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AlexisV

Obscure good books

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I've read a lot of odd, obscure books that it seems never really got a lot of attention, but were very good nonetheless.

 

The House with a Clock in it's Walls (Lewis Barnavelt) - After the death of his parents, a boy named lewis is taken in by his uncle - who happens to be a wizard living in a mansion filled with secrets.

 

This a simple and beautifully warm read, even though it's labeled as children's gothic horror. This book strikes an interesting balance between being both decently frightening and probably the coziest story I've ever read.

 

Remnants (K.A. Applegate) - Starts with a rogue asteriod on a collision course with earth, and the series follows a group of young adults who are sent into deep space on board a jury-rigged space shuttle as a last-minute escape plan for humanity.

 

This series is science fiction at it's weirdest and most creative. It's fast paced and often pretty frightening. The author does an excellent job of capturing the emotional and psychological reactions of the various people put into these settings as well, a lot like the Hunger Games trilogy does for Katniss.

 

The Seventh Tower (Garth Nix) - The world lies in perpetual darkness, seperated from the sun by a permanent cloud layer. The Seven Towers house the Chosen, people whose primary tools are light and shadow. Light, in the form of sunstones that have collected sunlight from the tops of the seven towers. Shadow, in the form of shadowguards, sentient shadow-animals bound to a specific person in place of a normal shadow.

 

This series simply oozes creativity. The world is well-developed and very unique, and best of all each book explores somewhere new and fascinating. It's a fantasy series mixed with something resembling norse lore and steampunk.

 

The Golden Band of Eddris (Ellen Kindt McKenzie) - Brother and sister Elylden and Keld are sent away to a neighboring village by thier mother. (an immortal dweller of the realms of the Nedoman living as a mortal.) But they discover that the outside world is not as they expected.

 

This is an interesting read. It's rather like walking through an elaborate garden maze in thick mist. Very little of the world is ever directly explained by the narrator, you have to piece it together from unelaborated descriptions of what the main characters see, hear, and experience. Not a large or epic story (although there's a sense it could be one, in the hands of a different author), but a good read.

Edited by AlexisV

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Oooooh, may I reccommend Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress?

 

It's the kind of children's book with surprisingly deep themes for something with a 10-year-old girl as a protagonist. Alex is the kind of student who genuinely enjoys learning for learning's sake - which is unfortunate since she goes to Wigpowder-Steele, an expensive private school where practically every other student paid their way in and the teachers don't know anything that's happened in the last thirty years. But then a new teacher, Mr. Underwood, transfers in and actually brings fresh new ideas (and fencing lessons) with him. So she has high hopes that maybe this year will actually be interesting.

 

And then he gets kidnapped by pirates.

 

What follows is an epic adventure starring a variety of absolutely ridiculous characters, including Captain Magnanimous, Coriander the Conjurer, the Extremely Ginormous Octopus, and the wicked Daughters of the Founding Fathers’ Preservation Society. And it's absolutely beautiful and doesn't treat kids as ignorant and needing protection from real life and Alex teaches the world just as many lessons as it does her. Seriously I ransacked the library when I was thirteen-fourteen and read everything there worth reading and this book remains my favourite to this day. I really don't understand why it isn't more popular. READ IT YOU GUYS

 

It has a sequel too, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, in which Timothy is a boy who has managed to get himself expelled from every school in the city and then somehow gets himself tangled up in a quest to rescue a dragon from a fleet of Chinese junks. It's not as spectacular as the first, but the writing style remains beautifully whimsical yet serious and I'm really impressed with the accuracy of Kress's research. (NO MORE RANDOM "GONG HAY FAT CHOY"S THANK YOU DEAR HEAVENS.)

Edited by Fractional Pi Day

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The Seventh Tower (Garth Nix) - The world lies in perpetual darkness, seperated from the sun by a permanent cloud layer. The Seven Towers house the Chosen, people whose primary tools are light and shadow. Light, in the form of sunstones that have collected sunlight from the tops of the seven towers. Shadow, in the form of shadowguards, sentient shadow-animals bound to a specific person in place of a normal shadow.

 

This series simply oozes creativity. The world is well-developed and very unique, and best of all each book explores somewhere new

I enjoyed that series. smile.gif

 

Perhaps the most obscure books I've read and loved are:

 

Chanur Saga (CJ Cherryh) - Adult science fiction, based in Compact space, where the "Compact" is an agreement between six (maybe seven?) different species... The main character is a hani who captains her ship, and accidentally gets involved in the arrival of a new species (a human escaped from a kif ship). It's an amazing series, one I have read again and again simply because of how wonderful the writing is. Cherryh has other amazing series as well, but Chanur is by far my favorite.

