Lately I’ve been talking about my WIP Remnant a bunch, and some of you have asked if you can read it and/or said you liked my characters and writing. (Thank you so, so much if you did. Really. It’s just what I need to force myself to write it :))
Hopefully someday it will be available for you to read, but until that day, here are some books that remind me of it! Some of them inspired the original draft, others I discovered later, but all of them are incredible books that I recommend highly.
an introduction to Remnant
ABOUT: Remnant is the first book in the Silver Saga, a high fantasy epic quartet about family, forgiveness, and identity. It follows Aionladon, a teenager who discovers that his best friend is a prince — and tags along for the taking-back-the-kingdom stuff without really knowing who he is or why he’s there.
CURRENT STATUS: 58k long. Half-ish?? done. I’m counting the current draft as maybe the second… some parts are on their eighth draft, others on their first. I’ve been writing this book for seven years and unfortunately have not completed it in order, plus I keep changing things.
“Will you do it?” asked Taresil.
Marelle kept her gaze on the twisting flame, watching as it took on a new shape. Two figures, silhouetted starkly against the dim library corridors.
“Come with me,” he says. His gaze burning into her. “Come with me.”
“No.” She’s crying. “No. I, I can’t.”
Taresil reached out, touching Marelle’s shoulder gently. “Do you think of him often?”
“Always,” said Marelle.
“It’s been so hard, so hard letting you go,” she says. “I love you too much for my good — or yours.”
His expression falters. His confidence and care crumbling. He reaches out to her, begging her to stay.
But she says, “I’m done.”
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
ABOUT: LOTR is frequently referred to as the predecessor of all modern fantasy… because it is 😉 It’s a sweeping epic with grand lords, an ancient evil, and a brave but ordinary hero. I’ve read it multiple times (I should probably reread it again soon), and it was a major inspiration for Remnant. It’s technically 3 books (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King) — actually, technically 6 books in 3 volumes — but is often printed as one. There’s also a prequel, The Hobbit.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: Tolkien was one of the first to use the now-common race of elves in literature, and my book is full of elves! I was also inspired by LOTR’s landscapes and locations, and I’d like to think my message of hope against the night echoes my favorite author’s words:
The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s much longer! The total wordcount of all of LOTR is about 455k, and Fellowship is over 180k by itself. Tolkien’s phraseology is much more formal/archaic than mine, and he’s all around a more experienced writer (he was in his sixties when LOTR was published, while I’m still in my teens). My characters are generally younger than his, and there are also more women in Remnant than in LOTR 🙂
RECOMMENDED FOR: Middle-grade readers and up (best understood and appreciated by older teens/adults).
the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
ABOUT: This four-book saga follows siblings Janner, Tink, and Leeli on their epic journey across continents to escape the Fangs of Dang — who are chasing them for a reason they don’t know. The Jewels of the long-lost fabled Anniera have been found, and Gnag the Nameless (the nameless evil, whose name is… wait for it… Gnag. The Nameless.) needs them, and the Fangs think Janner’s mother has them. Only she doesn’t. Right? The books are On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten, The Monster in the Hollows, and The Warden and the Wolf King, with a sequel/prequel collection of stories called Wingfeather Tales.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: I’d just started reading this saga when I came up with the idea for my own, and while I don’t see a ton of similarities, I was definitely inspired by AP. Plus, both he and I are Christians, and our stories feature children who don’t know the truth about their pasts. I modeled my character Gabriel on Esben from this series. (Oh, and the dragons. We mustn’t forget the dragons. Though they don’t come into my saga until book 4, they are very important.)
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: The Wingfeather books are middle-grade, but Remnant is YA (probably). The Igiby children are 9, 11, and 12; Aionladon and his best friend are 14 and 16. And my world is very high fantasy-like, with elves and magic, while AP’s is more lighthearted and whimsical. There’s not very much whimsy in Remnant.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Middle-grade readers and up (best appreciated by kids ages 10-12 and families reading aloud).
the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
ABOUT: Another four-book series! One of the biggest reasons I started Remnant, the Inheritance Cycle is an epic tale of dragon riders, elves, dwarves, and magic. The story starts when fifteen-year-old Eragon finds a dragon egg in the forest and realizes that the old tales are true. Traveling with a mysterious, ancient storyteller, he sets out to find allies. Titles are Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance, with a collection of short stories from the same world called The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: Like I said, reading Eragon was a crucial part of the path to my novel. The original draft had a different main character who was pretty much a copy of Eragon, along with a mentor (Brom), elf (Arya), and group of allies (the Varden). Now, very little of that is left (though I’ve still got a Brom-like character). But the influence of Paolini remains in my worldbuilding, especially my magic system.
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: The biggest difference is the author’s worldview. Paolini is clearly not Christian (I think he may be an atheist, or perhaps a universalist), and that comes out in what his characters say and believe — one main character declares that he doesn’t want to be in heaven even if it exists. Also, my story is a bit smaller in scope, and there are no dragons until much later in the series (and they’re very different than Saphira).
RECOMMENDED FOR: Young adult readers and up (I read it at age eleven, and I think I somehow missed a lot of the worldview problems; also, intense violence, and extramarital relationships).
Moonscript by H.S.J. Williams
ABOUT: The first in the Kings of Aselvia series, this book follows young teen Tellie, who is swept up into a world of elves and darkness and magic. Elven prince Errance has been held prisoner and tortured for seventy years, and now Tellie holds the key to his rescue.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: I finished reading this book last month, and then I sat down and internally screamed. At last I have found a book in the exact genre I write, with the same kind of characters, world, and writing style. I am very happy about this. If you think you might enjoy Remnant, my friend, GO READ THIS BOOK. (Similarities include the MC being a young teen and the existence of a tall, dark-haired elven prince with a mysterious history.)
