The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, Fallen. Over the past decade, theaters have been flooded with the film adaptations of popular fantasy novels. Some of them have actually been good adaptations. Others, well…just aren’t worth talking about.
But amidst all the hype surrounding those adaptations, the production rights for a handful of award-winning, best-selling fantasy novels have been quietly bought up. A quiet announcement has been made here and there, but most readers just haven’t heard the news yet. That’s going to change–these books are absolutely amazing, and the quality of the actors and producers associated with their adaptations means that those films actually stand a good chance of being decent.
People who have already read these books are, like me, probably screaming for joy right now. But if you haven’t read them, you need to put them at the top of your to-read list, ASAP.
1. The Queen of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling Series: Book 1) by Erika Johansen
I’ll admit it: the only reason I even picked up this book was because I read an article in which Emma Watson praised the book and announced that she intended to both star in and produce the film adaptation. Emma is basically a goddess, so I bought a copy. But as soon as I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. This book is breathtakingly gritty, has a relatable-yet-badass heroine, and is rife with the sort of brutal political intrigues that would satisfy even the most bloodthirsty Game of Thrones fan.
The film is still in development–there are have been almost no updates since Emma’s announcement two years ago–but I, for one, have my fingers crossed that The Queen of the Tearling will be Emma’s next project after Beauty and the Beast.
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Saga: Book 1) by Laini Taylor
When I first started reading this one, Taylor’s novel reminded me of a really twisted version of the Tooth Fairy: her protagonist, a seventeen-year old art student named Karou, collects teeth (human, animal, doesn’t matter) to sell on the demon black market. Creepy, right? But as I kept reading, the emotional arc and sumptuous descriptions captivated me. The film has been in development for a while now, but I know that when it’s finally finished, the visuals alone will blow us all away.
3. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy: Book 1) by Deborah Harkness
Harkness’s debut novel is, in a word, enchanting. The protagonist, Diana Bishop, is a yoga enthusiast, tea addict, and world-class historian. She’s also a witch. But when she discovers a bewitched manuscript deep in the archives of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, her powers aren’t enough to protect her from the vampires and daemons determined to get their hands on it. She enlists the aid of Matthew Clairmont (a 1,500-year old vampire and geneticist), but as they start to unlock the secrets of the mysterious manuscript, they realize that those secrets could be more complicated–and more dangerous–than they ever imagined.
Witty, complex, intellectually compelling, and a national bestseller–it’s no wonder that the production rights to A Discovery of Witches were immediately snapped up. Harkness, working as an executive producer and writer, is currently collaborating with producers Jane Tranter, Ashley Pharoah, and Bad Wolf on the scripts, casting, and pre-production details for a television adaptation of the novel.
Which movie are you most excited for? Do you think the film adaptations will stay true to the books? Who would you choose to play your favorite character? Do you know of any other book-to-movie adaptations no one knows about? Share your thoughts!
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