We Hunt The Flame vs the Hype-o-meter // Review

Before we go any further, I have some good news – we’ve officially reached 200 followers on A Bookworm’s Paradise! In honour of this, I want to have a Q & A session (in a separate post of course), so please put any questions you may have about me in the comments and I’ll answer them in the coming weeks.

With that out of the way, we are now down to business! This is the second post in a series, in collaboration with the lovely April @Booked Till Midnight, where we review books in a different way because we set them up against our self created hype-o-meter and determine whether or not a popular book is worth the hype! Click here to know all the deets about this series, and here to read the first showdown. Let’s get started!

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)

Title: We Hunt The Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: E-book

Synopsis:

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

The first thing you’ll notice about We Hunt The Flame is the brilliant worldbuilding. The author has somehow managed to make the atmosphere so lush, so vivid that it felt as if the atmosphere had come alive. The book is set in a rich, ancient Arabia-inspired world and I could picture it all in my head.(swirling sands here, biting snow and ice there – honestly the perfect setting) (Pro of being a language nerd and reading a book with snippets of a foreign language: I now know about 4 words of the Arabic language *applause please*) (Also I have taken quite a liking to Arabic expressions and curse words so do not be surprised if you see a the occasional rimaal, khara, and laa in my posts)(okay I am gonna stop with the parentheses now)

Next, all the elements of this new fantasy world – Arawiya, are introduced. Somehow, even some of the info dump did not seem like an info dump, in fact I wanted to drink it all in and everything from the history (the Sisters and such) to the five caliphates and their respective ‘curses’ intrigued me. Way to go!!

“We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.”

I couldn’t do justice to this review without mentioning the characters. This book had exceptionally well-crafted characters and I fell in love with every single one of them. Our female protagonist, Zafira was shown initially as a balanced, collected personality, but as the story progresses we slowly unravel her outer layers and see the true, intense emotions and memories inside. The same could go for Nasir, our male protagonist. Everybody, look up, because THIS is how you write a perfect morally grey character. GIVE ME ALL THAT INNER ANGST. Kifah is our badass, no-nonsense exiled princess who also happens to be the one to say the iconic “We hunt the flame dialogue”. And Benyamin, our arrogantly wise safi who… *chokes and bites back a sudden sob* who looks down on all mortals but slowly comes to care about our zumra over time.

And now I would like to formally dedicate an entire paragraph to Altair al-Badawi, a certain conundrums-loving general who stole my heart. He was (literally) the sunshine to Nasir’s grumpiness, and their banter was *chef’s kiss*. Altair reminded me a little bit of Jesper, but then again, he was unlike any other character I’ve ever seen before. I mean, that character development?? I went from wanting to kill Altair myself to smirking at his jokes to praying Nasir wouldn’t kill him to being all NOOOO about him in the end (don’t worry he doesn’t die… its something worse *evil laugh*) Not surprisingly, he goes on my list of favourite characters (wait I have a list? Of course I do. No I don’t. Shut up internal dialogue.) Bottom line – this man was amazing in every way.

“I’ll have to introduce you by saying, ‘He’s not always this grumpy. Then again, he’s one of those people who talks less and murders more’.”

It looks like Faizal collected all of my favourite tropes and other elements and wove them into a story. Found family!!! Enemies to lovers!!! Slow burn!!! Knife-to-throat trope!!! Witty dialogue and banter!!! (in other words – a guide to make Rachel fall in love with a book) You know how I am generally criticizing certain books *cough* the young elites *cough* for their lack of dialogue? And how y’all might have thought such a book doesn’t exist? Make way, because here comes the book with outstanding dialogue, just the way I love!

 

Finally, we come to the plot (I really need to learn how to sequence and prioritize). The story follows our zumra (arabic for a group), a bunch of characters who couldn’t be more different from each other, who set out on a journey through a cursed island to retrieve a book that’s supposed to restore magic to their kingdom. Oh, and one of them is an assassin who’s supposed to kill the rest. Pleasant, right? Yes I thought so. 

What happens when we pit this brilliantly executed story with settings and atmosphere inspired from ancient Arabia with a totally cool cast of characters and just the best tropes against the hype-o-meter? Why, it wins of course.

