Thursday, April 5, 2012

My favorite childhood book

I was a voracious reader as a child, and remember discovering so many incredible books: Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure, Roald Dahl's Matilda, Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. But looking back at all the books I consumed and returned to time and time again, one book sticks out above all the others: The Lost King by Margaret Weis, and the following two books in the series The Star of the Guardians.*

Not familiar with it? I'm always surprised how many people aren't. The author, Margaret Weis, is much more famous for her partnership with Tracy Hickman, and their creation of D&D and the first Dragonlance books. But she's always said her favorite of her series was The Star of the Guardians.

A space opera (part sci-fi, part fantasy) The Lost King begins 17 years after the galactic rebellion, which resulted in the murder of the king and queen and the dissolution of the monarchy. A corrupt general is amassing an army, planning to use his might to rule the galaxy himself. But unbeknownst to almost everyone, a small group of monarchists are harboring the lost king, a boy who was born 17 years ago on the night of the rebellion.

The Star of the Guardians has everything: a ruthless warlord, hungry for power, yet secretly yearning for the woman he has always loved; the greatest sword fighter in the galaxy, whose dreams and duty conflict with the only person who could ever make her happy; a young boy who is ignorant of his roots; a working class cargo driver who stumbles into protecting the lost king;  a snarky ship computer who wins arguments by disabling the heat and light in his spaceship; a multitude of aliens, planets, and spaceships...

I warn you, I could go on and on! Star of the Guardians is so rich in humor, love, drama, and adventure. Plus, it was one of the first novels I ever encountered starring a woman who is as tough and strong (if not more so) as any of her male counterparts.

And I'm not alone in loving it. Reading the reviews of it on Goodreads, so many others discovered this novel in middle school / high school and have treasured it since. A few complain that it's totally derivative of Star Wars, which is probably true, but who doesn't love Star Wars? And Star of the Guardians has so many other, wonderful things, uniquely its own.

I've read it so many times, my copy of The Lost King is filled with dog eared pages and the cover is secured in place with tape. I would hug it right now if it wasn't sitting in storage in Chicago!

Any other Star of the Guardians fans out there? What's your favorite childhood book?

*Note: The Star of the Guardians started life as a trilogy, but several years afterwards Weis wrote another novel in the series. However, I pretend this fourth novel, Ghost Legion, does not exist.

20 comments:

  1. I have not read Weis, but thank you for sharing this. I somehow missed her work. I just read the reviews on Goodreads. I added book 1 in the series to my wish list.

    My favorite childhood book was James and the Giant Peach. I read it many times.

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    1. Oh, I so hope you like Weis! I'm a little nervous now! ;)

      I read James and the Giant Peach a number of times, too! Actually, I can perfectly remember the cover of my copy. How funny, like it's still stored in a little back room in my mind.

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  2. Wow! I hadn't heard of this - but it sounds great! It's going on my TBR list!

    My favorite childhood book(s) were The Black Stallion series and Nancy Drew! (I read all the time!)

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    1. Oh good, I really hope you enjoy it, Julia! It's funny, I hadn't mean this post to proselytize Weis, but it does make me totally happy to do so!

      Mmmm... yes, lots of Nancy Drew in my childhood as well! I read them all out of order, so was always hoping to discover one I hadn't read yet.

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  3. This totally sounds like my kind of book! Off to put it on my list. :-)

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    1. Ohhh, I hope you like it! I'm a little nervous you won't, but also so happy to share this beloved book with friends!

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  4. I just tried to request The Lost King from my local library system, and I'm disappointed that they don't have it! But I'm adding it to my Recommended-Books list, to hopefully read some day. ;)

    There were so many books I loved as a kid, but the one that was my favorite for the longest was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. And before that it was Goodnight Mr. Tom, by Michelle Magorian. --Monica

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    1. Ohhh, I hope you enjoy it, Monica! It does seem like your type of book! I'm surprised you haven't encountered it before.

      You know, I've never read Goodnight, Mr. Tom? Never even heard of it until I moved here. I really need to check it out.

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    2. Thinking of "space opera", I wanted to add my own recommendation for the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I think there are 10-15 books in the series by now, and they've got multi-planet Empires, wars, intrigue, romance, and characters that I really love! Since a friend introduced them to me about 10 years ago, they've been the books that I re-read the most often. ;) I recommend reading them chronologically (as opposed to by publication date), starting with Cordelia's Honor. --Monica.

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    3. Funny, I just had Lois McMaster Bujold's name pop up in another circumstance. Definitely on my SOON TBR list now. Thank you--especially for telling me where to start; I don't think that was the first book I had written down.

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  5. Hmm...I really am trying to think. I was a "weird" kid so I'm really thinking it was something like Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT or something (I had a thing for horror when I was like 10-13 years old). LOL.

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    1. Nah, I don't think liking Stephen King as a kid is weird. Lots of people I know did! I, however, was way too much of a wimp! ;)

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  6. Add me to the list who have never heard of this book. It sounds interesting though. I'll add it to my tbr rec bks by Anne list. :)

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  7. I used to read up as a child, too. If you like space operas, there a good one coming out May 1 called Elemental by Emily White.

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    1. Children today are so lucky; there's so much more written for them.

      I've heard rumblings about Elemental, but nothing concrete. Off to look it up now, thanks for the rec!

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  8. I didn't get turned on to reading until I was an adult. I'm sure I missed out on a lot. Reading your post made me think of the books my children were hooked on when they were young. Where the Red Fern Grows stands out in my memory as one we had to read over and over. And then there was the movie - we'd check it out from the library and on the day we had to return it, we would hang around long enough to see it reshelved so we could check it out again. Then of course, there was the movie sequel: after one viewing we pretended it didn't exist, so I get what you mean about Ghost Legion ;)

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    1. How lovely that you're getting to discover some of these children's books through your kids, though.

      I loved Where the Red Fern Grows, too. But I don't know that I've ever seen the movie! Love that image of you and your kids waiting until it's back on the shelf to check it out again. So sweet!

      And yes, there's a few movies and books that I like to pretend don't exist. It makes my brain a much happier place. So glad to know I'm not the only person who does this! ;)

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  9. Hmm, I love me a good space opera. Must read this!

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    1. Had I realized this book was so unknown, I would have blabbed about it much sooner (and much more often!). Hope you like it!

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