Cassandra Clare, Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Justine Larbalestier, Kiersten White, Samantha Shannon, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, Tamora Pierce, The Lord of the Rings, Top Ten Tuesday, TS Eliot
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all-time favourite authors. Aside from the obvious problem of distilling more than two decades’ worth of reading into only ten favourite authors, as I’ve thought about this post I’ve realised there are, broadly-speaking, two different ways in which an author makes it onto my list of favourites. There are the authors who have written one series that I’ve fallen utterly in love with, and then the authors who tend to write standalones or shorter series and who consistently produce books I know I’ll enjoy.
So without further ado, my favourite authors:
1. JK Rowling. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love JK Rowling. I first read the Harry Potter books nearly sixteen years ago, and I love them as much today as I did then. They were the books that made me realise I wanted to be a writer, and they’ve been with me through adolescence and young adulthood.
2. JRR Tolkien. Who else, for a fantasy fan like myself, than the king of world-building himself? While I have issues with Tolkien’s work (namely, where are all the women?) I admire the scale and scope of his world-building and hope to be half as good myself. The Lord of the Rings changed my life when I was thirteen, and I only love it all the more after doing a course on Tolkien at uni.
3. Sarah J Maas. Sarah’s a much newer addition to my favourites than the first two on this list, considering her first book only came out three years ago. But where Rowling taught me the joy of writing and Tolkien the vast opportunities of world-building, Maas taught me that protagonists don’t need to be nice to be sympathetic or possibly even likeable. I adore Celaena, and my heart breaks for her at times, but I’m not at all sure I’d like to be her friend.
These three are like my holy trinity, the authors I turn to for inspiration and in whose pages I seek solace. All three of them wrote a single series that touched me to the soul, and yet all are such masters of their craft that no matter what they write I am certain to enjoy it.
The next two, in contrast, are authors who have not (yet) written a single novel or series that reached into the very core of my being, but who invariably write stories that suck me in and hold me to the page. They’re on my auto-buy because no matter what they write, I know I’ll enjoy it, moreso even than with many authors of series I love because they’ve already proven they can hold my interest with brand new characters and worlds.
4. Justine Larbalestier. I was introduced to Larbalestier’s work through Liar, a novel about and narrated by a compulsive liar. Micah is pretty much the epitome of of an unreliable narrator. Since then I’ve read several more of Larbalestier’s books and her newest novel, Razorhurst, is on my TBR. One of the things I love about Larbalestier is that her books are always conscious of social issues but within the framework of supernatural and fantastical stories rather than being about these issues.
5. Kiersten White. I’ve read all of White’s books and adored every one of them. Like Larbalestier, she’s written a range of YA SF/F novels that never fail to interest me. From sassy Evie to stubborn Isadora, her protagonists are real and engaging and so, so human.
And in no particular order, the rest of my favourites:
6. Tamora Pierce. I love Pierce’s Tortall books. Love love love them. When I was a young teenager, they were unusual in YA fantasy because they had GIRLS! and I owe her such a debt of gratitude for showing me that girls can be the heroes of their own action stories, back when YA SF/F was still a male-dominated genre.
7. Samantha Shannon. She’s only written two books so far, but my god do I love The Bone Season. The blend of futuristic dystopia with Victorian supernatural, the Biblical mythology thrown in for good measure, can you tell I love her world-building?
8. TS Eliot. Not technically an author, but Eliot is my all-time favourite poet. Yeah, yeah, I know he was a pretentious prat, but has anyone else ever so encapsulated the mental meanderings of the quarter-life crisis as Eliot has with ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’? I think not.
9. Cassandra Clare. I love The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. I love the protagonists, the world, everything. Shadowhunters are the new Slayers, methinks.
10. Susan Dennard. I absolutely devoured the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy; I read the whole thing in a single weekend. I’ve also read all of the Starkillers Cycle, the online episodic story Susan’s writing with Sarah J Maas and it is AWESOME. Because I mostly write about YA here, I feel compelled to point out that Starkillers is aimed at adults and inappropriate for a teen audience, but if you’re an adult you should go read it now. NOW!