wizards and witches, good fighting evil, and love conquering all. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was one of the first books, if not the very first, that catapulted me into reading children’s novels and stepping away from chapter books. (Yup, I was pretty young when I picked up Harry Potter.) I’ve read the first book more times than I can count and the whole series twice through. (I want to reread it again, though!) I don’t think I need to say much on the subject of Harry Potter and J. K. and all that. Let me just flail around and say that it was quite something when the books ended, and a huge slap to the face when the movies ended a few years later. It marked the end of an era. It meant that the story was over. (Pottermore doesn’t count.) While I don’t think Joanne is the best writer of all time, I do believe she is a fantastic storyteller with great, clever ideas. Her Harry Potter books are classics, really, and will forever be read and loved by children, teens, and adults as time goes on.
Maggie’s The Scorpio Races was f***ing beautiful. Sorry, but that’s how strongly I feel about it. It was also my #1 favorite book I read in 2014, and I want to reread it again soon so I can gush about it on the blog even more. It was a surprise hit for me, starting out slow and building momentum until BOOM everything came together and I was utterly spellbound by how perfect and realistic and raw and emotional it was. It made me cry at the very end, and not for shock value or for the sake of jerking my emotions around, but because there was something so utterly perfect and beautiful and unbelievably touching. Just, gah. If I ever write a review of the book I might actually have to make it a discussion, and a spoiler discussion at that. Just. Agh. Maggie Stiefvater — you’re another queen. And you win even more points for basing this book on the legends of Celtic water horses. Mythology FTW!
And here are a few more (erm, eleven) authors I really, really like (I just can’t talk about everyone otherwise this post would be way too long):
- Roald Dahl (for his hilariously wicked The BFG, Matilda, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mr. Fox)
- L. M. Elliott (for her gorgeous Civil War novel Annie, Between the States)
- Carl Hiaasen (for fun adventures saving Florida wildlife in Flush, Hoot, Scat, and Chomp)
- Diana Wynne Jones (for her brilliantly magical Howl’s Moving Castle)
- Gail Carson Levine (for her amazing fairy tale retellings Ella Enchanted, Fairest, A Tale of Two Castles, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Ever, which I forget if it’s a retelling or not)
- Tahereh Mafi (for her poetic and gorgeous writing in the Shatter Me series, starting with Shatter Me)
- Christopher Paolini (for the best DRAGON books I’ve ever read: his Inheritance Cycle, starting with Eragon)
- Michelle Paver (for her awesomely creepy historical fantasy series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, starting with Wolf Brother)
- Pam Munoz Ryan (for her touching books Becoming Naomi Leon and Esperanza Rising)
- Lemony Snicket (for his deliciously evil A Series of Unfortunate Events, starting with The Bad Beginning)
- J. R. R. Tolkien (the so-called pioneer of fantasy, with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring, and the series’ prequel The Hobbit)
And those are all my absolute favorite authors (as of right now), a nice mix of Young Adult and Middle Grade authors. (I also just noticed how few men I have listed. And how many authors of fantasy books I have. LOL.) There are loads more writers I think are superb who didn’t make this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re being forgotten. Maybe they’ll round out a second list of authors I admire.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sound off in the comments below!