If you follow me on Twitter, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that I’m VERY EXCITED about today’s post! Back in November, I posted my thoughts on Defender by G.X. Todd and I am not exaggerating when I say that I am still thinking about this book! I can’t wait for the second book in the series.
So, I am hugely excited to welcome G.X. Todd to the blog today, on the final day of her Defender Blog Tour. Make sure to check out all of her other guest posts this week!
Over to Gemma! 😀
Ten books I read as a kid that turned me into a book devouring monster
I want to do something slightly different here and not just list a bunch of books. With that in mind, I’m going to hunt out some old copies I read as a kid and discuss why Young Me might have picked them. You’ll see I had quite a diverse taste in reading material for a 12-year-old girl…
Look at the state of this! I’ve given it a right battering. I was very lucky in Junior school in that my English teacher at the time read The Hobbit to my class. We were all around eight or nine. I think being exposed to Tolkien’s imagination set me up for life (I primarily read Fantasy and Sci-fi for most of my teenage years). I really like Smaug on this cover, too. Look how majestic he is!
What a beaut Space Trap is. I had a massive author crush on Monica Hughes. I read everything the library had to offer but this is where it all started. Even the title is bold and exciting. And it looks like that robot is kidnapping those kids! Space shenanigans!
“There was blackness with no space and time, no breath and no heartbeat…her throat had shrunk into a hard knot the way it does during a nightmare.”
This woman knew how to write, and she certainly knew which artist to pick to do her cover art.
Come on, that helmet is a blatant Storm Trooper rip-off. Young Me must have lapped it up. It has motorbikes, too. I bet I snatched it off the shelf and ran all the way home with it. Didn’t hear a peep out of me until tea-time.
It’s actually a fantastic book, one I’ve read a bunch of times. Westall’s Urn Burial is also ace. It has a space cat in it, and that’s all I’m saying.
“Beneath the arid crust of the moon there grew an alien being – one both beautiful and terrifying!” reads the back cover. And take note of that exclamation mark. They’re not messing around. Spaceman Benny looks happy with my choice, too. Probably because there’s a spaceship involved.
I remember this being much darker than I was expecting. I think it played on my mind for quite a while, but that’s good for a kid. It makes us realise not everything in this world is rosy.
Talking about children’s books that weren’t afraid to go to those dark places, do you remember these? I was given my first Choose Your Own Adventure at Asda in Wolverhampton. We must have bought something to make us qualify for a freebie, but I have no idea what. A grizzly bear alarm? Climbing apparatus? I mean, there’s a dead person on the front cover, for goodness sake. Still, I loved it. I read an awful lot of books that were derivatives of this, including Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy series.
For an idea of just how harsh some of the endings you could choose in these stories, have a read of this:
A Roald Dahl double-whammy. These covers bring back so many fond memories, and the illustrations haven’t dated at all. Testament to the talent of Mr Blake. My copies aren’t too shabby, either. This must have been during my “can’t crack the spine” phase, which lasted about ten years. Pocket money was so precious that when I spent it on books, I wanted to keep my purchases immaculate.
Look at this craggy-faced geezer! Why did I pick this up? He’s old and has unfashionably long hair for a guy (even for back when I was thirteen). Do you have any idea who he is or what book he’s from? Nope?
I read the whole Earthsea Trilogy (including Tehanu) and remember being completely enthralled by Sparrowhawk’s adventures (if not by his long flowing locks). I’ve not re-read the stories since and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the fear of ruining my childhood memories of it, the same way I refuse to re-watch episodes of Marshall BraveStarr. This period really was a golden age of reading for me. I was transported to magical, faraway worlds every time I cracked open a book. And it only cost me 10p.
The last two books I’m sharing are purely because they have awesome covers (I found them on my bookshelves while searching for this blog post).
I loved all the Douglas Hill books I read (most especially The Huntsman and Warriors of the Wasteland, which reminds me now of a kid’s version of the Aiel desert people from the Wheel of Time series). And all Hill’s books had these full wrap-around artwork on them. They’re like classic B-movie films. Hammy but great.
Anthony Masters’ Roadkill books are like a glimpse into the future of 2017.
“Massively powerful multinationals pacify and control the pampered few with brain implants and touch-screen instant-gratification television. The rest – mutants, renegades and worse – prowl the sickly polluted streets.”
From the front cover, I like to think I was exhibiting an early love for films like The Terminator and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. They were so hardcore and anarchic. My parents were lucky I never asked to have my hair cut into a Mohawk.
Argh, thank you so much, Gemma, for this incredible blog post! I love the format you chose and yes, yes, I remember those Fighting Fantasy books. I have plans to raid the bookshelves at my parents’ house to find my old copies!
Defender, the debut novel by G.X. Todd is out now. You can actually still get your hands on a limited edition signed copy from Goldsboro Books (it’s a beauty). Also be sure to follow Gemma on Twitter (@GemTodd).
All photos in this post were taken by G.X. Todd who gave me permission to post them here.