 

The Voyage of the Arctic Tern (Hugh Montgomery - This book is odd because it is written in the form of a poem...but it is a poem that tells a gripping, chilling tale about a pirate, a ghost, and a ship. It's beautiful, so beautiful that I once tried to memorize the entire book (400+ stanzas...needless to say I did not manage the feat). I still remember the prologue by heart.... In England lies the naval town of Plymouth, The home of submarines and ships of war, Of frigates, battleships and pleasure cruisers, Of ferries, cargo boats and many more. In summer tourists throng along the seafront, Or splash along the beach at Bovisand, Or climb the Mayflower steps where Pilgrim fathers, Sailed to colonize a distant land. But when you visit, try to look around you, Beyond the souvenirs and pleasure trips, Imagine what this place might once have looked like, When Pymouth Sound was full of wooden ships. The ancient port would be full of dangers, Vagabonds, smugglers - pirates too, And simply walking out alone one evening, Could find you coming 'round as press-ganged crew...... There are another two verses beyond that, but that gives you an idea of the writing. It's simply gorgeous, and there are beautiful illustrations surrounding the verse on every page.

Edited by MoonShark

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I love some of the all favorites that many of you may never have read.

 

LLoyd C. Douglass wrote some remarkable books

1. The Robe

2. Magnificent Obsession

3. The Big Fisherman.

 

Anyone read any of the turn of the 19th to 20th century Father Francis J. Finn, SJ, boys stories such as Tom Playfair, Percy Wynn, and Harry Dee?

 

What is actually obscure?

 

No one seems to read Heinlein's novels. I loved many of them. Stranger in a Strange Land, Number of the Bear, Time Enough for Yesterday. Asimov's mysteries, also the Foundation books. I kept wanting to consult my copy (which I don't have as it was unwritten) of the Galactic Encyclopedia.

 

Leslie Ford's mysteries and Margaret C. Yates WWII mysteries. All of which are amazingly good reads.

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No one seems to read Heinlein's novels. I loved many of them. Stranger in a Strange Land, Number of the Bear, Time Enough for Yesterday. Asimov's mysteries, also the Foundation books. I kept wanting to consult my copy (which I don't have as it was unwritten) of the Galactic Encyclopedia.

Heinlein I could never get into....

 

Asimov, on the other hand, is one of my favorite authors, and I've read the Foundation series AND his mysteries. Unfortunately, not many people I run into have even heard of his Robot series. sad.gif

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The Naked Sun, Caves of Steele and Robots of Dawn. R. Daneel Olivaw and Elijah were fantastic partners. I was so sad when I ran out of stories and Asimov died.

 

I loved Heinlein though. He was my introduction to science fiction. Although I was captured by Asimov's astute wording for the definition of true science fiction. It is so precise. By it most science fiction isn't science fiction but fantasy.

 

Have you ever read "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the TickTockMan"? It is a great short story by I believe Harlan Ellison.

 

Allen Steele's Coyote books?

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Luthiel's Song by Robert Fanney is a beautiful story, and I'm waiting eagerly for the third book to come out. It's your typical sci-fi story with elves, wizards, and werewolves but also introduces creatures known as the Vryl. These Vryl require blood, so elves are summoned one at a time to feed the Vryl (and die as a result). Luthiel's foster sister is chosen, leaving Luthiel in quite a predicament.

 

It's quite a good series, but the author is admittedly slow with the books. He said the first book took him ten years to write, and another three or four for the second. Despite this, the story is beautifully written. If you can get your hands on a copy, I would definitely suggest it.

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Don't know how well-known it is, but The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Also, Beguilers by Kate Thompson.

 

Can't think of more at the moment, but will probably remember later.

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The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima is a brilliant high fantasy series (somebody nicked the first book from our library! 0-0).

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'The Alchemyst,' by Michael Scott

 

plot summary (sorry of it's rather 'elongated')

 

Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Edited by teslakana

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The Watergivers by Glenda Larke. The trilogy is quite interesting with water being centered around them, which I haven't seen before.

 

Any other trilogies/series like that?

Edited by WhisperingWillows

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Don't know how well-known it is, but The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Also, Beguilers by Kate Thompson.

 

Can't think of more at the moment, but will probably remember later.

Yes!!! I second The Phantom Tollbooth suggestion!!! I reread that book regularly, sooo good....

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PC Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch.

 

Peter Grant is a young constable of the Metropolitan Police in London, about to end up Case Progression Unit as an office clerk. Just one last operation just before transferring before he parts ways with his best friend Lesley May who is getting essigned to the Murder team.

