Hey guys! SO TODAY I have a rather fabulous awesome blogger over. It turns out she was a follower and a supporter of Fiction Freak BEFORE she was even a blogger and you have NO IDEA how much that means! Plus she a rather awesome person, in general, and it’s practically impossible not to love her. I welcome you…
as we discuss
Basically we start it out like a list and just alternate and reply and, err, yeah. ON WITH IT.
(Bolded are Alyssa, Pink are her recommendations.)
(Italics are Nikki, Blue are her recommendations.)
Alyssa: Epic/high fantasy
I’m not really sure what others consider epic fantasy, or high fantasy, or historical fantasy, or medieval fantasy, so I’m just going to stick with the umbrella genre: high/epic fantasy. To me, this genre includes books such as Fire by Kristin Cashore (my all-time FAVORITE book ever), Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (although, the last one is noted more as historical fiction, rather than historical fantasy. Whatever).
To me, fantasy is one of the few genres that are completely unrealistic. With science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary romance fiction, and maybe even paranormal fiction, it still feels like the story could legitimately occur in real life, with a little bit of a stretch in regards to paranormal fiction. But with fantasy, it’s completely out of this world – literally. Fantasy draws me in because it’s not real, and I love not real. HIGH fantasy attracts me because I’ve always had a fascination with the medieval world, with kings or lords, castles, and magic. Knights, assassins, gorgeous flowing dresses, swords, bows and arrows, chivalry – I love all of these “medieval” characteristics. Ancient and medieval civilizations have always interested me, so when you add the fantasy part, it’s a perfect genre for me.
So. High/epic fantasy. Gimme more.
Nikki: YES. That one is definitely one of my favorites too. I ADORED Throne of Glass and Grave Mercy. I have to agree with you. I LOVE medieval worlds. They’re fascinating and political intrigue? With magic? HELL YES. But then even without political intrigue, I love it. WORLDBUILDING! The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen was also pretty awesome. And Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. And City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. And–you know what? I could just go on and onnnn.
My favorite besides high fantasy? PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS. I absolutely adore psychological thrillers and they are, quite possibly, the closest I will ever get to a true horror book because of my wimpiness. They’re still terrifying though because they make you question the main character, the one person we’re supposed to never doubt. You question their insanity, what they see, what they hear, whether they’re being cautious or paranoid. And it’s terrifying because a) people can think up some pretty terrifying shit and b) not knowing if you can trust your mind? Pretty creepy if you ask me.
But it’s not just that–I really just love the thrill you get when you read a thriller, but the questions that a psychological thriller throws at you are just mindblowing. Can you trust this character? Can you not? Is she crazy, is she sane? You never exactly what’s happening in one of these because you don’t know if you can even trust the main character. I love trying to pick apart the facts from the hallucinations and the paranoia and sometimes it’s impossible. I just know that every single time I read a psychological thriller I’m blown away with the revelations at the end of the story and then practically KILLED if we never get confirmation of whether our character is insane or not.
I remember my first psychological thriller was The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins and guys, I fell in love. I fell in love with her insanity with her confusion, with her absolute denial that she was crazy, and with the things that happened that I’m still not sure are fact or fiction…err, fictional fiction. My recent favorite? The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. THAT BOOK. THAT BOOK.
Alyssa: Somehow, I didn’t even consider psychological thrillers when I thought about my top three favorite genres O_O I definitely enjoy them – the one’s I’ve read, anyway. I loved The Unbecoming of Maya Dyer! I can’t make heads or tails when it comes to Mara’s mindset, or what is real and what is not. I actually have not read book two, but that’s because I saw how far back the three book was pushed back. I’ll definitely mark down The Naturals. I think I need to read more of these books to know if I really like them or not, but I think I do. Yes.
My second favorite genre… science fiction
Science fiction is a really vague genre, because it includes dystopia, time travel, space operas, apocalyptic, steampunk, and so on. The “type” of science fiction that I love is just that – the “science” in fiction. I’m a math/science-y person by nature, as well as English/social science-y person. I’m an environmental engineer major attending the number one research university in the world… if you didn’t believe me. Science is a core part of my life, and that is one of the reasons why I’m so fascinated with authors’ spin on science fiction. Take, for example, Control by Lydia Kang. Genetic engineering is a pretty popular topic in YA sci-fi lit, which is fine with me. Kang’s debut blends science fiction with thriller aspects, and I absolutely love it. Another science fiction novel I loved was Breathe by Sarah Crossan. Crossan incorporates a significant environmental theme in this duology, regarding the effects of a deteriorating atmosphere and poor oxygen quality. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the space-related science fiction novels, such as Burn Out by Kristi Helvig, Avalon by Mindee Arnett, and the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis. Fun fact: I used to want to be an astrophysicist.
Science doesn’t bore me, or (for the most part) confuse me, but it is does overwhelm me and totally blows my mind. I wouldn’t be such a hardcore math/science major if I wasn’t completely fascinated by the subject matter. I’d love to see more intelligent, deeply-rooted math/science-y science fiction novels in YA literature!
