One of my favorite presents to give (or accept) is none other than books. It is, in my opinion, one of the best gifts anyone can have. Growing up, I love reading fictions — mainly science fiction, fantasy and dystopian. Throughout the years, I've been collecting and constantly buying books (because I dislike ebooks!) so I thought for today I'd share with you my top five adventurous, sci-fi fantasy favorites and an extra bonus that I've been desperately want in my collection. I personally think they also make a great gift for friends who equally love these genre.
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
A young adult science fiction fantasy with a taste of historical fiction, supernatural and mystery set in Missouri (1994), particularly in a rural town called Arcane, The Boneshaker tells a story of 13-year old Natalie Minks who has a fondness of machines, particularly the automata — a self operating mechanical device usually powered by clockwork. As an adventurous, puzzle loving youngster who is not afraid to scrape her knees and get dirty by tinkering with machines, Natalie finds it odd when one day, a traveling medicine show run by Jake Limberleg appears in town. This then leads to Natalie's adventure into uncovering the secrets of said caravan, into an intricate maze of the medicine show.
In my opinion, The Boneshaker is an underrated — if not underappreciated — young adult fantasy book that not a lot of people know of. It is creative, intriguing and almost haunting, especially with added illustrations in between some pages.
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Unlike The Boneshaker, Erin Morgenstern's debut novel began as an entry for the writing competition NaNoWriMo — a great one, at that. The Night Circus, dubbed as "a phantasmagorical fairy tale set in Victorian London" , is put into motion within a wandering magical circus open for business only from sunset to sunrise. The Circus of Dreams, also known as Le Cirque des Rêves, is a wonderful, elegant place filled with ethereal enigmas and dreamy paradox, a visually appealing place of Wonderland that takes your mind off the bland and boring reality we live in. Underneath this all, the fairy tale-like setting is all but a facade to hide the rivalry between two magicians: Prospero the Enchanter and Mr. A.H who train their respective apprentices, Celia Bowen and Marco Alistair to compete against each other. The book itself reminds me of The Prestige, a mystery-drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, and Harry Potter for its magical universe. I wouldn't say the universe is exactly like Harry Potter but I get the same mystical, wondrous feeling. For a debut novel, I really enjoyed reading it and would totally recommend this book.
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
We all know about the film directed by Tim Burton or, at the very least, we have heard of it. After all, it was quite the bomb and an awaited one this year. As much as I appreciate the film and enjoyed how Tim Burton directed it, I'd definitely encourage those who enjoyed the film to read the book, especially because the film changed a few things. Even if you did not watched it, I still think you should read the book — or should I say, trilogy. The plot itself follows a young boy named Jacob who, after the death of a family member, decides to go on a journey to find a children's home located in Wales. This house, as you may expect, is not your ordinary orphanage but rather (yes, you guessed that right)...a house filled with children who harbor strange, supernatural abilities. The book itself is completed with a series of venacular photographs from the author's collection of archives. If you are into spooky, dark Neil Gaiman-like atmosphere with a touch of supernatural mystery, you should definitely give this book a chance.
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The first book in a completed trilogy, The Passage is more of a science-fiction book rather than a fantasy. Set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic near future, the novel is broken down into two sections and 11 parts of different lengths . In this we are introduced to a world affected by an outbreak caused by a project gone wrong, a drug-turned-virus that cause infected individuals to mutate into vampire-like beings — and no, they do not sparkle or glitter under the sun. While the first section covers everything about the virus and its outbreak, the second is set in California, 93 years after the massacre and thus, shaping the post-apocalyptic element. Our protagonist, Amy Harper Bellafonte is an individual who, despite being infected, does not acquire the blood lust that follows. The book then follows through her journey as a targeted test subject carried out by a secret government program.
What I love about this book is how it was written from different perspectives. Instead of starting (or progressing through) the book with nothing but Amy, the book brings in all the characters together to keep the plot going. I love how it incorporates a community instead of only focusing on Amy all the time. Although it may sound like it has such a cliche plot found in your typical survival films or video games, this book is such a great read that I'd recommend to anyone, especially sci-fi and/or zombie lovers. The setting reminds me of a mix between Stephen King, Tom Clancy, the film Daybreakers and the video game The Last of Us — vampires? No. I'd rather call them monsters.
Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley
Now this is a special book, it really is. If you are fond of video games like I do, I bet (and hope) you have heard of the Bioshock trilogy. If I were to pick only one video game to play for the rest of my life, it would be Bioshock — especially the first one. While I know not everyone plays video game or Bioshock, I still want to include this book in the list due to how special it is. A science-fiction novel set within the infamous Bioshock universe, Bioshock: Rapture tells the story of how a massive underwater city, Rapture was created up to the point of its downfall and before the event of the first game. Although it may essentially be considered as an expanded prequel to the game, I personally think people who are not familiar with it may find the universe engaging. In fact, I believe they may have a different opinion about Rapture which makes it a lot more fun. The book itself is ambitious, dark and quite morbid too. Also, if you must, give the game a shot by watching gameplays or play the game yourself. I promise you it's worth it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
This is actually the extra book — or series — that I've been thinking of purchasing for years. I was first introduced to ASOUE from the 2004 film adaptation directed by Brad Silberling, starring Jim Carrey as the titular Count Olaf, Emily Browning and Liam Aiken as Violet and Klaus Bauldelaire respectively. I remember watching the movie for the first time and immediately falling in love with it — the setting, the universe, the characters, everything. I'm actually sad that they did not continue the film franchise because I would have loved that. Still, I'm beyond thrilled and excited for the upcoming Netflix TV series and hope that Neil Patrick Harris does the role of nasty Count Olaf just as good. I'm also excited for Maline Weissman, whom I recognized from the TV show Supergirl as young Kara Danvers, to be Violet Bauldelaire.
In case you have never heard of this children's book, it's a series about the Bauldelaire orphans — inventor Violet, bookworm Klaus and strong chewer baby Sunny — and their turbulent lives of trying to escape from Count Olaf, a nasty villainous relative whose goal is to steal the children's inheritance. As the journey continues, the children began to uncover the secret organization that their parents were involved in.
You can watch the Netflix series trailer here.
That's it for my top five favorites! I hope you find these interesting. Do you any recommendation to add into the list? Be sure to share them in the comments below!