Anyone Up For Some Dark Fantasy?

I don’t usually review books, but my friend Cherie just did a great post on her blog about a book series that looks pretty freaky, and it gave me an idea for a post of my own; I hope she doesn’t think I’m stealing! Head over to her post and check it out. She talks about a book series she loves, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it because lately I’m all about dark fantasy. This looks more like horror, but if it’s YA I’ll read it anyway. (I’m too much of a wimp to read general horror!)

Everyone expressed interest with the books in her comments, but a few people worried if they might be too scary for their kids to read. And that’s what brought this particular series to mind that I’m in the middle of reading: The Last Apprentice books, known as The Wardstone Chronicles in the UK – or The Mortal Instruments. The series is a dark fantasy revolving around 12-year-old Thomas Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son, who because of his lineage, has the ability to perceive things that ordinary people can’t: ghosts, boggarts, and other evil things that plague humankind. He takes an apprenticeship with an experienced Spook, one whose profession is protecting the county against supernatural creatures who threaten the residents.

The books can be downright spooky at times, but unless you’re like I was as a kid, they’re not likely to give you nightmares. Except, I warn you, I’ve only finished the third book in the series. The fifth book cover was the one that first got my attention at the bookstore. Now that one looks nightmare-inducing!

The storyline borders on Middle Grade, which depending on the content, I’ve also become a fan of. But one thing that bothers me is Delaney’s repetitive lapse into a passive writing style. He uses forms of “was” to describe everything in a scene. As someone who is constantly on the lookout for passive writing in my own manuscripts, this tends to trip me up and annoy me if “was” is used ten times in a single paragraph. However, the creepy villains and good character development make up for the sometimes annoying writing style.

I’ve also heard there’s a movie (or movies) coming out. I usually have mixed feelings when this happens. On one hand, there’s The Hunger Games, which I’m sure is going to be totally awesome; but then again, there was The Lightning Thief. Ugh. Sure, I’ll see the movie, but even if Hollywood screws it up I won’t get my knickers in a bunch over it, because I like The Last Apprentice but I’m not a rabid fan.

I suggest you give these books a look if you enjoy a good dark fantasy that won’t scare the pants off you, or if your kids like to be a little spooked but you don’t want them terrified. And from a writerly perspective, I was inspired by the creativity in each book’s plot.

Got any other super spooky dark stories to recommend? The creepier the better! Also, what about movie adaptations from books? What have you loved? What movies made you want to throw the book at the screen?


12 thoughts on “Anyone Up For Some Dark Fantasy?

  1. Creepy dark books…well, there's the Mortal Instruments series. It was a little teen-angst-ish, but had a great story and lots of evil and darkness going around. Same could be said for The Daughter of Smoke and Bones.

    As for books to movies, I agree. That's definitely hit or miss. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, hopefully the Hunger Games…awesome. The Lightning Thief and The Golden Compass…worst things I've EVER seen. Sigh.


  2. Woot! Thanks for the mention. πŸ˜€

    Well, what do you know? I LOVE The Last Apprentice, too! Read all the way to book seven (Rise of the Huntress). I just checked and there's a book 8 already out–must go find it ASAP. πŸ™‚

    I'm not crazy about movies based from books because the storylines always get skewed around, but at the same time, I enjoy having the visuals for once, as opposed to just reading about it and using my (relatively limited) imagination. HP was great, even though a few scenes made me raise my eyebrows, but nonetheless, still worthy of the books. I'm super excited for Hunger Games and the movie trailers give me goosebumps every time I watch them, so I'm really crossing my fingers it doesn't disappoint.

    I haven't read the Mortal Instruments series, so that's going to my TBR pile , too. πŸ™‚


  3. The City of Ember movie was awful. Didn't follow the book much.
    I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone – could totally see it as a movie but unfortunately, the book lost me about half-way thru.
    My son LOVED The Edge Chronicles (artwork is fab) and even as a 15 y/o, had to buy the last book to finish the series. I highly recommend it.


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