Nikki: Yes! I love sci-fi, but I don’t really think I can call it my favorite. My favorite out of the ones you mentioned though, is probably time travel or parallel universes! Anything that explores theories. Apocalyptic stories are also pretty awesome. LOVED This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers and Parallel by Lauren Miller! It’s so fun seeing others write stories and usually the worldbuilding or the science behind it, like you said. I loved Avalon and am DYING to read Burn Out. And I am in awe because many a times science *does* confuse me. Like I remember Vortex by Julie Cross just confused the heck out of me.
My second favorite?
CONTEMPORARIES. I adore contemporaries, especially the heartbreaking ones. I’m…not quite sure exactly what *kind* of contemporaries are my favorite, aside from emotional ones, but two of my favorites were The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis and Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. I guess you could say the poignant ones? I’m sort of a philosophical person and reading contemporaries are just perfect, especially when they make you think about your own life and experiences. EVEN IF THE FEELS DO KILL ME. It’s amazing because I feel like it’s easier to relate to the characters and it just makes what happens to them all the more heartbreaking, especially since all these things could happen to me. There’s no made up element (most of the times) no paranormal creature, no nothing. It’s just heartache and heartbreak.
Alyssa: I’m actually not a fan of contemporary novels. There are many types – romance, what I call “tough-issues”, memoirs, etc. I generally dislike “tough-issues” novels (like, unfortunately, Faking Normal), but I totally see the appeal. I’ve actually read three of them in last week, and I mostly enjoyed all three! PROGRESS. I do like a contemporary romance novel every now and then, just because sometimes I am in the mood for something SOLELY based on romance. But that’s rare. And usually when I’m in those kinds of moods, I go for an adult historical romance novel.
And that is a perfect segue to my third favorite genre – historical fiction. Historical fiction is obviously quite different from adult historical romance novels, and I enjoy both, for the historical aspect. I’m not a hugeeeeee fan of the more historical fiction novels set in the more “recent” historical times, such as the 1900s. *hides* I know many people love the 1920s in particular, but I’m sort of meh when it comes to that time period. Take Born of Illusion by Teri Brown. It was okay, I liked it, but the historical setting wasn’t WOW or amazing, in my opinion. I REALLY like medieval historical fiction, like The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell. Or like 1700s/1800s historical fiction, like The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas or The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. Funny how both of those are historical fiction as well as fantasy though… so you can see why my #1 favorite genre is what it is. LOL. But in all seriousness, I love historical fiction, because I love seeing authors’ take on history. History is difficult to recreate, ESPECIALLY when it comes to those really early historical times (which is why I LOVE those novels in particular). The medieval ages, people. How about Starling by Fiona Paul (that series in general). THAT is some great historical fiction, set during the Italian Renaissance.
Nikki: YES to hist-fics! Not one of my absolute favorites, but pretty damn close. I can’t say I like the 190os either, but medieval? Yesss. POLITICAL INTRIGUE. Anything with princes and queens and lords and knights, whatever. Love it. The number of betrayals and twists and people with scores to settle are numerous and it’s just amazing. I suppose I like the stories of 1900s socialites, but definitely not as much as medieval ones! And I love anything historical Europe. RENAISSANCE GUYS. RENAISSANCE. One of my favorites has to be Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan and then Venom by Fiona Paul!
Oh how I love Retellings. I guess this is sort of a cheat because retellings can really be any genre, but I just…yes. LOVE. I love seeing my favorite fairy tales or classics retold. It’s just amazing seeing new twists on age old stories and new interpretations. And sometimes if it’s one of my favorite stories (Like East of the Sun, West of the Moon) I’ll practically attack someone for that book. I’M SORRY I CAN’T HELP IT. Retellings are just amazing and they’ll have that timeless quality to it, just like the original. Some of my favorite retellings: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, East by Edith Patou, Splintered by A.G. Howard, and Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson! THE IMAGINATION IN ALL OF THESE. It’s really just amazing how creative people are to come up with new stories that still stick to the original.
Alyssa: I so love retellings as well! I think it’s great that authors take an original story, an already acclaimed masterpiece, and make it something of their own imagination. Most retellings are fairy tale retellings, or even classics retellings. I love fairy tale retellings, and I think it would be SO COOL to read some darker fairy tale retellings, like the Grimm’s tales. Has anyone read the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales? I bought a copy (it’s GIGANTIC) and read some and gosh they are so interesting! And dark. But I love them. So of my favorite retellings are Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (retelling of Beauty and the Best), Entwined by Heather Dixon (retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses), and Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (which features a mixture of many, many fairy tales). I have Splintered (and Unhinged!), so I’ll be reading those two soon! I’m interested in Tiger Lily and Of Beast and Beauty, so I’ll mark them down 😉
Nikki: GASP. YES. I FORGOT CRUEL BEAUTY! Adored that one so much. Entwined was awesome, but I remember wishing for more kissing ;D