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Top Ten Gateway Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been surrounded by books and two parents who love to read. I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a reader, though my reading has definitely waxed and waned over the years. There are a few books that really stick out as books that started a reading obsession at various points in my “pre-blogging” life, and then there are a bunch that I discovered through blogging that encouraged me in new directions!

Childhood Favorites

The Dragonriders of Pern Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I’ll be talking more about my introduction to The Dragonriders of Pern in a post in April, but suffice to say that this is where my love of dragons started ;-). I read all the Pern books and a lot of McCaffrey’s other series in a big ol’ reading phase in my pre-teen years. I think that was around the same time that I was given Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for a birthday and started reading it in secret (because it’s fun to pretend your parents wouldn’t approve I guess?). Between these two worlds, I was thoroughly hooked on fantasy for all of my teenage existence, haha.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset

In high school I discovered Heinlein through a random copy of Stranger in a Strange Land on my English teacher’s shelf. I will be the first to admit that Heinlein’s books have some problems, but I read To Sail Beyond the Sunset at just the right point in my teen years to really connect to Maureen. I opened up this book in the middle after a hard breakup because I knew that Maureen would make me feel better about relationships ending. I also realized that sci-fi could be a tool to pose philosophical arguments about our own society and alternatives to our society. This has remained an important aspect of sci-fi to me ;-).

Magic Bites Moon Called

At some point in high school my parents and I started reading Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson and we’ve obviously never looked back ;-). I didn’t really know what urban fantasy was as a genre until reading these two series and this was way before I knew what Twilight was obviously, so the idea of werewolves and vampires in modern day seemed really unique. I’ve read a number of other UF series, but I think these two still hold my top favorites spot, hehe.


When I was a junior in college a friend at the time handed me a copy of Mistborn after I mentioned that I liked fantasy. I actually didn’t get into it when I first started reading it because of all the politics, but I was won over eventually ;-). I was horrified after devouring this series to realize that Brandon Sanderson had been at a con in Minneapolis the year before that I had missed! Mistborn was obviously the gateway book to my Brandon Sanderson obsession though, haha.

Blogging Discoveries

Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky was my first foray into books actually labeled Young Adult. I’m sure that older books I had read kind of count as YA since they have teenage characters, but it wasn’t a “thing” at the time ya know? In any case, I actually didn’t think YA was for me after Under the Never Sky since I liked the plot and world, but thought it was too mushy. Tastes change huh? ;-)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

While Daughter of Smoke and Bone was certainly not my first audiobook, I think it was the first one that really really sold me on audiobooks. Previously I had considered them convenient ways to fit in extra books, but Daughter of Smoke and Bone showed me just how much an amazing narrator can improve a book experience. I’ve listened to both of these on audio and have decided to do the same with book three even though it’ll then take me longer. I also hope that an audiobook will be as amazing as these when I go searching on Audible!

Dealing with Dragons

Yes, I completely missed The Enchanted Forest Chronicles when they were age appropriate, but I discovered them recently! I don’t think I had thought a lot about reading juvenile/Middle-Grade fiction before picking up these books, but they completely sold me on how much fun MG can be. I now eagerly seek out MG fantasy especially because it can be just the right light-hearted read between all those dystopias ;-).

Destiny Binds

Tammy Blackwell handed me a copy of Destiny Binds when I was at a con and mentioned that I was a book blogger. I didn’t even really know what indie publishing was at the time, but that one interaction has kept me hopeful about all indie books that I’ve encountered since. I love all of Tammy’s writing and think she definitely convinced me that indie books can be just as high quality as traditionally-published books!

What books were gateways for you? Did you purposefully try out that genre or just stumble upon it?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. So organized and chronological! I struggled with this list. It was like reaching into a dark abyss for teeny tiny scraps of memory. But your obsessions with sci-fi and fantasy totally make sense now! ;)

    Side question: was Daughter of Smoke and Bone better on audio than paper? I just finished the first book and can’t say I was thrilled.

    Thanks for the awesome list!
    Kel recently posted…All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (4 stars)My Profile

    • Omg I hear ya. I had to look back in my Goodreads and try to remember the first books that I added to that. Haha, only a little obsessed right? ;-)

      I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I listened, though I never read it on paper so I can’t compare, hehe. Were you not a fan of the romance at the end? The second book is much much darker than the first.

      • The romance at the end and the…everything? I’m not sure what exactly it was off the top of my head, but I remember my review notes including at least three or four mini-rants. Maybe a combination of the characters, romance, giant flashback, etc.?
        Kel recently posted…All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (4 stars)My Profile

        • Haha, are you a Zuzanna hater? ;-) The flashback/romance at the end threw me as well and that is definitely not a thing in the second book, but obviously the characters are still there, hehe. I dunno, maybe you still wouldn’t like it, but it is much different so I’m kind of curious now!