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: The biggest — pretty much only — thing here is that the religion aspect of the story is much more major in Moonscript. There’s a God and people who follow him, and some characters pray, and there’s a conversion-type scene. Whereas in Remnant, though I do hope that my faith shows, there’s no overt religion, and characters don’t pray or worship. (Plus there’s no Coren in my book. I wish there was a Coren.)
RECOMMENDED FOR: Young adult readers and up (some mature middle-graders could handle it, but the torture aspect is probably too intense for most younger readers).
the Auralia Thread by Jeffrey Overstreet
ABOUT: Yet another four-book fantasy series! This one is about Auralia, a mysterious orphan with enchanting and illegal powers. Found by Gatherers as a baby, she is one of the only people left brave enough to wear colors — and she can make them too. Defying the king’s rules, she brings light to even the darkest dungeons. The books are Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: The character of the ale boy quite reminds me of Aionladon, Krawg’s similar to Raldin and Auralia herself is a bit like Sophie. Also, my character Kalrona’s name comes from Cal-raven (this series) and Kalmar + Ban Rona (Wingfeather).
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: Other than a few things, the Auralia books are very different from mine. The characters are mostly adults, there is — kind of — a religion, and Overstreet’s writing style is more lyrical and image-ridden than mine. Auralia certainly inspired me, though. Especially some of the romances.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Mature young adult readers and up (quite a bit of intense violence, extramarital relationships, and an all-around “dark”/depressing atmosphere).
the Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon
ABOUT: Maerad is a slave girl with no hope until she meets Cadvan, a stranger no one else can see. He tells her she is a Bard of Pellinor, and takes her with him on a journey across the continent to face a terrible evil.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: This book series has a similar atmosphere/aesthetic to what I imagine mine might someday have. Maerad’s discovery of her family reminds me of Aionladon’s.
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: The Pellinor books have music magic! Which is awesome! They’re also very long, but somehow manage to have less characters than Remnant. And the author’s style is quite Tolkien-esque, which mine isn’t really.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Young adult readers and up (violence, extramarital relationships, extreme hardship and bleakness).
the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
(and Brandon Sanderson)
ABOUT: Rand, Perrin, Mat, Egwene, and Nynaeve are perfectly acquainted with their village and their places in it. Until Moiraine, one of the fabled Aes Sedai, arrives and announces they must leave. This series is the longest I have ever read and so incredibly complicated that I can’t really explain the plot, except that it involves a lot of prophecies. The first book is The Eye of the World, the other titles are in the image, the last two books are Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light, and the prequel is New Spring.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: Mainly, the number of characters! WOT is the only series I’ve read with more POVs (points of view) than my own WIP. And people like it, so maybe they’ll like mine! It also has a character named Perrin, as do I 😉
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s much more intense/mature, a great deal longer, and wayyy more complicated. (And it’s pretty insane to say that, because my story is very complicated.)
RECOMMENDED FOR: Mature young adult readers and up (intense violence, occasional profanity, extramarital relationships including polygamy) who want a huge challenge.
Note: I’ve just recently begun reading some of Sanderson’s other work — he finished the Wheel of Time after Jordan’s death — and I think some of those books deserve to be on this list too. I just haven’t read enough to say for sure.
the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
ABOUT: A five-book fantasy series inspired by Welsh legend, the Chronicles are the story of Taran the pig-keeper, who didn’t mean to run away. He’d been wanting to seek adventure, but finding the knight in the forest wasn’t his fault! He was chasing the pig! Titles are The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: Taran really reminds me of my charrie Matthias, while Eilonwy is a little like Novalie. Alexander and I also both tackle huge, sweeping narratives and dark, desolate character arcs in stories for younger readers (though again, I’m not sure what exactly my audience is). Plus Nigel (from Remnant) unfortunately shares some characteristics with Gwystyl.
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: The world of Prydain feels a lot smaller than my world (though that could just be my imagination), and my story is less humorous and isn’t based on Welsh mythology (or any mythology). And sadly, Fflewddur doesn’t exist in my world. 😦
RECOMMENDED FOR: Mature middle-grade readers and up (some dark/scary content in book 2, and much more in books 4/5).
The Songkiller’s Symphony by Daeus Lamb
ABOUT: In the beginning, the Songkiller sang chaos into the fabric of the world. Now, he’s returning to finish his dark symphony. Exton hunts for redemption at the throne of the immortal Songkiller who caused his mother’s death. Journeying with a world-weary bard, a battle-hungry ranger, and a best friend who begins to doubt him, Exton aims to drag the Songkiller from his throne and sever his head. But he’s a thousand years too late, and more helpless than when he watched his mother die. This time, he doesn’t get a second chance. No one escapes the Songkiller or his song of power… The song that turns men to monsters. This book is currently unpublished, so I won’t reveal anything more about it, but I beta read it and I assure you it’s very good 😉 Click here to learn more about it.
HOW IT’S LIKE REMNANT: Welll… again, I can’t really talk about it! They’re both high fantasy 😛
HOW IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s better (well, more polished at least). It’s finished. It’s soon-to-be-published. Oh, and the magic is music-based, which I am a huge fan of. And there’s a race called the ublidek which I am obsessed with.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Young adult readers and up (best enjoyed by those who can track multiple narratives and are familiar with epic fantasy).
We’ve reached the end, friends! I hope you’ve found here a book to satisfy your cravings until Remnant is available =)
Until next time,