But what did April think about the whole thing? Did she love the book as much as I did? Click here to find out!

Oh and before you go, could you take out a minute and fill this feedback form for my blog? Please and thank you. Here’s the link – https://forms.gle/CYkBpZXUm4hsuJQm8

Have you read We Hunt The Flame? What would you rate it on the hype-o-meter? Which is your favourite fantasy set in Asia? Let me know in the comments!!

Goodbye, zumra!

~ Rachel

Normal! // Fantasies In Which The Main Character Does Not Have Magical Abilities

Let’s play that game where you have to say the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a particular word. Music? Dancing. TV? Netflix. Fantasy? Magic…oh wait.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the series of themed recommendation posts I have been writing on my blog lately! In this series, I choose a random theme, and give you some of the best books I have read based on that theme. You can read my previous posts which were part of this series here, here and here!

Okay, so let’s talk about that little game I played in the beginning. Why is that the human brain associates fantasy with magic? Of course, this association is not unjustified. I believe about 95% of books belonging to the fantasy genre that I have read recently revolve around magic and/or have a main character who has magical powers. But fantasy itself should not be defined as mere magic. In light of this, today Rachel brings you a list of fantasy novels she loved which have a ‘normal’ main character, as in, the main character does not have any magical powers. Click on the cover images to add the books to your Goodreads TBR!

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune || My Review

The House In The Cerulean Sea is going to be at the top of every recommendation post (and other posts too) from now on so you’ll have to get used to it. What can I say about this beautiful book that hasn’t already been said? Go read this heartwarming, hopeful and magical (albeit without the literal magic- at least not in the main character) fantasy if you haven’t already.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I am impressed how the author has created such an immersive dystopian world without it being based on magic. I was quite obsessed with the trilogy when I read it though some things in Allegiant were disappointing *cough* that ending *cough* but do give it a read if you’re looking for an intense and fast paced dystopian fantasy.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman || My Review

Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking but I am not really considering Auri as a main character because she doesn’t have much role to play in this book as in the second one (and anyway what she does is not exactly ‘magic’, right?). But looking at our crew, the six main characters, none of them have magical powers and perhaps that’s one of the reasons Aurora Cycle duology is a huge favourite of mine.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Ah I had read this so long back (read: 1.5 years back), in the school library. I don’t remember much, but I do recollect recommending this to a lot of my friends and being surprised about the lack of magical powers in the characters.

The Great Zoo Of China by Matthew Reily

I just realized I haven’t mentioned this book on my blog ever! I mean, how is that possible? Trust me to forget unforgettable books. Anyway, The Great Zoo Of China is a brilliant book (5 stars from me when I read it a year back!) with lots of action, and even more dragons. Perfect for anyone suffering from Jurassic Park hangover.

Honourable Mentions

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!! Yes, there is magic and all in the Grishaverse, but do notice that of our six crows, four do not have any magical abilities (oh my god I hope nobody got spoiled) hence the mention.

I recently read the entire Heroes Of Olympus series by Rick Riordan and I realized that from the crew of 7 demigods, it is only Annabeth who does not have any magical powers. The HOO series will definitely not make it to this list (too much magic!) but Annabeth does deserve an honorable mention, doesn’t she?


And with that, my friends, we conclude this post as well as the recommendation series! I must admit, recommendation posts are much harder than they look, but I did enjoy writing all the four posts. Hopefully you enjoyed reading them too and found some new books to add to your TBR list.

Did you find this recommendation series helpful? Have you read any of the books I mentioned in this post? Which is your favourite fantasy with a ‘normal’ main character? Chat with me in the comments! Until later!!

Book Review: The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.

Hello guys! Before we move on, I wanted to tell you that we have reached 150 followers!! I’ve probably said this before but I want you all to remember that I’m extremely grateful to all of you and and I feel deeply appreciated whenever any one of you leaves behind a like or a comment on my posts. So a big thank you for that, I love you guys🥰

That brings us to what I am here to do today, which is review The House In The Cerulean Sea. This review is going to be completely spoiler free. (Also, quotes from the book will be all over this post, as you might already have noticed. I think I might have a case of book hangover) Without further ado, let’s get started!