 

That's when he sees a ghost. Instead of freaking out or telling himself he's just seeing things, he takes a witness statement from the ghost. That attracts the attention of DCI Nightingale, the last remaining wizard in England, head of the Folly, a department of the Met that deals with all the weird stuff and consists solely of Nightingale himself.

So Nightingale requests that Peter be assigned to the Folly instead and starts teaching him Newtonian magic. That is, magic that was mostly known for being practised and extentively studied by Isaac Newton.

 

And that's just the beginning.

 

Notable scenes from the series consisting of five books and some short stories include: the personal raincloud scene, exploding apples, Peter bribing the river Thames with a truck full of booze, Nighingale almost showing emotions for several times, Fairyland, collapsing buildings and Peter winning a wizard duel by tasering his opponent.

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I love The House With a Clock in it's Walls so much. The first time I read it was when I was 11 years old, at around 2 o'clock in the morning. Something woke me up, and I couldn't get back to sleep, and my grandmother had recently brought me a bunch of books, because I love to read. I grabbed one, which ended up being THWACIIW. (what an abbreviation!) At first I was spooked, because I was reading in the dark house at 2 in the morning, I was 11, and the book did seem dark at first. However, I soon warmed up to the characters and the atmosphere. I haven't read the book in a while, but I've been meaning to reread it, as it was one of my favorites.

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Brian Lumley's the Necroscope series. Refers to the characters as Wamphyr instead of vampires. One of the best series on them I have ever read with a unique view.

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She's slowly becoming a little less obscure, but Ama Ata Aidoo is an absolutely wonderful author. My favorite books of hers - that are very much not well known enough - are Our Sister Killjoy and No Sweetness Here.

Edited by m_overdone

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Fittingly for a forum about dragons and magic...

 

The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Bertin. It's about people who have their souls bonded to a dragon soul and can turn into dragons, thus making them immortal.

 

People can turn into dragons.

 

Just think about it. wink.gif

 

It also has a sequel, Dragon and Phoenix, and has references to all kinds of mythologies from around the world. Dragon and Phoenix especially seems to draw a lot from Chinese myths with a few touches from other Asian cultures. There's a third one as well,Bard's Oath revolving around music and horses haha.

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not too sure if it's really obscure, but aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe is my all-time favourite book ever. everything about it was perfect, from the careful handling of ari's family crisis to dante's sexuality.

it was just so nice, featuring mexican main characters + cute boys who need to be happy.

 

i cried so much at the ending; it wasn't even sad, it was just so fitting.

 

 

another good book was wildthorn. it was definitely darker than aristotle and dante, and the author was unafraid to explore victorian mental facilities and how horrifically women and sexuality were viewed in such an era.

i'm glad it ended happily, but the entire book was gut-wrenching. louisa and eliza are perfect, and i cry a lot thinking abt them oh no

Edited by Lady_Lunevis

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I've read a lot of odd, obscure books that it seems never really got a lot of attention, but were very good nonetheless.

 

The House with a Clock in it's Walls (Lewis Barnavelt) - After the death of his parents, a boy named lewis is taken in by his uncle - who happens to be a wizard living in a mansion filled with secrets.

 

 

 

The Seventh Tower (Garth Nix) - The world lies in perpetual darkness, seperated from the sun by a permanent cloud layer. The Seven Towers house the Chosen, people whose primary tools are light and shadow. Light, in the form of sunstones that have collected sunlight from the tops of the seven towers. Shadow, in the form of shadowguards, sentient shadow-animals bound to a specific person in place of a normal shadow.

 

 

Both good series, Keys to the Kingdom is another good series by Garth nix. They account for the seven days in the week and the seven deadly sins.

 

 

By the way, the house with a clock in it's walls isn't written by John Bellairs also there's others I've read that he wrote:

 

1)The Figure in the Shadows.

2) The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring ( both has the same main character Lewis Barnavelt)

 

3)The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt (Johnny Dixon as main character)

 

My absolute favorite and lesser known books are by a Canadian writer, Kelly Armstrong. She writes Women of the Otherworld, the series name for adult books on supernatural people hiding in plain sight. She has a diverse range of supernatural people and it's clear she had done extensive research on each one.

 

For teenagers (This is my favorite, read them like fifty times) Is the Darkest powers trilogy.

Book 1: The summoning.

Book 2: The awakening

Book 3: The reckoning

 

Chloe Saunders is a 15 year old girl that discovers she had a secret she never knew she had, she sees and speaks with the dead. The three books are events that happened within a few weeks of this discovery, in this time she finds out there's others and has to get away from a dangerous group that has caused their fair share of death.....

 

 

Another trilogy was added to this with a different main character, and a different project.

 

check them out here in recent case studies.

