In Brooks’s Deathcat Sally, Sally Rancher knocks over a cat named Zachary and is hit by a truck – and that’s when her nightmare starts. Waking from a coma, she find that her attempt to help Zachary left his talking spirit fused to her shoulder. Now that they’re connected, Sally can talk to animals, but it comes at a price. When she sleeps, both Sally and Zachary are pulled into No Man’s Land – a dark, spine-chilling realm filled with vengeful animal spirits – and if Sally can’t act, the spirits might affect not only her, but all life on the planet.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Though I’d seen ‘Battle Royale’ several years previously and had heard of some comparisons, I thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy of books which depicts a dystopian struggle against injustice in a very compelling way. The strong characterisation of Katniss and the inventiveness of the actual games make this a brilliant series. It’s no wonder the books are as successful as what they are and have four movies adapted from them – which I also liked a lot. Though I like all the books, I think Catching Fire is my favourite – probably my favourite of the films too.
Although perhaps early installments could not be considered YA, the series definitely became darker and more complex as it progressed. I love the characterisation of the three main protagonists especially and the imaginative world that J.K. Rowling created. These are stories I can return to several times and they are among my favourite novels. There is so much information and detail within the backstories, creatures and spells that it’s a joy to read them. I’m not sure which book I liked out of all of them – perhaps Goblet of Fire or Deathly Hallows.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I really enjoyed the mystery and suspense of The Maze Runner. I like that you learn about the characters and setting as the story progresses and of how the tension builds at the dreaded unknown beyond the Maze walls. The surprises within the maze and the description of the Grievers were some of my favourite aspects. I’ve yet to read Death Cure, but am very keen on finding out how it all ends. I’ve seen both Maze Runner movies, which were pretty good, though they had differences to the source material.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I’ve read both Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead and liked Ender’s Game in particular. This is another series which I really need to find time to read. Set in the future, the story follows a young boy called Andrew “Ender” Wiggan and his involvement with the military’s conflict with an insectoid alien species. The dynamic between Ender and his siblings is really well done, as is the depiction of zero gravity simulations. I liked the questions of morality in war the book raises and the insight into the behaviour of the other boys at the combat school Ender trains at. I thought this was a thought-provoking book – the recent movie did a fair job at adapting it, but I much preferred the novel.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
I’ve only read Mortal Engines and the sequel Predator’s Gold, but really liked both of them. I think what got me interested was the futuristic, steampunk premise itself: the idea that giant moving cities on tracks roam around the landscape and encounter one another. It’s a wonderful and inventive concept that Philip Reeve brings to life brilliantly. The inclusion of other vehicles such as airships really makes this story a compelling one. I like the characterisation of Hester Shaw in particular and the books have an array of other interesting characters. I really need to start the other novels – hope someone makes a good Mortal Engines movie series someday.