I read, I have enthusiasms, but there are some books I love completely. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:
Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones
This is such a clever book, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit I didn’t understand it properly the first time. Slightly ashamed but also wildly impressed because she drops you in the deep end, trusting you to swim. She writes so well (I love the way she makes things sound) and gives you enough information to understand what’s happening now even if you don’t understand the wider picture, I never considered abandoning the book. Also, of course, the characters are wonderful (especially Ann and Mordion), and the bad guys so contemptible and horribly in control, I wanted to know what happened to them. I loved the book but I was blown away by the end where everything I had wondered about came together and suddenly made perfect sense.
It’s wonderful to be able to say I loved a book better the second (and subsequent) times I read it.
A glorious line:
“…he shivered as if a bloodred shadow had walked softly on bone feet across his grave.”
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
I first read The Chronicles of Prydain an awfully long time ago, and loved them for their humour and especially for their ability to make me weep sadly into my pillow.
Like the Harry Potter books (which I also loved), the series starts off light and grows progressively darker. In The Book of Three, a young boy called Taran yearns to be a hero and struggles against the determination of his guardians that he won’t be (yet).
It starts: “Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes.”
Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (though actually, I especially love the third in that triology but it wouldn’t make sense without the first).
The White Cat by Holly Black (as above!)
Sunshine by Robin McKinley.
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper