Yay, I love this question! There are so many great underrated books out there that aren’t as well known simply because they didn’t get the major advertising behind them. Your book can be the best thing since the invention of the printing press, but unless people know it exists, it’s not going to do well. There are a few specific books that spring to mind for this post that I haven’t assigned for other days of the 30 Day Book Challenge, so once more unto the breach dear friends…!
The first novel that popped into my head and knew I had to mention was The Dream Merchant by Isabel Hoving. Keeping in mind that I read this a very long time ago and it was an involved plot, allow me to direct you to the Goodreads blurb:
Josh Cope is a bit of a dreamer… who sometimes steals things. Otherwise, he’s just your average boy. So why is an international corporation calling him in the middle of the night, insisting that he come and work for them? Why would they be so convinced that Josh is the key to conquering their new market — the past? Drawn into this astonishing, whirlwind adventure, Josh soon finds himself in the middle of a nightmare, caught in a place between dreams and reality. For Josh and his friends to find their way back, they must follow a trail that takes them right into the very heart of the human imagination — and to the furthest ends of time itself.
Hmm, it doesn’t exactly make you jump to read the book does it? I’ve been looking around the internet trying to find more information to help jog my memory but there doesn’t seem to be much, probably because it was translated from Dutch to English.
This massive book (I’m going to estimate it has somewhere around 600-800 pages) first caught my attention in the school library with its mysterious cover. As a fantasy fan I couldn’t resist its calling for long and soon checked it out. I remember being enthralled by it. The story was so unusual, innovative and complex although at times confusing. I vaguely recall that it followed a boy recruited to work for a massive company that was in the business of dreams. They used children to go in and out of them to sell objects like salesmen (I think) until something went wrong on one mission and some children got stuck there. They start to question whether the intentions of the company are entirely good, chaos breaks out, time gets warped, disaster strikes, but will they ever make it out of the mysterious dream world to get back home? I know sounds completely random (probably because I can’t remember the details) but it was amazing, believe me. 🙂
Not only was the story unpredictable, but I had absolutely no idea how it was going to conclude. I remember thinking it had similar aspects to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, the first book of which was adapted into a film renamed The Golden Compass. Of course, because I read The Dream Merchant a while back it is possible that it is not as great as I remember it. I hope I can reread it again at some point!
The second most underrated book that comes to mind is Being by Kevin Brooks. I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction thrillers like these normally, but Kevin Brooks is a pretty gifted author yet doesn’t seem to get much of the limelight. I’ve read several of his books now but this was the first one I discovered that led me to pursue his further works. The story follows a teen named Robert who wakes up in the middle of open surgery and discovers he has all sorts of wires and metal in his stomach. Panicking he gets away and goes on the run wondering what the hell he is and whether he is even human.
The book is far from perfect like many others, but it’s fast paced, action packed and keeps you guessing for most of the way through. Brooks has a very distinct style, he’s outspoken, cynical and not afraid to shine a light on the more gritty sides of life. He’s one of those authors that isn’t for everyone as his books can verge on the uncomfortable side. He often leaves his stories somewhat open ended too which could frustrate some readers, but I have yet to find another author quite like him.
The last underrated book I want to tell you guys about is The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman (also known as The Genius in some countries). Weirdly enough, I first found out about this novel because it was being praised by multiple book websites online, yet no one seems to know about it! I’m not normally a thriller or mystery kind of fan but this book is far better than your average paperback thriller. The writing is sophisticated with some great imagery. It follows an art dealer who gets mixed up with an artist that may be responsible for some brutal crimes. To find out more you can check out my recent review of the book here from last year! 🙂
Have you ever read an underrated book that is either unknown or slated regularly only to discover how fantastic it is? I love discovering less mainstream or under-appreciated books! 🙂
What’s the 30 Day Book Challenge you ask? Click here and find out.
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P.S. My blog just told me at 3 minutes to 3am yesterday, or well, today technically I guess, that I have reached 1337 blog likes!!!
I’m not sure why they picked such a random number as a blog milestone but WOWZAS, thank you so much everybody! 🙂 You’re amazing for reading and I find it almost surreal that you haven’t gotten bored of me yet, I must be good at talking nonsense! 😀
Header banner: My own, please do not reuse.
Book Cover The Dream Merchant: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1443200.The_Dream_Merchant
Book Cover Being by Kevin Brooks: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3106403-being Book Cover The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4884082-the-brutal-art
Blog Milestone: My own print screen.