Friday, 28 February 2014

Friday Faves || Favourite Ensembles

So I haven't done one of these in a long time, for which I apologize. You can check out the main Friday Faves page to see what I've posted previously along with ideas for future topics. Feel free to jump in and link me any time!

I got this idea from saidthestory over on Youtube. She did a video about her top 5 favourite literary casts (which you can find here). I love me some ensemble casts, so I decided to do a post of my own. It doesn't hurt that I've been reading some amazing series lately!

The Belgariad Series by David Eddings ★★★★☆
Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved--but did not know...?

A high fantasy series of five books: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game.

We primarily follow Garion, who is a young boy when the story begins. But as things continue to unfold, he ends up gathering with him quite the crew. I remember gushing about the series to my friend who'd first recommended it--about how I loved all the characters. They were all so different and unique. It's one of the first times I remember loving an entire cast of characters like that.

It's been a while since I read these though. But just talking about it makes me want to reread the series again. If you're a little wary of high fantasy, these books are a nice introduction to the genre as well--they're not difficult to follow!

The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★☆
Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble. When Gansey and his Raven Boy friends come into her life, Blue realizes how true this is. She never thought her fortune would be a problem. But she was wrong.

A young adult urban fantasy series of four books: The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves are the only two currently published.

With the series revolving around Blue and her four Raven boys (Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah) there is a lot of main characters to love. And while each of these five mains are diverse and flawed and compelling in their own right, there's also a pile of secondary characters who add depth and life to this world. It makes everything feel real.

The first book took me completely by surprise when I read it. It is so unlike anything else I've ever read, especially in the YA genre. Some people complain about it being complicated and difficult to follow, but just go with it--you'll get the hang of it.

The Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken ★★★★☆
A near-future thriller Young Adult series about a 16-year-old girl named Ruby with special abilities that she has only just begun to understand who breaks out of the “rehabilitation camp” in which she has been imprisoned and teams up with a rag-tag group of fellow camp escapees to find the Slip Kid, a leader who offers shelter to young people in danger and who possesses the secret to controlling one’s powers.

A young adult dystopian trilogy: The Darkest Minds and Never Fade are the only two published currently.

I'll admit, it took me some time to get into this book series. The first 80-100 pages of book 1 were slow going. But then Ruby breaks away from camp and meets all sorts of characters. Once Liam, Zu and Chubs were on the scene, I became desperately attached to everyone. Even Ruby, who initially was not doing it for me, grew on me as she herself began to grow and change. Book 2 adds even more interesting personalities to the mix and overall it's hard not to like them. (Or absolutely despise, in the case of some of the antagonists.)

It's a different take on "super powers" with a bleak outlook. But I absolutely cannot wait for book 3!

Vicious by VE Schwab ★★★★★
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

An adult sci-fi standalone novel.

Legitimately, the subtitle of this book should be: EVERYONE IS SO MESSED UP. This is such a brilliantly twisted tale. You can't help but get attached to Victor and his ragtag crew. Even though you know he's a terrible human being. There's depth to these characters. So much so that you understand the rationale behind even the most sinister of plots.

Another "super power" twist that will leave you reeling. So good!

The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer ★★★★★
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

A young adult futuristic series of four books: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress are currently published.

You guys, this is fast becoming my favourite series of all time. And it's in large part to do with the incredible cast of characters that inhabits this series. With each book we're introduced to more characters and instead of feeling overwhelming, it actually makes things come together. I am so desperately attached to every one of the main characters and am possibly going to die of anticipation of book 4 (Winter, 2015).

You just need to read this series okay? Okay.

And that's it! My top 5. Have you read any of these series? What did you think of them? Do you have favourite casts of characters? Let me know!