Guest post: My Favourite Fantasy Novels by Kerry Wilkinson

22 May

Today I’m very excited to welcome Kerry Wilkinson to One More Page as part of his Reckoning blog tour. Kerry is a number one Amazon bestseller for his Jessica Daniels crime series for adults. Reckoning is the first book in a new young adult  sci-fi/fantasy trilogy and is a fantastic read (look out for my review later today). You can find out more about Kerry and his books at:

My Favourite Fantasy Novels 

The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

The film of this is perhaps its most famous version and it’s only a matter of time before it gets remade – but the novel came out more than 100 years ago and so many of the core concepts from the genre are there. Dorothy is a young person who finds herself in an alien place (Oz), with a designated bad guy (The Wicked Witch); a quest (to follow the yellow-brick road to the Emerald City); people she meets on the way (Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion), adventure, terror and a cracking twist at the end.

It’s so easy to say that one book, film or whatever shares plot elements in common with other things – but, if that’s the case, everything is trailing in the wake of this from 1900. I read the book after watching the film as a kid and loved it. I wish I still had my tatty old hardback copy and have no idea what happened to it. My mum probably sold it at a car-booter for 50p and it’s now worth ten grand.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I read the series of books before I knew it originated as a radio play and a long time ahead of the 2005 movie. It is a ‘trilogy’ written by Douglas Adams, which actually contains five books. Arthur Dent is a very normal English man whose house is being demolished to make room for a bypass. Very shortly after, his problems get significantly larger when a race of aliens named the Vogons show up, ready to demolish Earth itself to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass. From there, Arthur is off on a journey around the universe.

The plot beyond that is hard to describe, partly because I wouldn’t want to spoil it, but largely because it’s not the point. What really makes the series brilliant is the humour, the concepts and the quality of Douglas Adams’s writing. Reading the novels is an absolute pleasure.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I came across this very recently but it’s easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. I particularly love the audiobook version, read by the wonderful Jason Isaacs. Conor is a young man facing the very real prospect that his mother, who has terminal cancer, might not live for much longer. In the meantime, he is haunted at night by the monster disguising itself as a tree at the bottom of his garden.

Patrick Ness’s writing is superb. It is what he doesn’t put on the page that truly shines – perhaps a strange thing to say about a writer. Certainly when it comes to Conor’s mother’s illness, a lot is left to the reader to see between the lines; plus decide whether the monster is real or imagined and, ultimately, heartbreakingly, whether it actually matters. It’s a perfect story.

 The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee

Superheroes are ‘in’ at the moment and there’s barely a week that passes without something new coming out at the cinema. I’ve loved Spider-Man for a long time but, if I’m honest, it’s not Spidey I love – it’s Peter Parker. For me, he’s the ultimate young adult character. First there are his superpowers. He’s sixteen when a spider first bites him, giving him superhuman strength and speed. By showing off those powers, it leads to his Uncle Ben dying.

He has absent, presumed dead, parents; a sickly aunt; a job at the Daily Planet to keep; a love life that includes Betty Brant, Gwen Stacy and ultimately Mary-Jane Watson – and that’s before any of his villains get a look in. Worse than that, he has schoolwork too!

The run of comics from the 1960s originals through to the trauma of issues 121-122 (I won’t spoil it) and the aftermath is some of my favourite-ever storytelling. Poor, ol’ Peter Parker…

The Harry Potter books by JK Rowling

In some quarters – especially among writers and the publishing community – it’s trendy to knock JK Rowling but I’ve enjoyed them all since the time my then girlfriend gave me the American edition of The Sorcerer’s Stone and told me it was good. The genius of the concept is that everything that happens mirrors the real world. There’s no need for a fantastical future, or a massive rewrite of history because the magical universe sits alongside our real one. The earlier novels set around Hogwarts are essentially mystery stories wrapped up in the wider concept of the magical kingdom – and the hooks always kept me interested.

Thanks Kelly – a great list!

Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy 1) is out today in paperback and ebook formats. 

Follow Kerry on Twitter @kerrywk

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