Hi Geek Gurus.

I am 13 years old and have just finished reading all of the Harry Potter books. I found GeekSpeakMagazine when I was googling advice about what to read next. Can you help? There are too many sites telling what’s ‘the next Harry Potter’ and I can’t choose. I never thought I would like books about magic but now I think I might.



P.S. I am a girl.


Dear Wanttoread,

I applaud your need to read things. Well done. Singlehandedly you are trying to make up for all those lazy millennials that non-millennials seem to hate with the fury of a thousand suns.

Back to reading. I have never been one for magic books. And since you’ve taken the initiative to write to a webzine, I am going to think you are smarter than the average bear, and deserving of a more sophisticated books than all those crappy teen fantasy series. Seriously, if you read those, you’ll end up on a slow death spiral towards vampire romance novels, and trust me, you don’t want to go there.

So there are the standard classics of YA genre: A Wrinkle in Time, Ender, The Lord of the Rings, and Orson Scott Card’s lesser known Seventh Son. Seventh Son is about magic. So is Lord of the Rings, as you may already know.

Or you could read anything ever written by Neil Gaiman. Seriously. he’s awesome. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Stardust, The Graveyard Book: all a good start. Sort of magic.

Remember that we are all #fierce and #nastywomen and (for good measure #ownbossy) and that sappy-teen-magic novels do not become us. Go embrace your girl power. And read books written by men.

Damn it. Fail.


I have to tell you, Wanttoread, that I am not a 13-year old girl. Nor have I ever been one (well, except for once). I have it on good authority that A, however, either is or was, a 13-year girl herself. Thus, if you prefer to discount my suggestions and have A become your new online heroine, I totally get that. But suggestions I do have.

You can read the magic-filled Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuin, one of the top female writers…well, ever. For more girl-power (though not as magic-heavy), you could go with The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (ignore the prequels and sequels, and just go with the original trilogy). And when it comes to magic, I highly recommend anything by Brandon Sanderson, who has made it a point to set out specific laws for writing books with Magic in them, resulting in inventive-yet-consistent worlds. Many (many, many) authors could learn a lesson in writing about magic from him. In particular, you should check out his Reckoners series (more Superhero-y powers, as opposed to classic ‘magic’) or his Mistborn series (which features an intriguing metal-based magic system, and also features a fantastic heroine named Vin).

If you are interested in reading something in comic form, we here at the ‘zine highly recommend Girl Genius. And if you are particularly drawn to wizards named Harry, you could check out the more-grown-up-than-Harry-Potter-and-in-my-opinion-better Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, centered around Harry Dresden, a wizard who advertises in the Yellow Pages.

Err… wait, do you even know what Yellow Pages are?  Sigh. A? We are old.

In short, Wanttoread, you have lots of options. Don’t fret about what is “best” to read next. You have a grand lifetime ahead of you of reading fantastic books, and any of our suggestions here are great reads. Try several of them to find more about what kind of writing style you prefer. And while it is true that A and I rarely agree on anything (you should have heard the week(s)-long argument(s) caused by whether or not that White/Gold dress was possibly Blue/Black), we do happen to agree that, yes, you should stay far, far, far away from the Twilight series. And that Neil Gaiman is awesome.


I also want to point out that K is a much better 13-year-old girl than I ever was, and he really channeled his girl power there with his options. Also, I just read Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Which should be a series, but it isn’t. But she also has the Temeraire series to her name, and that one has dragons. So there’s that.

Enjoy being you. There is lots of time and lots of awesome out there.




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