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My Rating : ★★★★★ [5 out of 5 stars]
My Review

I have no idea how to begin, so how about this – I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. Okay, so that was pretty obvious from my rating (when was the last time I gave a book a full 5 stars? hmm, in March I think) but seriously, The House In The Cerulean Sea probably deserves a million stars.

People can present themselves as being one way, and once you’re sure you know them, once you’re sure you’ve found what you’re looking for, they reveal themselves for who they really are.

The beginning was great (so was everything else but we’ll come to that) and the story wasted no time in getting to the point and shipping off Linus (the main character) to the Marsyas orphanage home. So one absolutely cannot complain about a slow beginning here.

Life, Linus Baker knew, came down to what we made from it. It was about the choices, both big and small.

The characters were just perfect. Linus was amazing, right from the beginning and even more so towards the end, and of course I loved each and every one of the children and their quirky personalities. Arthur and Zoe were so well written too. And might I add that Linus’s character development (not that there was anything wrong with him before, but you know) was the best I have EVER seen?

But even if you have bad dreams, you must remember they’re only that: dreams. You will always wake from them. And they will fade, eventually. I’ve found that waking from a bad dream brings a sense of relief unlike anything else in the world.

Among other things, I loved the dry humour which was quite prevalent in the first half of the book. Then of course, there was the found family trope (yes, found family!!) which was executed oh so beautifully, and once again proved my point that found family is the best trope to ever exist and that I’ll never ever get tired of it.

The things we fear the most are often the things we should fear the least. It’s irrational, but it’s what makes us human. And if we are able to conquer these fears, then there is nothing we’re not capable of.

Okay, so I am not even going to go into the regular stuff like the pacing, the writing style etc, because this book is just too good for any of that to be used to judge it. Everything about this book was so adorable and sweet and wholesome and just…beautiful🥺 and it definitely felt like a warm hug that goes right down to your soul. While reading this, I spent half of my time trying to swallow the lump in my throat, the other half smiling through my tears. The children, my precious lovelies, made me cry so many times with their sweet words to Linus. The story tugged at my heartstrings and gave me all the feels.

The world likes to see things in black and white, in moral and immoral. But there is gray in between. And just because a person is capable of wickedness, doesn’t mean they will act upon it.

So basically the whole point of my review is to say this – The House In The Cerulean Sea is a masterpiece. It made me feel all warm and fluffy and happy from the inside, something that no book has made me feel on such a large scale ever before. I have got no more words to describe how exquisite this entire story was.

“Smile and maybe tomorrow,” Arthur whispered in his ear. “You’ll see the sun come shining through for you.”

Found family? Check. Slow burn? Check. The best-est book ever? Check.

Sometimes, he thought to himself in a house in a cerulean sea, you were able to choose the life you wanted. And if you were of the lucky sort, sometimes that life chose you back.

Hidden Gems! // Under-hyped Books Which Deserve More Love

Hiya everyone! Today I bring you the third post in the series of themed recommendations that I have been doing on my blog since last week (read the first post here and the second one here in case you missed them!) Today’s theme is underrated or underhyped books which are favourites of mine.

I constantly keep bugging all of you to read Six Of Crows (in a very non-threatening way, of course😉) but I have realized of late that I don’t need to. 8 out of every 10 people I find on Goodreads have read (and loved, mostly) this duology. Similar is the case with so many books – Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles(I haven’t read this yet eek!), Hunger Games and countless more that we hear spoken about everyday in the bookish community. But what about all those books which are in no way lesser than these hot shots, but due to some reason are hardly ever mentioned in this blogosphere, or in the bookish community in general? There are so many hidden gems out there which definitely deserve much more hype than they get. So today I am going to be recommending you some amazing books which are unfortunately on the lowest rung of the ladder of “status in the bookish society”. Click on the cover images to add the books to your Goodreads TBR!

Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Of course this HAD to be on the top of this list! Nevermoor was one of my favourite reads in 2020, and it breaks my heart to see how so few really talk about it. All the characters were just *chef’s kiss* and it was endearing to see a child rejected by all (including her own father and step mother) because she was supposedly cursed and then later finding her place in Nevermoor. And Jupiter might just be the best fictional character ever written.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Why haven’t more people discovered this amazing book yet? It might be the only book written in first person POV that I have enjoyed so far. The main character, Herbie, was so simple yet so complicated, oblivious yet witty. You can read my full review of Malamander here.

The Wave by Morton Rhue

The Wave is a contemporary historical fiction based on a true event. It is a quick read, but it is truly thought-provoking and a must-read if you’re interested in history (like me!) blended with some high school drama.

The Flame Of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn

This was kinda like Percy Jackson set in a more contemporary world! There were redemptions, new friendships and so much more in this middle grade novel based on Roman mythology.

The Miracle On Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle

This is under-hyped on an epic level – only about 300 ratings on Goodreads! It was one of those warm (uhh metaphorically of course, its set during Christmas lol) and fluffy books you’d want to hug (does that sound weird 🙃) and will definitely cheer you up.

The Finisher by David Baldacci

I realize that this is probably the first time I am speaking about this book on my blog, but it use to be quite a favourite of mine when I bought and read the entire series. The Finisher is the first book in the four-book Vega Jane series, a dystopian fantasy that fans of Divergent and alike would probably enjoy.

And we are done for today! Hopefully your TBR got a little bigger!

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite underrated/underhyped book? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I am sorry if I am being a little boring nowadays, school’s really got to me and I think I may have began experiencing blogging burn-out. Hopefully I’ll be back to writing my normal *fun* posts soon!

Wet Worlds! // Books set in or by the sea

Hey guys! Water you up to? Did you sea what I did there? I am shore you did. (Okay stop groaning, I am just beginning to realize that puns are overrated.)

So I have decided to do a series of themed book recommendations because my brain can’t really think of anything else to post (take a hint and give me some suggestions!). This post is the second in this series (click here to read the first one). Personally, I do enjoy writing such posts and surfing (ooh no pun intended this time, I promise😂) through my Goodreads shelves trying to find more books which fit the theme.

As you already know from the title (and from my not-so-subtle intro lines), today I am going to be recommending you books set in or by the sea. What usually makes such books stand out is there extremely sea-vibey writing (who likes imagining sand between their toes and inhaling fresh salty sea air while reading books set by the sea? *raises a hand, and then the other as well for good measure*) Without further ado, let’s see what recs I have in store for you!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Set on an island isolated except for 10 strangers, this remains till date, one of my favourite murder mysteries (and can I also mention that this was my first one?) My best start into a genre if there ever was one.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Malamander was such a lovely middle grade! The entire story takes place in a town called Eerie-On-Sea (naturally, it is situated by the sea) and the sea itself does play an important role in the book (Malamander is the name of a giant sea creature after all). The atmosphere was beautifully created – the sound of waves, the smell of salty sea air, the eerie noises that give the town its name, all seemed pretty much real in my head.

The Haunting Of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

A spooky middle grade set in a small coastal town, this story had very atmospheric vibes. It can easily be read in a single sitting, so get out your blankets, snuggle in your couch during a rainy day and give this book a read!

Frostheart by Jamie Littler

Frostheart is a cute middle grade about a little boy trying to find his missing parents. He is often shunned by most people because of this power he has, but he gets taken in by the crew of a ship called Frostheart and finds friendships and betrayals on his journey. I haven’t read the sequel yet, but I hope to read it soon!

The Storm Keeper’s Island

A magical story set in an Irish island, this book is about the power (literally!) of nature and definitely worth a read.

The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton

You haven’t had a childhood if you haven’t read any Enid Blyton! Anyway, this particular series of hers called the Adventure series deals with ship voyages and other sea-stuff.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of this post (I realize its much shorter than usual but…). Hopefully you got some great recommendations and your TBR just got a little bit bigger. See you in my next post!

𝓡𝓪𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓵

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Bookworms in Books! // Characters Who Like To Read

As a bookworm myself, I love fictional characters who like reading. It makes it really easy for me to relate to them, to understand and sympathize with their obsession of books, to say “Finally! Someone understands…” when said characters cite the reasons why they love books. So I decided to make a list of the fictional characters who like to read, as I personally would have found this kind of post really helpful.

Since I can’t really recommend you books without any basis, I would be writing a couple of lines about why you should read that particular book. All the books in the following list are ones that I have read and loved, and if any catch your eye, click on the cover image to be taken to the Goodreads page and add the book to your TBR. With all that being said, let’s see who the first character on our list is!

Emily in Book Scavenger

A middle grade mystery/contemporary about a worldwide game where people hide and hunt for books!

This was a book about books, so naturally our main character Emily is an avid reader (and also great at solving puzzles and ciphers!)

Liesel in The Book Thief

Liesel was the first character which came to mind when I thought about fictional bookworms. A historical fiction set during World War II, The Book Thief remains to this day one of my favourite standalone novels.

Will Herondale in The Infernal Devices

Do I even need to say anything about the perfect fictional character (other than Jem, of course) that ever existed? And he likes reading. Did I mention he is perfect?

Set in nineteenth century London, the Infernal Devices series is probably my favourite Cassandra Clare books.

Matilda in Matilda

Ahh yes, my old childhood favourite. And you have to take one look at that cover to know what this book’s about (uh no. This book is about a lot of other things as well) If you’re looking for a quick but sweet read, this one’s for you.

Ollie in Small Spaces

I finished listening to Small Spaces last week, and it was so good (it was not as scary as I had expected, but it still gave me the chills) So the main character, Ollie, basically started reading avidly since her mom passed away last year. It kinda became her way of dealing with grief.

Sefia in The Reader

In an illiterate society where books supposedly don’t exist, Sefia is taught how to read without actually knowing it. And knowledge in their world is a dangerous thing. A young adult fantasy you should all give a try!

Honourable Mention

Aveline in The Haunting of Aveline Jones

I read this when I began tiptoeing into the middle grade horror genre. This is in the hon. mention category because the main character, Aveline just likes to read horror. So anyway, this book was quite an adventure with a touch of spooky.


We have reached the end of this list! I hope you found this helpful and got some great recommendations for your tbr. I would love to expand this list, so do let me know what other characters can fit in here by commenting on my post!

𝓡𝓪𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓵

Book Review: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Hello everyone, today I am going to be reviewing Malamander, a middle grade book I finished reading (or rather, listening to) just yesterday. This review will be completely spoiler-free, and you can click on the cover image below to go to Goodreads and add this wonderful (though very under-hyped) book to your TBR!

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Synopsis

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger…

My Rating [ ] (4.5 out of 5 stars)
My Review

This was my second audiobook, and my, what an experience! The audiobook was narrated by Will M. Watt, and I absolutely LOVED the narration! It really added to the story. The drama and the constant urgency with which the story was narrated was really cool. I doubt I’d have liked this book as much as I did, if I’d read the e-book or a physical copy. So if you’re looking to read Malamander, I would HIGHLY recommend you listening to it. Trust me, you’ll enjoy that rollercoaster.

The major reason why Malamander got such a good rating from me is because of Herbie, the main character. Herbie was quirky, funny and witty – this made him instantly likeable. I am not saying a main character should always be perfect, but hear this – Malamander is written in first person POV, which means, we get to know the story, the characters, the world, entirely through Herbie’s eyes. I have always believed that it is immensely important to develop a liking to the main character if you’re going to be stuck in his or head for the duration of an entire story. 4 stars out of the 4.5 I gave this book belong to you, Herbie!

If you’re anything like me (by which I mean, a scaredy cat who goes out of their way to avoid reading horror books) and got kinda misled by the synopsis, let me tell you – you have nothing to worry about! Whatever you might assume after reading the synopsis, the tone for most part was Malamander was quite light hearted, and there is hardly any horror element.

I liked the feeling of the entire town Eerie-On-Sea being a friendly (well, mostly!) community where the locals knew and treated each other like family. I also found the idea of Herbie being ‘adopted’ and accepted by the entire town positively endearing. The side characters in the book were quite well-written too.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Malamander to readers of all ages, though I suppose children especially will find this book particularly appealing.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read (or listened to) Malamander? Do you have it on your TBR? If not, did I manage to convince you to read it? Let me know in the comments!

Discussion Post: Role of Parents in MG and YA fantasy (Part 2) + 8 book recommendations with active parent roles!

Hello guys, how are you all today?

You can find part 1 of this discussion HERE . I would suggest that you first read the first part if you haven’t and then come back here. But if you don’t want to, that’s absolutely fine, you can continue reading this post. (also, if you’re on WP reader, please continue reading this post here to enjoy better formatting)

In the first part, we talked about how a lot of MG and YA novels ignore parents, and often have the absent and/or dead parent tropes. I also shared the results of a survey I conducted, which revealed that most readers do not prefer such novels, instead they would rather have books where the parents do have a role to play in the story.

I personally agree with the majority. It is really important for MG and YA books to portray parent-child relationships, not only because most young readers will find the experiences relatable, but also because it is crucial for children (as well as adults) to understand the benefits of a healthy parent-child relationship and to learn to steer clear of unhealthy ones. If I have to make a list on the advantages of showing parental relationships in books, here’s how it would look like –

  • As already mentioned, most readers will find the experiences of the protagonists quite relatable, and this will add to their enjoyment of the book.
  • It gives the reader a chance to reflect upon his/her own relationship with their parents/children and judge whether it is healthy or not.
  • The reader (especially if young) gets exposure to the different relationships parents and children share.
  • It adds a little realistic element to the story, therefore getting the readers invested into the story and help them in empathizing with the characters all the more.

Parents definitely should have some role in the books, and this does not mean only biological parents. Adopted parents add to the story even more, don’t you think? The Book Thief and Keeper of The Lost Cities are good examples, I’ll be talking about them in the later part of this post.

There are books like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, where there is some ambiguity regarding the identities of the protagonists’ parents. Something along the lines of I-never-knew-my-father trope, if you know what I mean? I wouldn’t really consider books like these to be the ones with active parents, but whenever the identity of the biological parent is revealed, there is a certain element of surprise which adds some enjoyment.

The Aurora Cycle, The Mortal Instruments and The Keeper of Lost Cities all have something in common – villainous parents. Of course, parents are wholly included in these books, but on the opposite side of the protagonist. Usually protagonists of such books have this internal struggle – whether to side with their parent(s) or their friends.

Many books revolve around the main character trying to find his missing parents, like Ash in Frostheart by Jamie Littler, or trying to get vengeance for their dead parents, like Nova in Renegades by Marissa Meyer.

Then there are books like Six Of Crows duology, which I think cannot be included in any of these categories (absent parents, dead parents or active parents). Colm Fahey, Jesper’s father, definitely made a great addition to the book, and I was really happy when Inej got to meet her long lost parents. Wylan’s father was one of the main villains in the first book in the duology. But the other three main character’s parents are absent or dead, and I don’t think I would have liked having them in the story anyway, for the reason that Six Of Crows was one of those YA novels where the characters are in the higher age bracket (17-18 years old).


There are a lot (though not as many as I would have liked) of books out there which show the ups and downs of parent-child relationships and impart valuable lessons along the way. I will now be talking about 8 such books that I have read and loved. You can click on the cover images to know more about the book on Goodreads and add it to your TBR!

The Miracle On Ebenezer Street: This book was so adorable! The entire plot revolves around George trying to get his father to enjoy Christmas (and life in general) like he did earlier, before George’s mother died. I went “Awww” so many times while reading this. This perfect Christmassy read will definitely cheer you up whenever you’re feeling low.


The Six Bad Boys by Enid Blyton: I must have read this book a gazillion times now, (my first time reading it was 4-5 years back and my most recent reread was a week ago), and it never fails to make me all teary-eyed. I think this is one of the best books there is for showing the different types of parent-child relationships there can be. I think the major lesson here is that it is too easy for children to be led astray if their parents neglect them and make them feel unwanted. And what impacted me even more was how young the protagonists were – Tom was twelve-ish and Bob was even younger. A must-read for all coming-of-age (and everyone else, of course!) readers. (And its quite short so it can be read in a single sitting. Seriously, read it and you’ll thank me later!)


The Flame Of Olympus: Apart from its wonderful take on Roman mythology, the major thing I loved about this was that the mc’s father accompanied her on her quest to save Olympus and the human world from falling! Do you realize how rare that is in MG fantasy? Usually, in a book like this, the protagonist would have lied to their parents and snuck off, but this was a pleasant surprise!


Keeper Of The Lost Cities series: The main character, Sophie, finds out that her ‘human’ parents whom she has always known and loved are not her biological parents since she is an elf. Since nobody knows who her real parents are, she is sent to live with an elvin couple, who in turn, are battling their own grief of losing their only daughter to an accident. I loved seeing their relationship slowly build from hesitant to loving. This does not happen entirely in the first book, but gradually throughout the series, making it even more impactful.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Ah one of my favourite standalone novels of all time! So the main character is adopted, and her relationship with her foster father is so sweet! Though this relationship is a little sidelined throughout the novel, but that’s understandable because the story focuses on other much larger things. This book has gained a lot of popularity, so I am sure a lot of you have read this already, but if you haven’t, click on the cover image right now and add it to your TBR!


Matilda: You all recognize this one, don’t you? It was one of my childhood favourites, and so so good. Basically the main character is a sweet, incredibly intelligent girl who has got terrible parents who don’t care about her at all and provide an unsuitable environment at home for a little girl like their daughter. The ending (a happily ever after, I assure you) will definitely make you cry happy tears!


Misfit by Jo Zaida: I love how Elle (the main character) and her parents’ relationship grew through the course of the story, and the ending was just…*chef’s kiss*

This is releasing on 24th May 2021, so do add it to your TBR!


Buddy by Nigel Hinton: It’s been quite a while since I read this, but I do remember liking it a lot. The relationship between Buddy and his dad is the prominent theme in the book, so I would definitely recommend!


These were my opinions on the different fictional parents in MG and YA books. But why should this discussion stop here? This is why I am now adding a new feature to my discussion posts – I will be tagging some fellow bloggers to continue this discussion on their own blogs! April @Booked Till Midnight, Ashmita @the fictional journal and Pilar @The bookworm shelf, I would love to read your thoughts on this! You can twist and stretch this topic any way you want. No obligations of course, but if you do decide to do this, ping me back so I can read your posts!

Let’s Chat!

What are your thoughts on the inclusion of parents in MG and YA books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you find any of my recommendations helpful? I’d love to discuss with you in the comments section!

Find your next favourite novel!

Hey everyone! I have seen many quizzes like this across the Internet, so I decided to make my own quiz, which will hopefully help you to discover some great reads according to your interests. This quiz comprises of five questions with five options each, and based on your selections there are some recommendations for you below. The recommendations might not be 100% accurate, but do give them a try. You might want to keep a pen and piece of paper with you…in case you think you will not be able to remember your selections, you can simply note down your answers. Without further ado, here are the questions!

  1. Which genre (or sub-genre) do you like the most?

a) YA Fantasy

b) Sci-Fi

c) Historical Fiction

d) MG Fantasy

e) Crime

2. Which setting appeals to you the most?

a) A criminal underbelly in a city

b) Space

c) A war setting

d) A fictional fairy-tale world below us

e) A guesthouse in an isolated island

3. What do you want the main character to be?

a) A teenage criminal mastermind

b) A golden boy who has a bad luck

c) A girl who despite everything, nourishes her love of reading

d) A girl who discovers she is not quite human

e) Ten strangers

4. What do you usually daydream about?

a) Pulling off a big heist

b) Exploring space

c) About the lives of people involved in wars

d) Acquiring magical powers

e) Solving mysteries and murders

5. Which of these elements/tropes do you like to see in a book?

a) Morally grey main characters

b) Crew of misfits

c) Heart-touching kindness amidst war

d) Strong friendships

e) Whodunit/Murderer-in-the-room


And you have finished the quiz! Now according to your selections, please go through the below recommendations. I have put in the goodreads link to the books as well, all you need to do is click on the cover image, and then you can add it to your goodreads.

If you selected mostly A’s, I recommend

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

[Read my review here]

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

If you selected mostly B’s, I recommend

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

[Read my review here]

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

If you selected mostly C’s, I recommend

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

If you selected mostly D’s, I recommend

Keeper Of The Lost Cities series

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

If you selected mostly E’s, I recommend

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie [Read my review here]

First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:

“Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.”

When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.
 


All these were five-star reads for me, so naturally I would recommend them all, though you have better chances of finding a favourite if you take the quiz. If you have read any of these, let me know in the comments, and I will probably recommend you another similar book. Hope you enjoyed the quiz!

Which book did you get? Does it interest you, and do you think you will be picking it up any time soon? Let me know in the comments!