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I read the Phantom Tollbooth when I was like 10, and I still have a very pleasant memory from it.

 

A series of seven books I absolutely love is Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman's Death Gate Cycle. I don't think they are very well known but they were absolutely amazing books.

 

Recently I read Otherbound (don't remember the writer, she was a woman). Not absolutely fantastic, but good enough and breath of fresh air in a world dominated by books featuring "realism" in the form of gore, rape and misery. The characters go through their own struggle and some die, but at least you don't get disgusted every other page because of a vivid description of a character being sexually assaulted.

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I haven't read a lot of books because I'm dyslexic and have problems with my eyes, go figure

 

But in grade school I read a book called The Nine Lives of Romeo Crumb by L. Rifkin

 

It's about cats who live in the city and there are two groups: Sticks (ones who live in a home with people) and Allies (alley cats who don't have a home or were abandoned/lost/ran away).

 

Each cat has 9 lives, after the 9th they're officially dead.

 

I forgot the main plot but there is a protagonist and an antagonist.

 

It's really really cool if you like cat adventure stories.

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Oh yes! for those who like fantasy and Sherlock type books there's a perfect one for you!

 

 

Jackaby by William Ritter Abbigale rook is an assistant to a Paranormal detective named R.F. jackaby. This is in her point of view set in 1892 in New England, New Fiddleham (a fictional town mind you..)

 

Here's the actual tale end of the description

:Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

 

 

The second book is called Beastly Bones, third one isn't out yet but i am eagerly waiting (haven't been this hyped about a release since Blood of Olympus came out)

 

Both books are artfully worded, with some humor (beware the frying pan.. Jackaby should not cook eggs in the morning.)

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I know everyone's probably heard of Dragonriders of Pern, but have people heard about Anne McCaffrey's other series? I only knew about them because I was curious and read all of AMC's books.

 

Crystal Singer series

Brainships series

Talents/Tower series

Petaybee series

Doona series

Freedom series

Series revolving around psychic, bioengineered cats that were McCaffrey's last series

 

Plus she has a few once-off books. I happen to enjoy Nimisha's Ship a great deal. It's very loosely in the same universe as the Coelura(another, much shorter book she wrote) and might be in the same universe as a few other series, they're all kinda vague as to which universe they belong to except that Freedom and Talents/Tower series are NOT related to each other because the former has the Earth invaded by aliens and the latter has people with psychic powers who expanded space travel from Earth all on their own without alien help haha.

 

Brainships and Crystal Singers are same universe though, there's a mention of Brainships in the Crystal Singer series. Unclear if Pern is related to any of them either but it might be, just isolated from the others because it takes place on an alien planet humans settled on. (Surprise! Pern is Science Fiction, not Fantasy!)

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I know everyone's probably heard of Dragonriders of Pern, but have people heard about Anne McCaffrey's other series? I only knew about them because I was curious and read all of AMC's books.

 

Crystal Singer series

Brainships series

Talents/Tower series

Petaybee series

Doona series

Freedom series

Series revolving around psychic, bioengineered cats that were McCaffrey's last series

Don't forget her Acorna the Unicorn Girl books! :) Unicorn humanoids whose home planet was destroyed by a hostile race of invaders, and a lost little girl is found and raised by a group of space miners. Plus there's even a fictional language!

 

But hey, someone else who has read the Freedom series! :D

 

Speaking of Sci-Fi. I really like "The Hybrid Chronicles" by Kat Zhang. I've only read the first book, "What's Left of Me", and it's basically a 'what-if?' story where each person has two separate people/personalities inside of them at birth, though in most kids the less dominant personality fades away once they reach school age and those who don't 'settle' are considered abominations and usually institutionalized. The main characters are two teenage girls, Addie is the one who controls their body and Eva is (at first, though I don't want to give away more than that) is simply a voice in their head, and they end up in one of those institutions and through a series of shady goings-on start to find out truth of what's really happening. The other two books in the trilogy are "Once We Were" and "Echoes of Us", both of which are already out, I just haven't been able to get them yet. :/

 

 

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If you've ever read Gael Baudino, I will love you forever.

 

My favorite book by Gael (and my favorite book, well, ever) is Strands of Starlight.

 

It's about a woman with healing powers who is persecuted by the church (it takes place during the Inquisition) while trying to find a home. She escapes the church dungeons, heals a man, who then...violates...her, after which she is near death. She crawls to the nearest town, where an elf heals her wounds and introduces her to elven magic, which transforms her into a powerful warrior and reveals that she's the reincarnation of an elven healer the church had killed a hundred years before. She meets the elven goddess, embraces her magic, and basically finds peace. It's a really powerful book. There are 4 more books in the series, but none are as amazing as the first one.

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