It’s Ramadan… and while our Muslim brothers and sisters are fasting during the day, there are some of us who are lost on what to do when work hours are shortened and malls and stores are closed. Where do we go? What will we do? You have your computers and internet and television, of course.
More often than not, I escape from watching sappy teleseryes and surfing the internet by reading books. I know some of you might be groaning and scoffing with the mere mention of books. Haha. Reading is boring… NOT! I have long believed that reading is sexy. I like men who read (figures why I do not like a lot of men, hehe… kidding!) Watching television and movies do not interest me as much as reading books so if you’re like me, please read on.
These book series written for young adults (for adults too!) are perfect for the Ramadan season because they take quite a few days to finish. But if you’re like me who eats books for dinner, you’ll be jumping from one book to another and you’ll be done in no time at all! You won’t even know the Ramadan days are over and hello, Eid vacation na!
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Watched the movie already but didn’t know it was from a book series? I tell you, grab a copy of the book and read pronto! The Hunger Games is the most popular novel nowadays. Set in the post-apocalyptic world of Panem, The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th annual Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose, whose name was drawn at the Reaping. Along with Peeta Mellark, the boy tribute, Katniss goes to the Capitol and fights for her life in the arena. The second book, Catching Fire, tells of the 75th Hunger Games and the third installment, Mockingjay, tells of the rebellion of District 13.
|Packed with action!|
The paragraph above is too much to process if you didn’t go beyond The Hunger Games movie. Read the three books and you’ll know why they suddenly shot to the bestselling racks in bookstores and book review sites. I think I read the three books in two working days. Didn’t have time to breathe and eat snacks. Haha. They’re that good. ‘Nuf said.
2. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Into Greek and Roman gods and goddesses? This series is a follow-up to the popular Percy Jackson series. (What?! You haven’t read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series? Do so before opening a book in the HoO series.) The Heroes of Olympus is a five-year book series by Rick Riordan that will follow seven demigods in their adventures to stop Gaea, the earth goddess, from waking. The Lost Hero is the first book followed by The Son of Neptune. The Mark of Athena, the third, will be released in October.
|The Greeks and Romans unite.|
I love this series. In fact, if I haven’t loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians first, this would have been love at the first chapter instead of love all over again. The mysteries surrounding the new characters and their quest to find who they are kept me awake at night. I never let a book in this series see the light of day. Meaning when I picked up one, I finished it in two to three hours tops. If that doesn’t say how much I enjoyed the books, I don’t know what will.
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Good Read’s Favorite Book of 2011 doesn’t disappoint. Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth. It’s set in a fictional dystopian world with a city divided into five factions. Imagine your city divided into Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave), and Abnegation (the selfless)… where will you be? Protagonist Beatrice “Tris” Prior was raised Abnegation but picked Dauntless during their Choosing Ceremony. The challenges that came her way after defecting is the core of this series. The second novel, Insurgent, was released last May.
|Which faction will you choose to live in?|
While this series is being compared to The Hunger Games because of its futuristic setting, Divergent caught me off guard with its fast action-packed story-telling. The fights are described in great details. It does have boring moments, especially with Tris’ narration but her courage and cleverness elevates women empowerment to greater heights. The violent theme might not be good for teens and children but if you let your kids watch and read The Hunger Games, then, there’s no way you can deny them (or yourself) the addictive Divergent Series.
4. Study Series by Maria V. Snyder
Poison Study, the first book in the series, came as a surprising read for me. I didn’t expect to enjoy it and blaze through the two more books in the series, Magic Study and Fire Study, in lightning speed. Poison Study was released in 2005. This fantasy novel is set in Ixia, a land ruled by the Commander. Yelena, the protagonist, was given the choice to be the Commander’s food taster or be put to death. She chose the former and that’s when her magical life unraveled. The next books are set in Sitia, a land filled with tribes and magic as Yelena goes on a quest to find her self.
|Also known as the Yelena Zaltana Series.|
I love the contrast of people and places in this novel. The men are serious, firm, and military. The women are dainty, soft, and bohemian. I like envisioning what goes on a clan’s homestead (the clothes, the houses, the market) and it annoys me that I cannot summon any powers or magic like the characters do (parang true lang?). The Study series is fascinating. It takes you into two different realms that fights and unites. The characters are well-thought of and the details are fine and majestic. If I live in this fantasy, I wanted to be a magician in Sitia. Haha. The good thing about this series is that it’s done. All the books have been written and released. The spin-off series, Glass Study, is also an amazing read. It follows Opal Cowan, a character in the Study Series, who makes glass (a very fascinating process). The characters in the Study Series also make appearances.
5. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Just the first book into the three-part series, I’m already hooked and I can’t wait for the next! Rossi’s Under The Never Sky talks of the world of Reverie and what lies outside of it, known as The Death Shop. Aria, a Reverie dweller, was exiled and met Perry, an Outsider. Their unlikely alliance to set things straight and redeem themselves is what makes this novel a standout.
|Excited for the next installment.|
There are numerous novels out there and Under The Never Sky has been the most memorable this year (unlikely to find another even if it’s just July). Its plot is original and the characters are interesting. I’m not too sure about Aria’s delicateness but I like the enigma of the Outsiders. The mesmerizing dual perspective kept me on my toes guessing which is which, who is who, what will happen to what. It’s incredibly frustrating to wait for the next installment, Through The Ever Night, coming on January 2013. I can’t wait!
There are a lot more series that I enjoyed like The Kane Chronicles (involves Egyptian gods and goddesses) but I suggest you enjoy the listed five above first. Now, where will you get these books?! A lot of them are available in Jarir Bookstore. If you’re not into carrying paperbacks, then I suggest you download ebooks. If you have an iPhone or iPad and have the iBook app, visit Epubbud.com (thanks to our friend Jou for the tip). You can also download PDF copies from the net and read them in a PDF app. Of course there’s Kobobooks and Kindle too.
So, have a happy reading time during this “peaceful” month of Ramadan. ~ Sundrenched