I’ve been falling behind on blogging recently, but I couldn’t resist this week’s intriguing topic, which asks book lovers to pick two books that they think would make an epic story if combined. I’ve broadened the topic slightly to, in some cases, speculate on what the combined powers of two awesome authors might create, so here are 10 (+1!) collaborations I would love to see!
Want to join in the fun? Head on over to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!
1. Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
This is probably the most obvious combination on my list. I suspect there’s a lot of crossover between the fanbases for Schwab’s Shades of Magic world and Bardugo’s lovable criminal element, the Dregs, and why not? Both authors are masters of plotting who keep us hooked with plot twist after plot twist, high stakes action, and lovable flawed characters. How I would love to see these two worlds collide! Inej and Lila deep in conversation about their knives, Kell’s eternal frown becoming even more eternal at Kaz’ behaviour, Nina and Rhy hanging out. Please someone make this happen!
2. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
Doctrine of Labyrinths by Sarah Monette
Look, sometimes you just want to watch the world burn – well, in fiction anyway. I’m quite happy to surround myself with less chaotic friends and colleagues in real life, but in fictional worlds it is fun to watch the drama and chaos that sometimes ensues. That would be literally any interaction between Kushner’s Alec, a sharp-tongued, university educated, nobleman brat who likes to bait people and then sic his expert swordsman boyfriend on them, and Monette’s Felix Harrowgate, a flamboyant, vicious educated wizard. Do I want to see them snark at eachother, with glints in their eyes and sharp-tongues taking lashes off of eachother while Richard (the swordsman boyfriend) and Mildmay (Felix’s assassin half-brother) glower at eachother? Yes, yes I do.
3. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
When I read The Poppy War recently, during Rin’s education at Sinegard I often found myself thinking about The Name of the Wind. There are a lot of similarities between Kvothe’s studies at the University and Rin’s schooling. Against the odds both of them attend a school where they make somewhat poor life choices and enroll under the tutelage of a possibly insightful and magical professor who is viewed by his colleagues and students as crazy. Rothfuss lacks great female characters though and I’d love to see Rin, the ruthless, driven heroine of my heart, teach Kvothe a thing or two!
4. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Both Sorcerer to the Crown and the Shades of Magic trilogy are historical fantasy novels with a basis in the same period of English history, the early nineteenth century. It took me awhile to come up with this combination and I’m shocked it took so long, because the books seem like such a natural fit. Although Prunella has a decidedly sunnier and less, um, murder-y disposition than Lila Bard, they’re both the “Prunella/Lila, no!” “Prunella/Lila YES!” types to the more serious male partner. Zacharias and Kell could probably have a frown off while these two ladies who go against everything that was expected of a woman in the early 1800s would undoubtedly get along well… and get up to quite a bit of mischief and magic!
5. The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
Although she wrote historical fiction (and a series of unrelated mysteries), Dorothy Dunnett had left a lasting impression on fantasy authors. For anyone who has read her Lymond Chronicles, this is not a huge surprise. The six-book series often feels more akin to the epic scale and dramatics found in a fantasy novel, although its actual fantasy aspects are limited to the inclusion of prophecy and astrology. Naturally I’ve considered combining Lymond with actual fantasy worlds. The Name of the Wind would be an interesting choice for a few reasons. Both protagonists have strong ties to and a talent for music – watching a competition or even a duet between Kvothe and Lymond would be something to see indeed! I’ve mentioned before that I have issues with the way in which Rothfuss writes female characters in his series though, especially the love interest Denna who has about as much depth and personality as a cardboard cut-out. In contrast, Dunnett (although it takes awhile to get there) shapes a heroine who is Lymond’s equal in every way. Rothfuss could learn a thing or two from Dorothy Dunnett!
6. Neil Gaiman
Honestly, I’ve never encountered anything quite as flat out weird as works by these two authors! Neil Gaiman, particularly in his Sandman graphic novels, which feature the anthropomorphic personification of Dreams through adventures that range from a genuinely moving day spent with his perky goth sister Death as she takes souls to encounters with Shakespeare, showcases a truly out there imagination. Jeff VanderMeer does much the same thing in Borne, a novel that’s wildly unique, touching, and written in a distinctly visual style. I’d love to see the amazing, wacky, visual things their combined brain power could produce!
7. Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
Protagonists Francis Crawford of Lymond and Cyril DePaul are interesting cases because on the surface they’re very similar. Both are blue-eyed, blonde younger children of wealthy families, both are physically and emotionally scarred by events that have happened in their pasts, and both are spies and, at times, are or appear to be double agents. However, while Lymond cares deeply about his family and loved ones, he also cares about his country. Cyril immediately rolls over and plays double agent, acting against his government. I’d love to read a novella that was just a conversation or series of conversations between the two. Also, Lymond is a man ahead of his (1500s) time in many ways. How I would love to see him in another world like Amberlough, which is inspired by the early twentieth century. Can’t you just see Francis Crawford of Lymond acting in early films?
8. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Yes, I’ve cheated and picked three books for this one (it’s my birthday – I’m allowed a little wiggle room!) – I just couldn’t resist this combination of ruthless, morally ambiguous heroines! Brutal patriotic Prince Lada, Coldly efficient accountant Baru, and hardened passionate Shaman Rin; What boundaries couldn’t these three conquer?! I don’t imagine it would be easy – all three are stubborn, used to working alone, and single-mindedly focused on their goals (often revenge), but how I would love to see them join forces!
9. The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte
The Divine Cities Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett
When I was in university, my favourite author was Jack Whyte. He had a way of making any tale come alive with his exquisite storytelling ability. Unfortunately, I knew even then that his stories were largely populated by men. Mostly (exclusively?) white men. I don’t remember the female characters having much in the way of roles and I’ve been hesitant to re-read because I suspect his books won’t hold up well these days. I would love to see Whyte join forces with or, in an ideal world, even revise the Camulod Chronicles with the help of Robert Jackson Bennett, whose detailed grasp of (invented) mythology would gell well with Whyte’s largely mythic style of writing. I hugely admired Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy because the female characters (and especially the women of colour protagonists) were so well-written that I honestly couldn’t tell they had been written by a man. Imagine the stories they could tell together, in a book where the female characters are as interesting as the men, the characters diverse, and the mythology and gift for storytelling heightened in the hands of these two capable men.
10. The Imperial Radch Trilogy by Ann Leckie
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
For my money, these are two of the most exciting authors actively writing in the science-fiction and fantasy genre. A few years back I started to tire of the sci-fi and fantasy genre because so many of the books were trope-filled epic high fantasy sagas by white dudes. Some of these books are very good, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something fresh and interesting. I started actively seeking out diverse genre fiction and I found these two women. I’ve never read a book by Jemisin or Leckie that I didn’t like. They’ve been a big reason why my love for the genre has been revitalized and I would love to see what these tremendously talented world-builders, who both write books that deal with issues of social justice, could come up with together.
11. The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
(literally anything, but especially) Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
A confession: I love daemon-verse stories. Some people are fascinated by considering Harry Potter AUs and what animal a character’s patronus would be. I love ‘daemon-verse’ AUs where every character has a daemon, an external (usually opposite sex) talking animal that is an exterior manifestation of the soul. I’ll read most fanfic or speculation that deals with daemons, so I would love to see Pullman’s alternate universe set stories combined with any of my favourites, but I’d especially like to read a crossover with Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier series. Amberlough features double-lives, and some of the subtlest depictions of love and relationships I’ve ever seen. This could be so effectively conveyed in Pullman’s universe, where there are taboos, such as touching another person’s daemon, that could easily convey the depth of emotion between two individuals who never say they love one another, but obviously, in the end, do.
Would you like to read any of these imagined books? Which authors would you love to see collaborate? Let me know in the comments.