Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Author Book Recs: Gillian Phillip

Here today is Gillian Phillip, the author of The Opposite of Amber, to share some of her favorite book recommendations with us!

My favourite genre is YA, so that’s where I’ve made most of these choices... but I have included three adult books that I think teenagers and young adults would love as much as anyone (by Michelle Paver, Robin Hobb and Bernard Cornwell). In no particular order:

Katherine Roberts I AM THE GREAT HORSE

I’m a sucker for adventure and battles and intrigue at any time, and I’m fascinated by Alexander the Great – so to have his military campaigns narrated by his famous war horse was just bliss. Bucephalas’ voice is arrogant, brave, funny – and somehow, magically, all horse. This is a marvellous book.

Cornelia Funke RECKLESS

I love the Inkheart books, especially the first, but this one is even more strange and beautiful. Jacob Reckless is a wonderful mercurial character, with a fierce strand of loyalty, and I could imagine his life before the book’s events, and his continued existence afterwards. That’s one of the best things you can ask of a character.


I read this on a train, and nearly missed my stop. It manages to be funny as well as heartbreaking – and it’s very exciting. A close-knit group of boys take their dead friend on a final road trip, and on the way find both themselves and him. It’s unsentimental and the ending is satisfying without being ‘happy’. I loved it.

Michelle Paver DARK MATTER

The scariest book I’ve read in ages, and it’s all (or mostly) done with suggestion. By the time the terrors of Norway’s endless winter night come to a climax, you’re desperate with fear for Jack. You’ll never turn your back on a wooden post again.


I almost never wish I’d written someone else’s book, but this is an exception. I loved the heroes and heroines, the villains, the perfect pitch of the various historical voices. It’s beautifully written. I rooted for Bod all the way. And the kind, wise and dangerous Silas knocks every other fictional vampire for six.


Gothic horror, mystery and terror, with Josie and Alfie pursued through Victorian London by the most menacing and bloodthirsty trio of ‘aunts’ you can imagine. Mortlock himself is a splendid, delicious surprise in the final scenes – but no spoilers.


I loved CASTLE OF SHADOWS, which was the first in this series, but CITY OF THIEVES is even better. It’s darker and grittier, and it brings us more of the ruthless and charismatic villain Alistair Windlass – who could give some modern politicians a run for their expenses money. He’s never quite what he seems, even to the hero Toby.


When someone recommended this book to me it was one of those gut-punch moments for an author – because like my own hero Seth in FIREBRAND, Fitz is the stroppy, difficult bastard son of an important man, who has a preternatural mental connection with animals and is capable of telepathy. Ouch. But the similarities are pretty much all on the surface, and I fell so hard for Fitz, I stopped worrying. He’s one of those characters who just grabs you by the heartstrings. And the story is thrilling.


Again, this is a sequel that I liked even better than its predecessor (in this case, WHEN I WAS JOE). ALMOST TRUE is the continuing story of a boy who has to change his identity and enter witness protection after witnessing a murder, and this instalment follows him as he takes on yet another new identity and begins to find out about a family he barely knows. It’s more complex than the first book, as well as darker and funnier.


I have a habit of falling for leading men, and I fell very hard for Uhtred Ragnarsson within a few pages of picking up THE PALE HORSEMAN on holiday. He’s a violent, ferocious, sexy antihero with a heart of surprising gentleness. He’s an Englishman whose heart lies with the Danes who invade his country, and is wonderfully conflicted in his wavering and reluctant loyalty to Alfred the Great. I love all the books in the series, but THE LORDS OF THE NORTH finds him at his most vulnerable. I’m smitten.

Thank you, Gillian, for those recs!

So tell me guys, what are some of your favorite book recs?


  1. What a lovely list and, ye gods, yet more books I HAVE TO HAVE. Bought Dark Matter on your recommendation, tried reading it before bed, couldn't blooming well sleep!

  2. It's bad that I have only read one book on this list. It's even worse that I haven't even heard of most of these books.

    Recent recs that I loved were Kat, Incorrigible and Chime. Kat was adorable and Chime was stunning.

  3. Brilliant recommendations. I thought Dark Matter was amazing, too - and so is 'I Am the Great Horse'... must try the Robin Hobb and the rest!

  4. What a brilliant list - I've read some, but now I'm going to have to read the rest!
    One of my recent recommendations would be Helen Grant's The Glass Demon - sinister, scary and totally gripping!