Murder, Monsters and Magic: Must Read Books!

I am a big book fan. In fact, my whole family is. Reading nerds will know that you can read many books in your lifetime but some stay with you more than others. This article looks at a collection of the books I love the most and will always be happy to re-read and highly recommend. If you have any books of your own you would like to suggest, feel free to leave a comment!

Perdido Street Station – Sci-Fi Fantasy

China Mièville

Probably one of the most interesting and weird books I have ever read. My dad recommended this after reading it himself and I’m pleased he did. This book is a blend of science fiction, steam punk, a criminal underworld, love, an oppressive state and out right wild imagination. Based on a world where women have bugs for heads, frog humans exist, criminals are “remade” as punishment to match their crime (one woman kills her baby and has it’s arms sewn to her own head), you will be in constant awe at Mièville’s story telling and imagination. He relays his vivid thoughts so well that your mind will be reeling with pictures and imagery. This story follows the eccentric scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and his closest friends. Grimnebulin is fascinated in rare winged beasts called Garuda’s. When one, Yagharek, injured and tortured, shows up at his lab for help, he can’t believe his luck. But all is not as it seems and the Garuda has a sordid past. Not only is this a story about learning of his horrific fate, there are other beasts lurking in the night. Slakemoths are terrorising the city, and it’s all Grimnebulin’s fault. Can he stop them and help Yagharek at the same time whilst also saving his girl friend from a mob boss so addicted to being remade that he no longer remembers what creature he started out as. A weird but utterly brilliant book. 10/10.

The Warlord Trilogy – Historical

Bernard Cornwell

These are the books that made me fall in love with reading and the ones I’d be happy to read again and again, if only I hadn’t read them so much that they fell apart! Bernard Cornwell is probably best known for his “Richard Sharpe” books but these, in my opinion, are far superior. These books follow the story of a Warlord called Derfel, in Arthurian Britain. It’s not your average Arthur and Merlin story though. There are no monsters, no magic, no spells or dragons. These stories are ones of reality, war, politics, battles and love based on real historical detail and events. The fact that it ignores the usual mythical tales is refreshing. As a history fan, I throughly enjoyed these books as the level of research and detail that went into them was superb. This era is known as, “the dark ages” but with these books, you feel you have enough light shed on them to imagine it completely. The three books in this series, “The Winter King“, “Enemy of God” and “Excalibur” captivate from start to finish, even though they each come close to 500 pages each. Whether you are willing Arthur and knights to win in battle, hating Guinevere for betraying Arthur, trying to work out what Merlin is playing at in order to restore Paganism, there is so much going on in such a well told manner that you wont get bored.

Jack Caffery Thriller Series – Crime

Mo Hayder

These books come in two sets. There were originally just two stories involving Detective Inspector Jack Caffery which were, in order, “Bird Man” and “The Treatment“. Driven by his brothers abduction and murder as a young child, Caffery joins the police force in order to find out what really happened, and most importantly, find out once and for all if it was his fault? Not only are you desperate to find out what happened to his brother, the story lines of the crimes he is currently working on will be enough to keep you awake at night. They are particularly gruesome, wonderfully detailed and brilliantly thought out, you will be gasping in shock at some and wincing with tension at others. Hayder not only manages to write compelling story lines, she creates a character in Caffery that you can’t help but love. Despite his anger, his love of drink and isolated nonchalant attitude, you feel his pain and guilt for his brother, you know he wants to move on and you will him to do well in all aspects, work and love. In fact, Caffery proved to be such a hit with readers that after six years of laying him to rest (in writing) she reprised his character for a whole set of new books with “Ritual“, “Skin” and “Gone“. These are just as compelling as the first two and they also introduce a new twist with the introduction of the equally tortured soul, Special Officer Flea Marley. Can they catch the most psychotic of killers as well as lay to rest their own demons? One thing is for sure, you’ll want to read to find out!

Discworld Series – Fantasy

Terry Pratchett

Most people I know have read a Pratchett book. He is a cult figure after all. His Discworld books are probably my favourite of all his works. There is one reason for this. Death. Not because he is constantly killing off characters but because of the character of Death, the anthropomorphic embodiment of what death should be. This, in Pratchett’s eyes, is a seven-foot tall skeleton with glowing blue eyes and a booming voice, despite the fact he doesn’t speak and rides a horse called Binky. He wants to learn all about humans, how we think, how we feel and it’s perfectly written. He is, without doubt, one of the finest literal and comedic characters. One such book in which Death shines in this series, is in “Mort“. Essentially, Death wants a holiday and hires a young apprentice to take over the reaping of souls whilst he galavants around the country trying to be “normal” with hilarious consequences. These books can be laugh out loud, you will find yourself smirking and chuckling without realising, which can be embarrassing in public. It’s certainly worth picking these books up for light reading and a giggle. You can really immerse yourself in the world of silliness, magic, love, friendship and life.

~ Image source for books:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s