By Gillian Bronte Adams
Books make the best Christmas gifts. Unwrapping a book is like having a magical journey dropped in your lap. Once you crack open the pages, you know you will meet people you will never forget, experience heart-pounding adventures, and visit places that are wilder than your wildest dreams.
Giving just the right book to just the right reader makes the experience truly magical. So, we decided to help you out with this Gift Giving Guide!
For the Jedis, Starfleet Cadets, and Brown Coats in the Crowd
Whether you’re a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy or have become a fan since the latest additions, The Firebird Trilogy by Kathy Tyers is a great option for you. It launches with all the adventurous force of the original three movies and lands with a re-imagined Gospel tale in deep space.
Love Star Wars and Firefly and how their heroes (occasionally) fly on the wrong side of the law? Check out The Face of the Deep series by Steve Rzasa. In a futuristic world where religion has been erased and Baden makes a living salvaging from wrecked ships, his discovery of a Bible seems a valuable find for the payout it will bring, until the secret police are tipped off.
Imagine what would happen if the crew from Firefly and the Guardians of the Galaxy went planet hopping together. We think it might look a bit like the Space Drifters series by Paul Regnier where Captain Glint Starcrost and his unreliable crew (a passive aggressive ship computer, peaceable alien warrior, and time-traveling teen) launch on a quest.
Caught up in the debate between Star Trek or Star Wars? Visit The Chronicles of Sarco by Joshua A. Johnston which harkens back to the classic era of both universes. In this series, earth emerges from a dark age and ventures into space, joining an interstellar confederacy shortly before a catastrophic attack from an unstoppable alien force!
For the Talking Beasts, Hobbits, and Wizards in the Fellowship
Love the scope of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series? There are no elves or orcs or hobbits in Jill Williamson’s Blood of Kings Trilogy, but it is a fantastic “coming of a king” story set in a kingdom that is half locked in darkness, where a slave boy discovers that he has the gift of bloodvoicing and can communicate telepathically.
Instead of questing for Mount Doom, Prince Haegan in Ronie Kendig’s Abiassa’s Fire Trilogy has only one month to make it to the Great Falls at the time of the Kindling in hopes of restoring his sister’s ability to walk and stopping the greatest enemy his kingdom has ever faced. Readers who enjoy fast-paced, action-driven stories will love this addition to the fantasy genre.
Of course, no fantasy conversation would be complete with mentioning C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia! If you love the way Lewis weaves allegorical elements into his stories, you should look into Joan Campbell’s Poison Tree Path Chronicles where secret schemes and stolen magic meet in an powerful adventure!
Can’t decide between C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, except maybe at the threat of having your library taken away? (Don’t worry, we want you to have more books, not less!) Check out The Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams where music is magic, some animals talk, and a streetwise thief, traveling peddler, griffin, and a girl with a powerful song team up to take on the warlord oppressing their land.
Speaking of magical creatures, any fans of the Fantastic Beasts movies here? Visit the Children of the Blood Moon series by S.D. Grimm which sports a world populated by flying black lions, dragons, and pegasi, not to mention the sorceress queen determined to rule and the Deliverer who must stop her.
Once Upon A Time fans, The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin has that same incredible feel with an arts-based magic system that will wow and amaze you. Fans of Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts movies will also love the delightful creatures and beauty of the world Franklin has created.
For the lovers of Fairy Tales and Magical Things and Portals to Distant Lands
Any Princess Bride fans here? Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin has all the humor and snark of our favorite true love tale in a (prince) charming adventure where the prince has succeeded in waking Sleeping Beauty but she thinks she is still dreaming.
Love a rags-to-riches story? Check out Beast by Chawna Schroeder. In this beautiful original fairy tale, Beast has been raised among her master’s hounds, competing for food, comfort, and her master’s affection. Until her pack is scattered and Beast finds herself hunted by slavers.
Looking for a totally unexpected twist on a fairy story? Read the No Ordinary Fairy Tale series by R.J. Anderson starting with Knife where magic has been lost and the faery realm is dying and only a young faery named Knife is courageous (and rebellious) enough to try and fix it.
Fans of the Outlander series, how about a portal story with even more of a fantastic take? You might enjoy the Sword of Lyric Series by Sharon Hinck where a modern-day mom is pulled into a new world that is waiting for a promised Restorer.
For those fascinated by Monsters and Clocks and Terrifying Systems of Government
Monster tales can be deliciously scary, can’t they? The Soul Chronicles by Morgan L. Busse is a loose steampunk retelling of Frankenstein with a young woman who is turning into a monster from the inside out! Sound like a chilling read for a cold winter night? Don’t worry, the gun fights, airships, and bounty hunters help warm things up a bit, making for a truly exciting, page-turning read.
Of course, as all dystopian fans know, some of the worst monsters are really twisted governments! Fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent should definitely check out A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes. Parvin Blackwater has only one year left to live and determines to make it count by helping those oppressed by a crooked justice system.
For the Heroes who Wear Capes (and the Ones Who Don’t)
Marvel fans, whether you’re weeping the loss of beloved Netflix shows or the fact that in the cinematic universe, Captain America seems to be hanging up his shield, don’t despair! We have an exciting superhero story for you: the Failstate series by John W. Otte! When a fellow competitor is murdered on the superhero reality show where Failstate is competing to earn his vigilante license, catching the killer becomes Goal #1.
There you have it! Have we solved all your gift giving dilemmas? “When in doubt, go to the library.” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) Or in this case, the bookstore.