I decided to write this post as I’ve recently bought loads of my old childhood books to read again, it made me think about what my favourite books were and a conversation with my lovely friend (and author) Lauren McNeil made me realise that not only could I help other people remember their favourites but I could also recommend some oldie but goodie fantasy novels which may have become ‘forgotten’. So here are a few of my favourites from my official ‘YA’ time I hope you find some that you remember and maybe some new ones to enjoy too!
The Prophecy of the Gems by Flavia Bujor was a book which stayed with my all my life because Flavia wrote this book when she was only 13!! 13 and she had a published novel, as an aspiring teen writer she was my idol! Anyway, the premise is three girls; Amber, Opal and Jade who are chosen to fill an ancient Prophecy on the fourteenth birthdays. The girls set out on a quest in a magical realm called Fairytale. Magic rules there and evil is completely unknown… meanwhile in the real world, or a parallel universe as it is known in the book, a young girl named Jo is in a coma and dreaming of three girls completing an epic quest, only armed with their magical stones. Fairytale’s fate lies with them…
Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism was a firm favourite of mine growing up although I only read the first two. Molly lives in an orphanage and isn’t treated very well, when she finds a book of Hypnotism her life changes dramatically for the better and the fun really begins.
The World of Chrestomanci by Dianna Wynne Jones. This is a 6 book series of which I read the first four and now have the last two to read. Magic, mayhem, rules about magic, parallel worlds, doppelgängers, this series has it all and it’s wonderfully magical from start to finish.
The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson, I’ve just finished re-reading there and they were just as awesome the second time round. The Manth people live in the shadow of the Windsinger which no longer sings after they were attacked by the Morah. But twins Bow and Kestrel set out to save the day and bring the Windsinger’s voice back.
The Arthur Series by Kevin Crossley-Holland. If you like your action packed stories with a hint of magic and fortune telling them these are the Arthur book for you, blurring the lines between children and adult fiction these are a great alternative tale to the traditional Arthurian Legends.
I probably don’t need to actually say that this is forgotten, because I know there’s loads of other Le Guin fans out there but believe it or not some people genuinely haven’t heard of her or her amazing books. This is absolutely one of my favourite series. This series follows the story of the wizard Ged (same name as my boyfriend by the way complete coincidence I promise). Ged who becomes known as Sparrowhawk, is a talented magician and soon becomes an archmage. There’s plenty of good vs evil and the series has been described as on a par with Tolkien and CS Lewis.
The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle is an absolute classic and really appeals to any age! It’s also an amazing film and one of my absolute favourite books and films of all time. The story of a Unicorn who believes she is the Last Unicorn in the world. Cue an epic adventure involving a bumbling magician and a King’s curse.
The Earthaven Series by Katherine Roberts begins with Spellfall which is a wonderful story of magic and curses, kidnapping, spells and an enchanted world full of spell Lords and giant giant soul trees. The follow up book Spellspring was published 15 years later in 2016.
The Magician’s House Series by William Corlett, three siblings find themselves in a mysterious house for the school holidays where they enter The Magician’s House and a world of magic unfolds. The children become the Magician’s students and epic adventures begin.
Another series that perhaps doesn’t need to be listed under ‘forgotten’ especially with the new one coming out in October (yay!) but this is another of my absolute favourites. His Dark Materials what I loved most about the series is the fact that everyone has a Dæmon, a little animal which belongs to them, like their soul but on the outside. Lyra travels around her parallel world to save her friend.
The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. Surprisingly few people have read Hess or even heard of them and yet I personally consider Garth Nix to be one of the greatest authors in the genre of all time. Sabriel, Lireal, Abhorsen were all books I read when I was younger and I have since happily enjoyed Across the Wall, Clariel, Goldenhand and To Hold the Bridge. The Old Kingdom are fantastic tales of an amazing fantasy world where evil is close and visits to death are like visits to the local shop.
Not exactly Fantasy but definitely YA the Sally Lockhart Series by Philip Pullman is another great series by this author. Set in Victorian London these are stories of mystery, penny dreadfuls, opium dens and the dark secrets of Asian culture at a time when it was pretty much unknown. Absolutely fascinating. They’re engrossing I’ll warn you!
Finally Artemis Fowl I only ever read the first three books although I see now there have been many others. Eoin Colfer’s twelve year old millionaire, genius protagonist mixes science and futuristic technology with magic for an eclectic but fascinating story.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my favourites and hopefully reconnected with some of yours. Please feel free to comment your own recommendations!