Read Some More Movies: Book Adaptations, Part II
On Tuesday I told you about some book adaptations that were coming soon, just in case you wanted to read the original source material first (you can read that here). There were a few more adaptations that I didn't get to mention in that post, so here is part two of the book to screen adaptation guide. Now you can have plenty of time to read the book(s) and impress your friends with your superior knowledge, ya nerd.
The Book: The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Show: Premiering on Syfy in 2016
I've wanted to write a whole post reviewing Lev Grossman's Magicians series since I first mentioned it way back in April of 2014. I've even written a few drafts, but it just turns into a tangled, stream of consciousness mess because I have too much to say. So please know that I really, really, really enjoy this series, and I'm very, very, very excited for SyFy's TV adaptation. They're making some changes, like aging up the characters and making Brakebills more of a grad school instead of a college, which I think is smart. And... see? I got excited and distracted talking about the series and I didn't even tell you what the books are about. Imagine one thousand words of that, and that's what a post about The Magicians would be like. You're welcome for never publishing that.
Here's my attempt at a very quick, spoiler-free synopsis: Quentin Coldwater is a high school kid living in Brooklyn who's incredibly smart, so smart that he's actually pretty bored with his life. Through a series of odd events he ends up getting accepted into Brakebills Academy, a school in Upstate New York that teaches students how to be magicians. If you're thinking, "That sounds like Harry Potter. " Yes, and that is intentional. Harry Potter exists in the world of The Magicians too, and students reference it when talking about Brakebills with this actual quote from the novel: "This isn't fucking Hogwarts."
And speaking of popular children's fantasy novels, Quentin is obsessed with the Fillory novels, which are basically The Chronicles of Narnia (again, intentionally). These novels center around the Chatwin children, who travel through portals to the magical land of Fillory. After graduation, Quentin is living with his friends from Brakebills in New York, wondering what to do with a Bachelor's in Magic, when they learn that Fillory is real.
I've left out a LOT of details, because like I said, I have tried to write a post telling you all to read this series about ten times and finally realized I can't make it coherent. Like I didn't even TALK about Julia, who is by far my favorite character, but about whom I have SO MANY things to say that I thought it best to just leave out of the synopsis altogether. I will say this though, if you do read the books: Julia is going to be okay. That's not a spoiler! It's just, things get bleak (for everyone, but especially for Julia) and I'd want someone to tell me that. Also, Alice is from my hometown, and based on the three sentences about it I doubt Lev Grossman so much as read the Urbana, Illinois Wikipedia page. And Penny! PENNY! Oh man. I'm very excited to see onscreen Penny as well (particularly a post-book one Penny, ahem). Quentin is completely unlikable throughout the whole series, and he makes terrible decisions and treats everyone like garbage, so while he's the protagonist, it's really those around him that shine. Can you tell I'm totally jazzed about this adaptation?
The Book: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Movie: In theaters January 15, 2016
The 5th Wave is a post-apocalyptic, alien invasion YA novel that's film adaptation is surely primed to be the next Hunger Games/Divergent/Maze Runner. It's a thrilling read that's not quite as nail-bitingly, heart-stoppingly intense as Charlie Higson's The Enemy, but it's close. The 5th Wave is the story of Cassie, a girl who is left to survive on her own as one of the last humans humans on Earth after aliens have systematically destroyed every component of civilization in waves (I won't tell you what the titular 5th wave is, but it's a doozy). Cassie is trying to survive on her own and reunite with her younger brother when she is shot, and then taken into a cabin in the woods by a hunky guy to recuperate. But is he all he appears to be?! Then there's Cassie's old crush Ben, from when they were just regular old high school kids who weren't being murdered by aliens. He's now Zombie (not actually a zombie, he's a guy who is called Zombie) and is working with soldiers who fight against the alien invasion. But then he discovers not all is as it seems... dun dun DUUUUUN.
Chloe Grace Moretz is playing Cassie in the movie, which is pretty perfect casting. She is excellent at being kickass and vulnerable simultaneously. Plus, she just also seems like the coolest. I'm fairly certain she's about 83% cooler than I am. Ben is being played by "Older Brother from Jurassic World," and Evan (the guy in the cabin) is being played by a British actor that I don't recognize from anything. Liev Schreiber plays Colonel Vosch, the baddie.
There were quite a few books that for various reasons I didn't include in my two-part guide. Many, many books that have had their film rights sold have had just that, and only that - their film rights sold. So while I'm very excited about potential screen adaptations of books that I've loved, it may be many years until we see those adaptations - or maybe never at all. For instance, I kept tabs on the film adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for years while it languished in development hell (it's still languishing), but when the stage rights were sold things moved right along, and it went on to win the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. Here are a few books that I recommend that you read, not only because they could potentially be on a screen near you soon, but also because they are wonderful.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
There's not much more that I can say about this book that I didn't say about it already, so I'll do some further shameless self-promo and tell you that I wrote a review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone (holy smoke [& bone] that was three years ago!) here.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Good GOD I love this series (I reviewed the first book here). I love Stiefvater. She is a phenomenal author, a Printz honor recipient for her novel The Scorpio Races (of which a film adaptation is also in development) and she has probably my favorite Tumblr.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
There doesn't seem to be an official title to what the trio of books set in the world of Graceling is called. Fire and Bitterblue both have "A Graceling Realm Book," which basically means that the books all take place in the same fictional world and sometimes characters cross between the books, but it's not like they are a series. It IS safe to say, though, that these books are all phenomenal and you should read them all because Cashore is a mindblowingly delightful author and I may have had some intense, tearful moments while reading both Graceling and Fire. (BTW, I wrote reviews of Graceling and Fire over on my old dinosaur of a blog waaay back in 2010, which you can read here and here). I stalk Kristin Cashore on her blog, so I know that she is currently in the revision stage of two (TWO!) novels, so I can attempt to be patient while I wait for those. But no promises. She's too amazing a writer to only have three books available for us to read.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
It's weird that this adaptation is in development hell, because when I read The Night Circus I saw it in my head as a movie. It's the type of book that almost seems as if it just already is a movie, you know? Anyway, not to rag on The Night Circus, because in 2011 I really did enjoy this book, but I feel like we've all kind of moved on to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by now, so maybe it's for the best.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Of all these book adaptations, this is the one that I think is most likely to be onscreen the soonest. And before you assume that I'm about to whip out my Gender Studies degree and tell you it's because THIS book was written by a MAN, that's not why. It's because this book is the most commercially viable and can be described as even tangentially similar to The Hunger Games. A creative person could pitch Red Rising to a room full of executives (i.e., non-creative people) and they would hear, "$$$$," so they put it on the fast track, and suddenly all of us are in the theater seeing the coolest book be turned into (hopefully) the coolest movie. I actually wrote about Red Rising briefly in the same post where I mentioned The Magicians. Like The Martian, it also takes place on Mars, but in Red Rising we're on a terraformed Mars, so it's significantly less space-y. Also there are significantly more people. Like thousands more. And war games! And some next-level violence! (Red Rising is more Battle Royale than TheHunger Games.) (But it's more Mockingjay than Battle Royale.) Also, those two parenthetical statements might not make sense if you haven't read Red Rising, but if you have, I may have just blown your whole mind. Anyway, like I said a year and a half ago, you need to read Red Rising, because not only is it A+ excellent, but at any moment it's going to be A Big Thing, and you're going to want to have gotten in on the ground floor.