What Do You Read? Everywhere I have readers, I receive messages asking for book (or fanfic) recommendations. You ask for novels that have been my inspirations, for my current reads, for my favorite series. But most of all, you ask for MOAR stories just like those I write. Which is always Awkward, since I mostly use this penname and its associated accounts to chat about fandom & my anime/manga habit.
(Spoiler: forthy is not a mangaka.)
I do read more than manga. Plenty more. Lots. Current favorite genres (which are totally subject to mood swings) are adventure and mystery. Subgenres would include historical mystery, magical realism, and paranormal mystery or suspense. I love fantasy creatures, shifters, myths, and legends. Sometimes it’s dragons. Sometimes it’s steampunk. Sometimes it’s a fresh spin on an old fairy tale.
I read what I like. I reread what I love. I’ll try anything that strikes my fancy, but I ditch fast when I’m dissatisfied. My needs are simple: make me care. Want to win my fangirly heart? Leave me smiling at the end.
Who Writes Like You? It’s rare to find ALL my favorite things in one book. When I do run across an author whose story grips me, I usually buy up every durn thing they’ve ever written. This may be why my To Read pile is mountainous. But … I’m supposed to be leading up to a (mountainous) book recommendation here.
Oh, hey… nice segue!
You need to meet Tupper. I’ve read (and reread) the Galleries of Stone trilogy, which is set in a world where statues carved from certain kinds of stone can be brought to life. Freydolf is a master sculptor and Keeper of one of the twelve magical mountains. This lonesome exile’s life changes when he hires Tupper Meadowsweet, a boy from one of the valley villages, to sweep and cook.
“That’s the Statuary. Or the way in, anywise,” Freydolf announced. The sweeping arch framing the wide entrance was bordered by intricate carvings, row upon row, each different than the next. “This is called the Apprentice Gate.”
Tupper nodded dutifully, but he didn’t move to follow when the sculptor ambled on. Rooted to the spot, he peered at two enormous animals crouched on either side of the path. Their rusty red pelts stood out against the gray of the surrounding rock, and they were poised to pounce.
Too many things had happened too quickly on this day, and Tupper reached the limits of what bravery he possessed. Without really meaning to, he took a step backwards.
His master noticed, and retraced his steps. “Are you frightened?”
“Of me?” Freydolf asked, a small frown causing a crease between his dark brows.
Tupper avoided that question by pointing to the hounds who threatened him with bared teeth and raised fur. His hand trembled.
“Ah,” his master breathed, looking relieved. “The hounds are the guardians of this gate. They’re statues, Tupper.”
Looking closer, he realized that Freydolf was right. The ferocious dogs were carved from red stone, and they hadn’t moved once since he’d spotted them.
“They’re meant to look fierce, but you’ll get used to them,” the sculptor said in soothing tones. “I’ll need to introduce you sometime, but we’ll save that for another day.”
Tupper offered another mute nod, his gaze still fixed on the terrible dogs. How could something made from stone look so real?
“Are you still afraid?”
Freydolf shifted his weight awkwardly from foot to foot. “It’s safe here. Well, mostly.” Extending his hand, he promised, “I’ll be with you.”
Among Flox, such a gesture was an offer of peace, but this offer looked more like a trap, lined as it was with deadly-looking claws. Tupper didn’t like making decisions, but he faced one now. Very slowly, he reached up to touch the Pred’s open palm.
When Freydolf’s work-roughened hand closed over the boy’s smaller one, it didn’t hurt. Instead, its warmth stopped Tupper’s trembling, and a small squeeze startled him into glancing up. The Pred’s lips quirked. “Are you more afraid of them than you are of me?”
With a shake of his head, Freydolf said, “You’re a small wonder, lambkin.”
• • •
Need more reasons to read? How about the fact that the whole trilogy is illustrated? In fact, CJ recently added full-color spot illustrations to the print editions. Like these:
And rumor has it the story summaries on the back covers of those new print editions are exactly 100 words long. (Who does that?!)
So, yeah. If you’re looking for MOAR stories like mine, I’m quite sure you’ll like these. And if you’re as clever as I suspect you are, you’ll understand why I can offer a limited number of signed copies.
To quote Cyril Sunfletch, “There, now. Have I shocked you?”