This is a continuation of this post that I wrote in the summer about three of my all time favourite books. As my full-to-the-brim bookshelf can attest, I have quite a few favourites to share.
Avalon: The Return Of King Arthur by Stephen R. Lawhead
I can't remember for sure if this is the first novel by Stephen R. Lawhead I ever read, but I'm fairly certain it was. I found it on the shelf in my local library when I was about fourteen, and I devoured it. I've always enjoyed Arthurian mythology, but this book was written about what comes next, after the Battle of Camlann and the Lake of Avalon, when the world was left to mourn and await the return of its king. It was my first exposure to a story that told what happened after the mythology ended, and I adored it. A few years ago, my father located an old mass market paperback copy in a used bookstore while in another state from me and texted me to ask if I wanted it. I hadn't ever owned my own copy, so I immediately said yes. It was the book that launched my love for Stephen R. Lawhead, easily one of my top five favourite writers of all time.
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
This is another example of a book I just picked up out of curiosity, not knowing anything about it or its author. With a rich backdrop of fantastical elements in modern day Venice, my interested was piqued immediately. The book follows two young brothers escaping from an awful family situation, but the story is really about another boy altogether, one who feels trapped and is earnestly seeking ways out of his situation, intending to become his own man and escape into a life of his choosing. A colourful cast of characters, including the two brothers, are taken under his wing. The city, the story, and the characters of the books are all part of an enchanting tapestry, and for that reason this has always been one of my favourite books.
The Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
I'm going to include the whole series, rather than specific books from within it, because I loved the entire series. Certain books stick out to me more than others, but as a whole I wouldn't cherry pick books to re-read; I'd start from the beginning and read them all at once. Alex Rider is an exception to the litany of teenagers-as-spies stories out in the world in that he absolutely does not want to be a spy. The problem is that he's quite good at the whole spy thing, and has a natural curiosity that dumps him into spy-type situations even when he's not looking for them. I always loved the character of Alex, especially when paired with the assassin Yassen Gregorovich, a recurring character with quite a few important connections to Alex. My favourite book in the series is probably Russian Roulette, the last book. If it isn't my favourite, it's absolutely in the top three. That book in particular is entirely about Yassen, and covers his story. The cast of characters all fit their roles perfectly, and the stories were gripping, creating a realistic world of spy literature meant for a youth audience. It's a series I've read all the way through many times, and plan to do so again many more.
I fully intend to do more of these in the future, so this should be considered an open ended series! I love talking about stories I enjoy.