Monday, September 8, 2014

Top Ten Underrated Authors

In my search to find underrated authors, I discovered that most of the people who popped into my mind were not of the same I decided, well, let's not do one genre then!  So here goes - top ten underrated authors from 5 genres!

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Probably best known for her book, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland writes historical fiction about art and artists.  Girl in Hyacinth Blue traces a famous missing painting across centuries, tying together generations of people.  For those of you who prefer focus on one person, both The Forest Lover (Emily Carr, a late Victorian Canadian artist) and The Passion of Artemisia (possibly the only female artist of the Renaissance) follow the lives of arguably two of the most influential female artists ever.  All of her books are beautifully written and extremely interesting, even if you know nothing about art or the time periods these are set in and she remains one of my all time favourite authors (and is on my auto-buy list!) 

Through a Glass Darkly (Through a Glass Darkly, #2)

Karleen Koen is a new discovery for me - Through a Glass Darkly was a spontaneous find, and I immediately devoured it, its sequel, and the prequel, all set around the beginning of the 18th century.  These are big books, but they are rampant with everything I love in my historical fiction books - complex characters, plots, intrigue, treachery, heartbreak, humour, and best of all - they're clearly well researched.  As of this moment I've read all but one of Koen's books, and I'm hoping to remedy that soon!  (Goodreads lists Through a Glass Darkly as book 2, but that's because for some reason they put the prequel as book 1, and it's really not necessary to read the prequel for understanding of the rest of the series)

A Cat Called Dog

If you're a cat lover, you need to read this book.  I'm going to keep this one short since I've already gone gaga over this book, but seriously.  It's funny in all the right ways.

Asterix the Gaul (Asterix, #1)

Ok this one is a pretty old series, and some of my European readers might recognize them, but I was feeling nostalgic and decided to put them on the list (especially since I ended up not choosing a manga selection this week). If you like old school comics at all, the Asterix and Obelix series will be up your alley.  An added bonus?  How many (funny) comics do you know set in ancient times? (Or maybe I'm wrong and there's loads - in which case hook me up!)

The Nature of Jade

I've already put Deb Caletti on a list like this one from last year, but you know what? I don't care, she deserves the attention!  If you are a Sarah Dessen fan, you should check out Deb Caletti's books.  I personally resonate more with some of her subject matters (my favourite book, pictured above, is about a girl with anxiety), and I think her prose is among some of the most beautiful I've ever read, so if you're a sucker for pretty prose the way I am, she should definitely be on your TBR list.

Admittedly, This Is All is the only book I've read by Aidan Chambers, but woah is it a fantastic experience!  I will give the disclaimer that it is giant, but in my opinion well worth it.  As with John Green, I think some readers will be really moved by the writing, and others will just find it pretentious, so I leave it up to you whether you think it is well suited for you.

Clare B. Dunkle

The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, #1)

I wouldn't tote The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy an all time favourite, but it's definitely had a few rereads! It twists a lot of traditional tales and expectations as far as beauty is concerned. I'd recommend it for readers who enjoyed Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern or Keturah and Lord Death.

 Jacquelin Carey

Kushiel's Dart (Ph├Ędre's Trilogy, #1)

I have never been as surprisingly impressed with a series as I have been with Jacqueline's Kushiel Saga.  It's broken up into two trilogies, and while I have enjoyed the first trilogy more, the second trilogy so far has not disappointed with the wide scope this series has set up.  Hands down, this has the best world building I've encountered in a series, and its marriage between fluid sexuality, power, and religion has completely turmed everything you would expect in a standard fantasy series on its head.  The relationships are complicated, particularly between the main villain and heroine, as well as the romantic, platonic, and filial relationships.  It's intricate and is playing the long game, and while this is not a book I'd recommend for everyone - I'd definitely give this to serious fantasy readers who don't mind (or perhaps want) some rated M material.

City of the Beasts (Eagle and Jaguar, #1)

Isabel Allende is a world renowned author - her works have been translated into over 30 languages, and she is known as the most read author who writes in Spanish .  Despite both literary and reader acclaim as an author, few people are aware of her young adult series.  I've talked before about how few books are set outside of the US/UK or are written by non US/UK authors, as well as non-Western fantasy settings (although this book is more magic realism than fantasy - it's set in the South American Jungle!), and this series has both.  

Abarat (Abarat, #1)

Some of you may have heard of Clive Barker before - he's a popular author in the horror genre, and is the creator of Hellraiser (for those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, he has a similar style to Neil Gaiman's).  Most people don't know he has a YA series as well, and it's by far one of my favourite series of all time.  I've fangirled over this series in about a good half of these TTT posts. So I'll try and keep it short and to key words: the most creative setting I've ever come across, stunning art, complex characters, flips expected tropes.  I've already talked ad nauseum as to why more people should be reading this series, so click the link and  feast your eyes on some of the most amazing artwork I've ever had the pleasure of viewing.


  1. Great list Elizabeth. I really want to check out Deb Caletti. I'm particularly intrigued by her book about anxiety being a sufferer myself.

  2. Oh, I love Asterix and Obelix! I have a huge collection of them stacked away in my attic! City of the Beasts is also pretty good. I haven't read any of the other books you listed, but I'll definitely check them out!

    My TTT

  3. I have never heard of and am very intrigued by Karleen Koen and Clare B. Dunkle! I think this weeks topic is really going to add to the old TBR list:0)

  4. I've started the Kushiel Saga so many times! But I've never gotten through it. Maybe I'll have to do that since it made your list! Thanks for sharing :)

    Here are my Top Ten!

  5. Great list! I've heard a lot about Girl in Hyacinth Blue, been meaning to check it out xD

    My TTT

  6. I tried to read Clive Barker's YA series years ago, but I couldn't get into it.

  7. She's really fantastic - even when I really wasn't reading any contemporary ya at all, I continued to read her because she's that fantastic!

  8. I just unearthed my dad's collection and they're all sitting on a bookshelf next to my bed now haha! I'm curious to see what I would think of City of Beasts upon a reread - I'm hoping it'll stand up to what I remember!

  9. I am 98% sure that Karleen Koen is totally up your alley judging by the historical fiction you've read (and since I haven't read most of them, the assumptions I've had upon reading your reviews haha). And Clare B. Dunkle's series is a lot of fun, definitely not as heavy as Karleen Koen's - both literally and figuratively haha

  10. They're definitely big books, so it's a big undertaking! I'm lucky I read as quickly as I do or I don't think I would make it through them myself haha

  11. I definitely think Susan Vreeland is right up your alley! You actually might like the one about the Canadian artist as a starting point haha

  12. It's definitely very different from his adult works (especially in the first novel). If you stop by the blog again, leave a link to your TTT so I can check it out!


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