Happy New Year!
I hope you had a nice holiday break, and now it’s time to get started on those New Year’s Resolutions. If you are looking for a new author with which to kick off the new year, might I suggest the marvelous TJ Klune?
This is the first TJ Klune book I read, and I have to say I just enjoyed it. It didn’t blow my mind or change my life, but it was a highly satisfying read. Imagine Harry Potter meets the X-Men. MC Linus Baker is a Case Worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He likes his job. It’s very regimented, and he knows what to expect every day. But when Extremely Upper Management sends him to a remote orphanage that is home to six magical and dangerous children (including the Antichrist?!?), Linus's strict life is thrown into chaos. There was so much heart here that I fell in love with this story, and I really enjoyed the author’s writing style as well. He’s funny without trying too hard.
A few months later, I came across The Extraordinaries in a completely unrelated coincidence. (I didn’t even realize these two books were written by the same author until a month or so after I'd read them.) Initially I checked out the book, but eventually listened to the audio book, which I highly recommend because the reader does a great job (big props to Michael Lesley for his choices. Hilarious!) MC Nick Bell is not extraordinary, but he is a teen and he does have ADHD. He also has a HUGE crush on the superhero (extraordinary) Shadow Star and writes popular fanfic about his love. This looks to eventually be a trilogy, which I’m shipping hard because I loved both of these books. (The second one is called Flash Fire, and the third one is not out yet.) I have not laughed out loud at a book so much in so long (Back Flip of Chaos!) These books aren’t all fun and games though. There is some heart and depth that help make the stories even more poignant. If you only do one audio series this year, do this one.
Klune's latest release is good, but it’s not my favorite. Basic premise: Wallace is dead. Which is ok because he wasn’t a very nice guy while he was living. His reaper, Mei, appears and leads him to a delightful tea shop where he meets Nelson, Apollo, and Hugo – his journeyman to help him cross to whatever comes next. I really liked the characters, and I did laugh out loud a few times. However, this is still a book about death, which means parts of it are sad. Don’t skip this one because of the sad, but maybe don’t start your TJ Klunian exploration here. Read the others first, then tackle this one. It’s worth the time, but maybe have a Kleenex handy.
Ok, we’re a few days into a new year and you already have four books to read. Better get going…
Happy Klune-ing (not to be confused with Clooney-ing, which has better hair),