After a slight break to feature various spooky monsters, I’m heading back to the ship “Serenity” to finish off a few more characters. I promised you all I would not leave you hanging. Back in September I told you all about the crew of “Serenity.” The comments section hit on an obvious title that I overlooked so I wanted to make sure that it was added. Blog reader Shari said that Kaylee would also love Cinder by Marissa Meyer. After I read that comment, I mentally kicked myself and I’m not ashamed to say it hurt a bit. Of course Kaylee would love the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! Not only is it futuristic, it’s set in a world where Chinese influences run abundantly…just like Kaylee’s world. Also, with as much as she likes to take apart and fix “Serenity,” she would love a story where cyborgs run freely. Great suggestion! I just wish I thought of it first. :P
Ok, back to the ship.
Inara Serra – Inara is a very proper lady by those viewing her merely for her profession. A companion is basically a fancy prostitute and Inara holds her head up high at the prestige she gains. However, we witness every episode a subconscious, or sometimes very conscious, desire for real love. Her schoolyard relationship with Mal makes the audience cheer for their snarky exteriors to melt away and their true romantic feelings to take the lead. That is why I believe that Inara would love books that regard strong female characters in a positive light, but still has a bit of romance. I would recommend The Selection by Kiera Cass to Inara particularly because America stands tall with her convictions instead of following the crowd of wannabee princesses. The romance is there, but it’s America who decides to whom those romantic tendencies will flourish. In a similar vein, I would slip Inara Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. This title is a bit more romance, but the secrets kept by the main characters definitely taking center stage over the romance from time to time. And I believe that Inara’s secrets are fairly unmatched.
Shepherd Book – While some might believe that it would be difficult to find a book for Shepherd Book, I completely disagree. I’ve been sitting on the perfect book for him. I would definitely give him Godless by Pete Hautman. In Godless, the main character and his friends explore the meaning of religion and eventually create a religion based on the town water tower. Shepherd seems like someone who is interested in the meaning behind spirituality, whether it’s his religion or not. Similarly, I would also recommend There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff. In this book, God is represented by a teenage boy named Bob. Shepherd is obviously the spiritual moral compass upon “Serenity” in the same way that Kaylee is the calming demeanor on the ship. While none of the ship’s inhabitants share the same beliefs as Shepherd, it’s his mere presence that keeps everyone considering their next steps. I believe that it’s Shepherd’s constant need for understanding that would keep him reaching out for new ideas, particularly those found in these two titles.
Simon Tam – Out of all the inhabitants on “Serenity,” Simon is my least favorite, mainly because his character is created because of his sister River. There are a few times where we see Simon’s personality, particularly when he gets drunk in Canton and starts flirting with Kaylee. Other than these rare occurrences, everything about Simon revolves around River. He is only thinking about her and it kind of makes him a bit of a one-dimensional character. I’m expecting disagreements here, so feel free to tell me why I’m wrong. For this reason, I would recommend him books like The Night my Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci. In this book, Kurt’s sister goes missing and he listens to the details explained by others that piece together what happened to her. So the recommendation isn’t just a dark thrilling story, I would also give him The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. In this story, a boy and his sister are captured by Viking Beserkers and Jack must remedy a spell-gone-wrong or else the queen will kill his sister. This story is a bit more fun at times than the other title. Also, it makes me think of Simon dealing with trolls, which is a bit comical.
River Tam – Finally we come to River Tam. River is a conundrum of a character. She adopts whatever persona fits the situation. Sometimes she acts as an innocent child while other times she takes up weapons and defends the ship and crew. She knows more than anyone can possibly understand. Recommending books to River is the equivalent of giving a gift to the guy who has everything. You could give River anything and she would read it just to gain the knowledge within, whether necessary or not. I would give River a serious title and a more light-hearted title. For the serious title, I would give her Ender’s Game by 2008 Edwards Award winner Orson Scott Card and follow it up with the other books in the series. I find a lot of similarities to River and Ender. Both were removed from their families at a young age. Both later discovered that they were training to be a catalyst for a group of untrustworthy adults. As for a more entertaining read, I would give River Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. While the description of this book is a bit complicated, full of reincarnation and complex character histories, I believe that River would enjoy reading this title.
As always, feel free to add your opinions in the comment section. It’s possible I missed something here or there.
-Brandi Smits, currently reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson