Saturday, 9 July 2011

Fortnight of Guests: Parajunkee's View (Paranormal Creature "Best Of")

Rachel, also known as parajunkee, is the blogger behind the paranormal book blog, does not specialize in young adult books, but they make up a large portion of the reviews. Rachel is also a social media marketing specialist and web designer when she isn’t blogging. Most of the time you can find Rachel on twitter @parajunkee.

In the wide world of Paranormal Young Adult novels the creature of choice is usually what makes or breaks a particular book or series.  Like anything else, readers are a fickle bunch and an inundation with a particular type of creature can have them shying away from novels just because they are touting a pixie or a vampire as their paranormal of choice. Especially if they’ve just read three mediocre pixie or vampire books.
This is why I think this list of the best of the best of a particular creature will help you immerse yourself in that genus without being bogged down with the “not-so-good” selections in the genre.  These of course are my opinion and I urge you to chime in if you disagree or think another series would trump my selections. I haven’t read every series out there – and tomorrow I might have a new series selected as my favorite. But, for right now this is what I consider the best of the best in Young Adult Paranormal Series.

Let’s start with the illustrious vampire. Because this particular creature is usually in an author’s repertoire when penning a paranormal, the vast amount of vampire novels and series out there can be daunting for a reader, especially when vampire after vampire starts to blend together. These favorite vampire series put all others to shame. One of my favorite Young Adult series that sports a vampire as one of it’s main characters is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. The main character is Rose, who is a dhampir, a child born of a vampire and a human and her sole job is the protection of a traditional vampire, who is also her best friend. The story line is comprised of six books that can only be described of as an emotional roller coaster. If you are looking for some good vamp fiction, this series is a must read. Along with the Vampire Academy series I would also recommend trying, if you haven’t already, the Twilight series and the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. Each series shows off the vampire in a different way, just as each one brings certain qualities to the table that makes them great.
Now for the ying to the vamps yang. The werewolf. There have been some really good shifter books in the paranormal genre as of late and I’m excited that I’ve had the opportunity to read them. On the top of that list would be Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series. Her series is not just limited to werewolves though, but one of the main characters is a werewolf. My favorite series though would have to be Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. If you haven’t had the chance to partake in Stiefvater’s unique prose you are definitely missing out. Her wolves are so very unique they are almost in a category of their own. Her books are centered on a group of wolves that turn to wolves in the cold and stay human when the weather is warm. One girl sees the human in the eyes of a wolf that saves her life and from then on she is obsessed with the wolves of Mercy Falls. What she doesn’t know is the wolf, who is the boy Sam is just as fascinated with her…and when they find each other he knows he’ll do anything to stay human. And finally a series I’ve just recently been introduced to, with only the first in the series released, Andrea Cremer’s Wolfsbane, is highly original and refreshing in it’s take on the typical werewolf legend.
Now on to the fairer of the paranormal creatures: the fairies.  It is hard to choose a favorite in this category because there are so many good series that cover the fae. Yet, I do have to say a few stand out like beacons in my mind. Once again Maggie Stiefvater charms us with her take on the fae in her two, lesser-known books, Ballad and Lament. Then a powerhouse in the fae genre, Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series stands out above all. Her series is so very compelling and unique that I just can’t get enough and find myself desperately waiting for each new book in the series. Her books cover the story of Megan Chase a half fae that discovers her unique lineage when her brother is stolen from her home and taken into Fairie. To save his life, Megan embarks on an adventure that will forever change her life.  Along the way she will fall in love and discover things about herself that will compromise everything she holds dear.  This is a series that you will not be able to put down! Then for a darker and more urban look at the fae, Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series tops the charts because of its gritty and industrialized feel.
Not feeling up to the top three paranormal creatures, looking for something different? There are tons of other options as far as paranormal creatures go and I could probably go on forever, so I’ll try to only list a few. Give Sophie Jordan’s Firelight a try if you are interested in dragons. Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly is a phenomenal series and its main character is an angel. The Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White is a good “everything but the kitchen sink” type of paranormal novel.  Then for super-powers I recommend Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram as a lighter side of paranormal reading.  And for witches or magic I would hands down go with the Harry Potter series – but who hasn’t read that one? So if you are looking for something a little different, maybe give the Curse Worker series by Holly Black a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Zombies? Enclave by Ann Aguirre or The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. My list could really go on forever…but I’m going to cut it off right here. I hope my list introduced you to a few new books that you’ll try out.  Have I missed your favorite series or paranormal creature? Are you surprised by any of my choices? Let me know, I’m always looking for a good “new-to-me” paranormal young adult book.

- Rachel (Parajunkee)

Well, personally, I wouldn't mind if you went on forever and ever!  Thanks for all these amazing paranormal books to add to my TBR list!  I especially want to give Being Jamie Baker a try!  :)

1 comment:

Alison Can Read said...

I think what sets Vampire Academy apart from the other vampire books is its richness. The world is so well described and you get so invested in the characters. I love the idea of Dhampirs and Moroi v. Strigoi.