  2. I’ve got Under the Never Sky in my TBR pile. Too mushy, you say? Oh, dear.

    I loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but I read it rather than listened to it. I haven’t had the best luck with audiobooks. Sometimes the narrators’ voices really grate on the nerves. Although, one of my favourites is the abridged version of Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, which was narrated by Kate Maberly. Her voice was absolutely perfect for the audiobook. It’s too bad it wasn’t unabridged!
    La Coccinelle recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading JourneyMy Profile

    • Hehe, to be fair, I’ve mellowed and I think I would like it more these days. The romance is quite solid, so I have to give it props for that!

  3. Great picks! I’ll have to check out Dealing with Dragons. I’m not huge on MG either. Some of it I’ve read is great, but most is pretty meh, so I’d be glad to read something great! :D
    My TTT
    Liesel Hill recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Red-Letter Books/Authors on my Reading JourneyMy Profile

    • Dealing with Dragons is so cute :D I really need to find the last two books, they just make me so cheerful ;-)

  4. Ah yes, the Dragonriders of Pern series – I think lots of us started our love of dragons that way! Make sure you check out my review for today – it’s a book that should not be missed!
    Nicole Hewitt recently posted…5 Star Review – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary by Merriam WebsterMy Profile

  5. Jessica @ a GREAT read says:

    OOh nice picks! Lots of Harry today! That’s definitely a milestone for a lot of us! Remember reading it in 6th grade and was so quickly hooked!

    I keep debating over Rossi’s books. Your comments have me hesitating though… Still might have to try them out. They sounded sort of interesting.

    Great list!

    Here’s my Tuesday post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

    • I think if I read them right now I would like them a lot more. They are fast and interesting, I was just less interested in romance plot lines back then than I am now ;-)

  6. Reading other people’s post is just reminding me of books I didn’t mention or situations I should have thought of like audio books. HP, of course, was a huge part of my reading life. I still need to read Kate Daniels, but I have the first book waiting for me. I also have Daughter of Smoke & Bone in audio on my iPod so I’m thinking I need to listen to that one soon. Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews recently posted…TOP TEN TUESDAY: Gateway Books In My Reading JourneyMy Profile

    • That always happens to me too, haha! I hope you get a chance to listen to Daughter of Smoke and Bone soon :D

  7. This list is great! Mistborn didn’t make my list this week, but it often does! Magicians is probably the book that got me into adult fantasy. I really need to go read The Dragonriders of Pern
    Caitie F recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In Our Reading JourneyMy Profile

    • It’s always fun to add Mistborn to lists, haha. Oo, I don’t think I’ve read Magicians, must remedy!

  8. Go indie books! I’ve never actually listed to more than two of three chapters in an audio books because, basically when it comes to audio books i have the attention span of a four year old! Great list! =)
    Nobody@The Story Goes… recently posted…Top Ten Tuesdays #9 – Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading JourneyMy Profile

  9. I loved checking out your list – and DOSB, while not my first audiobook, it really sold me on Hvam as a wonderful narrator.
    Tanya Patrice recently posted…Weekly Reading With The Twelve by Justin Cronin {The Audiobook Edition}My Profile

  10. Ellie M. says:

    I loved Daighter of Smoke & Bone as an audiobook, it was definitely an amazing experience. Another one that I loved was Beautiful Creatures, their performance was off the chain! Great list :)
    Ellie M. recently posted…[Top Ten Tuesday] (23)My Profile

  11. Lots of amazing books on your list! Some I’ve heard of, but I’ve read at least half your list. :)
    Kristen recently posted…Top Ten “Gateway” Books In My Reading JourneyMy Profile

  12. Awesome that Mistborn was your gateway Brandon Sanderson novel ;) I definitely heard of it first but Elantris was the first book I read by him so that became my gateway novel to his books/imagination/world :)

    Great list! My TTT

    • Oo I really loved Elantris too! That’s the one I’m most likely to reread I think since I just was so happy reading it, ha

  13. Huh. Pern would be near the top of my list as well. Harry Potter was more my little sisters age range though.

    Completely unrelated, but I am actually listening to Moon Called right now.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…On Misleading Cover SynopsesMy Profile

  14. Incredibrarian says:

    I was luck that my first experience with audiobooks (Harry Potter) was a good one. Jim Dale is a fantastic narrator, as is Roy Dotrice of the Game of Thrones series. After that, I found several stinkers that just couldn’t keep me interested. But they’re coming around again.

    I might give the Smoke and Bone series a try on audio.
    Incredibrarian recently posted…Teaser Tuesday: Girl Defective by Simmone HowellMy Profile

  15. Patricia Briggs was a last year discovery for me and Illona this year. You would think I would have read them sooner. They are so good!
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Dungeon Royale by Lexi BlakeMy Profile

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