Looking for your next spellbinding read?
I have been obsessed with Harry Potter since I read the first page of the first book at the cramped ‘kitchen table’ of my parent’s caravan in a remote town in western Queensland in 1997.
Now I’m pushing 30, still receive Harry Potter paraphernalia for every birthday and Christmas, and am starting to ask myself, “how old is too old?”.
If you’re also struggling to let go of the magical world of Hogwarts, I’ve prepared a short list of five books to read if you love Harry Potter that are slightly more mature and may assist with the withdrawals.
If not, who cares… there are worse things to be addicted to!
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
I feel like a bit of a cheat mentioning this one (because it’s as obvious as Ron’s crush on Hermione from halfway through The Chamber of Secrets) but if you haven’t already read the crime series written by J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, you need to get to your local bookstore immediately.
The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil are gripping crime novels set in London that feature the simultaneously rough-around-the-edges but sensitive private investigator, Cormoran Strike and his infinitely patient and sweet assistant, Robin Ellacott.
The books are written in the classic, captivating J.K. style but with a gritty and seductive adult edge. Possibly the best thing about this series is that a fourth instalment – Lethal White – is expected to be released soon.
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the things I enjoy the most about the Harry Potter series is how overwhelmingly comfortable and ‘at home’ I feel when I read the books. Returning to Hogwarts, even if it’s only after a day at work, gives me the same warm fuzzy feeling as sleeping in my own bed after an extended stay in cheap hotels.
The Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories have the same effect on me. I have a soft spot for crime fiction but I think anyone who enjoys an engrossing, mysterious plot, strong and sometimes quirky lead characters, and a touch of humour, will appreciate the canon of Sherlock Holmes.
Once you have devoured all of the original 56 short stories and four novels, track down a copy of Sherlock Holmes: the Australian Casebook; a beautifully illustrated hardcover of crimes set on our very own shores, written by popular writers and devoted Sherlockians.
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games trilogy has probably been the only series since Harry Potter that has left me with the same bated breath between instalments. Not only is the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, an absolute girl power icon who exudes strength, independence, loyalty, intelligence and compassion, the plot actually delves into some very real and relatable topics.
Set in the fictional world of Panem, The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, and Catching Fire explore issues such as inequity between class systems, power, politics and corruption, and allude to society’s fixation with appearance, and the crudeness of reality TV.
For those who love a good film adaptation, The Hunger Games films are, in my humble opinions, really well done and definitely add to the excitement of sinking your teeth into a new franchise.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
My dad – who let me just clarify has never read a page of Harry Potter in his life – insists that J.K. Rowling took her inspiration for the series from the 1968 novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, written by Ursula K. Le Guin.
It’s an extreme claim and if you were envisaging a vintage Yule Ball with the boys decked out in dapper tweed jackets and loafers and the girls rocking mini shift dresses in a sea of polka dots and gingham, don’t get your hopes up.
While there are some obvious similarities between A Wizard of Earthsea, like the fact that the main character, Ged, is a wizard… who uses magic… there are also some more subtle similarities. Ged discovers his powers at a young age, joins a wizarding school, and because of his meddling behaviour, makes himself a mortal enemy.
A Wizard of Earthsea is well written (my dad’s an English teacher, so you can at least trust him on that front) and along with the five subsequent books published by Le Guin – The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, The Other Wind, and Tales from Earthsea – make up the highly enjoyable Earthsea Cycle.
Firebird series by Claudia Gray
I discovered the Firebird series through a lucky accident. I was travelling for work, forgot to pack my book, raced to the bookstore at the airport and grabbed the first thing I saw. By the end of the flight, I was so hooked that the flight attendants almost had to sweep me off the plane with the rubbish because I didn’t want to stop reading.
A Thousand Pieces of You, Ten Thousand Skies Above You and A Million Worlds With You follow the travels of the heroine, Marguerite Caine, through time and dimensions as she attempts to save the lives of her loved ones and prevent corporate greed ruining the world as we know it
There’s no spells or fantastic beasts but anyone who enjoys a little futuristic, scientific, dimension-bending fun will lap this trilogy up.
Feature image: Warner Bros.
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