Like ‘Buffy’? ‘Star Trek’? ‘Once Upon a Time’? Read these great books

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10:00 am EST, February 13, 2015

You may have been binge-watching all ten seasons of Friends for the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time between episodes to enjoy a good read. Check out these book recommendations based on your favorite TV shows and maybe you’ll find something worth taking a break from your Netflix queue for.

If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, read The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

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What it’s about: Zoe just moved back to New York City and is desperate for a job. So desperate that when she finds a job opening at a publishing house dedicated to the hidden world of the coterie (vampires, zombies, demons, fae, etc.) she barely hesitates in taking it. Work is challenging when you work for a vampire, rub shoulders with an incubus, and eat lunch with zombies, but Zoe takes it all in stride -— until the head of her ex-boyfriend shows up on a Frankenstein’s monster-like creation and it becomes obvious that someone is gunning for her. Zoe needs a crash course in how to survive in this dangerous version of New York, and she needs it yesterday. Unfortunately, the demons and zombies aren’t waiting for her to get the hang of things before they make with the attacking.

Why you’ll like it: The Shambling Guide includes all the mystical baddies you enjoy watching on Buffy, plus some, and even though Zoe is no slayer she still manages to hold her own against all the strange and dangerous creatures she encounters without wigging out too much. This book mixes together humor, horror, and action in the signature style of our favorite slayer. The Shambling Guide also deals with the tenuous balance between good and evil (or supernatural and human), and the ambiguity of morality when “monsters” can be good and humans can be evil. Fans of Buffy will particularly enjoy the determination and snarkage with which Zoe greets everything in her life. Sadly there’s no Angel or Spike for Zoe, but there are some potential (brooding) love interests who are big with the possibilities.

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If you like Star Trek read Redshirts by John Scalzi

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What it’s about: When Andrew Dahl joins the Intrepid, the flagship of the Universal Union, he is expecting a relatively easy gig working in the xenobiology lab, but he soon realizes that something very strange is going on. Crew members hide from high-ranking officers, strange and unexplainable events occur without question, and low-ranking crew members are dying almost faster than they can be replaced. Dahl and his low-ranking friends decide the only way to survive their stint on the Intrepid is to figure out what is going on, but the only person who can help them may be crazy, and the answers they discover are definitely crazy. To save themselves, they embark on a strange journey that blurs the lines between reality and fiction.

Why you’ll like it: Aside from the obvious Star Trek joke in the title, this book has a lot of fun playing with tropes from science fiction, referencing everything from Stargate to Dune, but especially Star Trek. It’s a fun read for anyone, but it will appeal most to hard-core science fiction fans. The book becomes increasingly meta and philosophical as the story progresses, which fans of the original Star Trek series will enjoy. There is also an undercurrent of irony and humor as the adventures of the crew become progressively more and more outrageous. Redshirts has a bit of a Douglas Adams-esque tone at times, and is just laugh-out-loud funny at others. This book pokes a lot fun at itself and the science fiction books and shows it draws from. If you don’t enjoy a good laugh then this book probably isn’t for you.

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If you like Once Upon a Time read The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

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What it’s about: The first book in The Lunar Chronices, Cinder, follows Lihn Cinder, a cyborg living in the Eastern Commonwealth where she and others like her are considered second class citizens. Cyborgs are routinely experimented on to find a cure for the deadly plague affecting the citizens of the Commonwealth. Cinder becomes the guinea pig in one of these experiments when she is blamed for her step-sister’s illness, and she soon discovers that there is more to the plague than anyone realized. To make matters worse, the doctor working with her seems to have secrets of his own which may put Cinder and everyone she cares about in danger. And as if that wasn’t enough for a teenage girl to be dealing with, the prince of the Commonwealth seems to have fallen for Cinder and wants to take her to the upcoming ball. The only problem? He doesn’t know she’s a cyborg, and attending the ball might just cost Cinder her life.

Later books in the series weave in the stories of other fairy tale characters including Scarlet Benoit (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress Darnel (Rapunzel), and Princess Winter (Snow White), among others.

Why you’ll like it: Let’s be honest, you watch Once Upon a Time because you’re obsessed with fairy tales and enjoy a good, dramatic love story. Throw in a dash of sci-fi and action and that is exactly what you’ll find in The Lunar Chronicles. Meyer’s reimagining of classic fairy tales in a futuristic setting blends together two genres you would never think to put together, but somehow complement each other perfectly. The twists to the original fairy tales are just as exciting as anything you’ll see on OUAT, and you’ll love seeing Cinderella as a mechanically-talented cyborg and the Evil Queen as the ruler of the moon (yes, you read that right). Meyers breathes so much new life into the stories you love that you’ll wish every version of Cinderella was as exciting and action-packed as Cinder.

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