BY ANASTASIA MONTAVON, AUSTIN VAN PAY, BENJAMIN K. PAPLHAM, SAMANTHA KOLB
Anastasia: “Ender’s Game”
I read “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card for the first time in fourth grade, and ever since then I think about it a lot. I’ve reread the original book five times and the entire series and companion series twice. In short, the book follows a child, Andrew Wiggins (who goes by Ender), as he’s taken to Battle School to learn and train to fight the Buggers, an alien race that have invaded Earth twice before. Ender has the odds stacked against him from the very beginning, and that takes a toll on him. I’m not sure why fourth-grade me decided to pick up this book, but I’m glad I did. There are a few points later on in the series that I don’t think were necessary but definitely let Card’s opinion on certain social issues shine for a few pages. Other than that, I still highly recommend these books for anyone out there, sci-fi lover or not.
Austin: “The Hobbit”
J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most well-known fantasy writers of all time and gets my top spot for favorite novel with “The Hobbit.” This novel has been around for many years, and what makes it so great are the fantastic characters and world that Mr. Tolkien has created. The light-hearted tale sends Bilbo, Gandalf and the company of dwarves to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their homeland of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. I read the book when I was growing up, and, even today, it still holds up as an exciting and memorable tale. It’s filled with adventure, bravery and good lessons, and lets us all relate and find our inner Bilbo. The book is an easy read and a book for all ages to enjoy. If I was to hand a young child one book, it would be “The Hobbit,” and I would hope it would be as memorable to them as it was to me.
Ben: “The Bartimaeus Trilogy”
Jonathan Stroud’s “The Bartimaeus Trilogy” is one of the fantasy series that cemented my love for the genre. The novels are an alternate history in which magic was a pervading influence, drawing upon all types of mythology, including Aztecan, Egyptian and Hindu. The best attempt to summarize its intricate plotline is to say that “The Bartimaeus Trilogy” is about a young magician, Nathaniel, whose dangerous adventures help him rise in the ranks of London government. Aiding him along the way is Bartimaeus, a djinn with a marvelous sarcastic wit that contributes to him being one of my all-time favorite characters. One of the most striking stylistic elements from the series is its use of footnotes, which are usually from the perspective of the title character to add humorous digression and world-building information. This series is perfect for any fantasy lover, and I would especially recommend it to people who enjoy “Inkheart,” “Artemis Fowl” or “The Keys to the Kingdom.”
Samantha: “All Souls Trilogy”
My favorite book series as of right now is Deborah Harkness’“All Souls Trilogy”. This series begins with “Discovery of Witches,” which leads into “Shadow of Night” and ends with “The Book of Life.” Granted, this series is reminiscent of the vampire craze of the mid 2000’s, but it also includes witches, demons and time travel. Harkness is a history professor, so whenever there are any references to eras long past, everything feels incredibly accurate. The trilogy follows a historian and witch-in-denial, Diana Bishop, and her quest to find answers about a mysterious manuscript she came across in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. With the help of a 1,500-year-old vampire, geneticist Matthew Clairmont, they embark on a journey to discover the secrets of the magical races. There’s a good blend of supernatural with science, romance and action, and of course historical locations and people sprinkled throughout. I highly recommend it!