If you haven’t read the books on this list, please go and
bonk yourself on the head with a hard, heavy boulder. read them, NOW. They’re really good. At least in my opinion. Which is admittedly biased. I mean, if you were a ninety-year old grandmother, I doubt you’d want to read Harry Potter. Then again, you would! If you were cool. If you don’t want to be a lousy grandmother, check this list out now.
Tied for first postion, Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Yup, Harry Potter is right on top of this list. If you’ve never heard of it before (which rock did you crawl out of?!), it’s about a boy who finds out that he can do magic, and is part of a whole magical society that’s living alongside us in secret. He uncovers a whole prophecy about his destiny, and struggles to come to terms with his identity and what it means to be the one wizard destined to overthrow the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. It’s an epic battle between good and evil. It’s about courage, strength, and the power of love. Twilight doesn’t even come close to rivalling it’s emotional complexity. (Unfortunately, though, I don’t personally like Harry Potter (the character) very much because he’s angsty and unsociable, and not at all charming. Then again, I wouldn’t expect to be very cheerful if my parents were killed and this stupid bald guy with no nose just won’t get off my back.) By the way, you should check this fanfic out if you’re a Marauder-Lily fan. It’s called The Life And Times.
…And Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
An original plot about Greek Gods being alive and present in today’s modern world. Yup, they’re definitely alive- alive enough to have ahem with mortals and produce demigod offspring, which is what the series is about. No, not sex, the demigod offspring. Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon, the Sea God, and is powerful enough to set of an earthquake when he’s angry. There’s also a prophecy about him- that he will one day decide the fate of the world. (I am sorry to say that the ‘continuation’ of the series, The Lost Hero is nowhere as good as Percy Jackson was. Rick Riordan somehow lost his sparkling humor (he just sounds like he’s trying too hard to crack cheesy jokes in third person), and the characters are just not as cool. Jason is too boring, Piper is a bimbo, Leo is a try-hard, Reyna is a pushover, and Frank Zhang has a baby face on Incredible Hulk’s body. Yup, it says so in the book.)
3. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A boy-genius captures a fairy and uses it as leverage for ransom (her weight in pure gold) in order to supplement his family’s fortune. He discovers an entire fairy race living underground, complete with feisty police elves known as Leprechauns, disgusting (but funny) farting kleptomaniac dwarves, and nerdy centaurs in the process. Throughout the series, he saves the world from several close shaves with total annihilation at the hands of evil ambitious goblins. He becomes slightly more likeable as the series wears on, and even falls in love with the fairy he kidnapped in the first book. Artemis Fowl is supremely hot, in a nerdy, pale (no, we are not talking Edward Cullen here. He is so much cooler than that), super genius kind of way. It’s hilarious. This series hasn’t ended yet (thank the gods) but it’s going to end soon (darn). The last book will be released July 12 (2012, sadly) and it’s called The Last Guardian.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
It’s a dystopian novel about a corrupted government ruling over 12 districts, and an annual gladiator-style bloodfest, where two ‘tributes’ from each district are chosen to fight it out to the death, until only one remains. This is, of course, troublematic, when two of the tributes fall in love with each other (or, at least one does. the other might not even have a heart) It’s pretty dark stuff, if you read the text closely- it suggests at the inherently evil, violent, brutish side of human nature, and the ultimate failure of human society. Then again, it’s so thrilling and action-packed you might not have time to read that closely into the book. Either way, though, it’s possibly the best YA Dystopian novel I have ever read.
5. Bartimaeus by Jonathan Stroud
This is by far one of the most original series of books I have ever come across. And that’s not saying it’s weird. It’s not weird. It’s extremely good. It’s narrated by a smart-mouthed djinni (genie) whose footnotes make me double up in laughter. Unlike Harry Potter, the magicans in this one are too lazy to cast spells on their own and thus summon djinnis and imps and other Beings to do all the dirty work for them. It’s a trilogy, which has ended, but there’s a standalone (I think) book by the same author, still about the same smart-mouthed djinni, but a few hundred years in the past called Ring Of Solomon.
7. Young James Bond Series by Charlie Higson
It’s sort of like Alex Rider, but I think James Bond is way cooler (and hotter) than Alex Rider. Sorry. It’s a spy thriller, as you can tell by the name, except it’s for young adults and there is slightly less womanising. It’s exciting, and is chock full of thrills and action. The last book was quite heartbreaking, though. He fell in love with this beautiful, seductive, dangerous girl called Roan Powers who betrays him time and again.
8. The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
A series about a fantasy world (that’s remarkably similar to our world) set in the past (14th century?? I suck at History) following a bunch of cloaked agents who spy, fight, and plot for the Araluen King. Very entertaining fight scenes, and the writing in the 1st-4th books and 7th-10th books are rather good (the 5th and 6th books sucked.) Bad thing about this book series, though, is John Flanagan’s complete failure at matchmaking his characters. Everyone falls in love with the wrong person. Whenever he announces another of his horrendous, disastrous pairings, I want to hurl the book out of the window.
9. The Squire’s Tales by Gerald Morris
It’s a hilarious, light-hearted romp through the Medieval ages with King Arthur and his chivalrous knights-through the most unlikely of narrators each time. I swear, it had me in stitches all the time. It’s more for younger readers though, maybe 12-14. I finished the series a few years ago, but up till now I still sort of wish it hadn’t ended. I see the last book in the library, forget I’ve read it, think it’s a new installment in the series, excitedly borrow it, read it frantically, and then realize I’ve already read it.
10. The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
The first book in the series is less ‘political’ and the plot is much more simplistic, but as the series goes on, it gets more and more interesting and intriguing. It’s set in a world based on Ancient Greece, and is about three countries and the political intrigue between them. This makes it sound dry, but it’s not. How can it be, with a charming, witty main character, and sly, cunning Queens in the mix? Unfortunately, the relationship between Eugenides (aforementioned charming, witty thief/King) and the Queen of Attalia is rather destructive (not to mention disturbing), in my opinion.
I also really like this series by Maureen Johnson- the first book is Suite Scarlett and the second book is Scarlett Fever, but I don’t know what the third book is called (hasn’t come out yet). It’s set in the modern world and follows a spirited, feisty, hilarious girl called Scarlett and her family, who run a hotel. The plot doesn’t blow you away, but the writing is brilliant. The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson is not bad too, but a little gruesome. It’s a dystopian novel where everyone above the age of fourteen gets zombiefied. And the Finnickin of the Rock series by Melina Marchetta is good as well, but I haven’t read the second book so it would be unfair if I put this in the top 10 best book series when I’ve only read one book. It’s really well-written and quite touching.
If you haven’t read these books, I highly recommend you do :) And if you have any book series you think should be up here, feel free to comment below.