When it comes to books turning into movies, I find it a rarity for an adaptation to be 100% accurate to its source material and sometimes a story really should have been left on the page where it belonged. However, when it’s done right, a novel adaptation can be a brilliant expansion on an already beloved universe.
You can look at the success of the Harry Potter franchise to see a novel adaptation done right – and this is coming from someone who thought the films were alright. I liked the books better, yes, but there is no denying the impact the series has had as a whole and that is down to great casting and directing choices, brilliant effects that grew as technology developed, and a devoted fanbase. Not to mention, already-adored source material.
So I thought I would scour my shelves and pick out the five books (series) that I feel would make interesting movie adaptations.
1 – Skulduggery Pleasant (Derek Landy)
Skulduggery Pleasant is a series that I’ve only recently gotten into. It’s always been a part of my life, but I never ever thought about picking any of the books up until a year or so ago. Even now I haven’t read the entirety of the series yet but the first two books have had so much impact on me that I would adore seeing these characters in a movie.
A basic synopsis of the first book is twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley attends the funeral of her uncle, Gordon, whom she really cared about. He was a horror writer and Stephanie soon discovers that all of his books were based on truth – namely things he learnt from Skulduggery Pleasant, a magical detective whom Stephanie meets and soon joins on an adventure to save the world. The thing that makes Skulduggery stand out besides his sharp humour and magic powers? He’s a living skeleton.
The characters in the novel are just so quirky and the writing is so vivid that in my head I can always picture everything happening as though I really am watching a movie. Plus, I always hear David Tennant when I read Skulduggery’s quotes so that would be an interesting casting choice.
2 – The Kane Chronicles (Rick Riordan)
Again, this is a series that I haven’t finished but the first novel in the trilogy entertained me so much that I would love to see an adaptation.
The Kane Chronicles is a series of novels that follow the adventures of siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. It’s the same kind of formula as Rick Riordan’s other series, Percy Jackson, with ancient gods running riot across the United States but instead of Percy’s Greek gods, the Kane’s have to deal with the gods of Ancient Egypt.
I feel this could be an interesting adaptation if done right. Percy Jackson had it’s chance at a film series and, in my opinion, kind of blew it. I didn’t enjoy those films but I loved the books. I think the main reasoning was the casting (I mean, I like Logan Lerman, but was it really so difficult to cast someone that was actually the main character’s age?).
The Kane Chronicles would bring something extra to the table too – a mixed race family. Carter is described as African-American, like their father, whilst Sadie is a white, blonde girl, like their mother. Plus we could actually have a “British” character in a film set in America who isn’t a villain. Couple that with the brilliantly written story and it could be amazing.
3 – Lockwood & Co. (Jonathan Stroud)
Three teenaged heroes: a boy that is essentially a cross between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes, a kick-ass female narrator, and a boy who may be pretty gross sometimes but is really smart.
The Lockwood & Co. series would be an awesome series of films. The series is set in an alternate London where the Problem has occurred bringing with it a wave of ghosts. Adults are incapable of seeing, hearing or feeling the ghosts properly until it is too late – but children have Talents and are very much capable of detecting a ghost and stopping them. Lockwood & Co. is one of many agencies set up for hire to bust some ghosts. Consisting of Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and George Cubbins, Lockwood & Co. is the underdog amongst the agencies of London – but they are definitely the best.
This would be one of the more fun entries on this list. It’s got ghosts, it’s got quirky characters and an over-arching storyline whose current cliffhanger has left me crying out for more. There are some truly scary moments and there never feels like anything convenient ever happens – if they’re in trouble, Lockwood & Co. use their heads to get them out of sticky spots and I would love to see them on the big screen.
4 – Bad Girls Don’t Die (Katie Alender)
Another fun-ish novel on the list, the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy would more than likely fall under the same target audience as Twilight but I personally feel that this series was written way better than that garbage. I have to admit, BGDD was definitely a guilty pleasure read for me last year – I bought the entire series after seeing a book trailer and got through all the books fairly quickly.
The first book follows Alexis Warren, a stereotypical high school “outcast”. With her bad attitude, solitary tendencies and bright pink hair, Alexis is the last person you’d expect to take responsibility for anything. Until she realises her little sister has been possessed by an evil ghost and it’s up to her to save her.
The series was cute as well as nerve-shredding. I actually had a lot of fun reading it, a lot more than I was expecting to, so I expect I’d have as much fun seeing the characters come to life.
5 – Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas)
I’m not sure whether I’d want this to be a movie or a TV series because the sheer epicness of this series so far has been like nothing I have experienced in a long time.
The Throne of Glass series follows teenage assassin Celaena Sardothien as she is temporarily pardoned from her sentence at the world’s most lethal prison to be Prince Dorian’s champion in a competition. She must compete against the kingdom of Adarlan’s most ruthless killers and criminals to become the King’s Champion and spend four years in servitude before earning her freedom.
I’d describe the series as a beginner’s Game of Thrones but that wouldn’t really be giving it the justice it deserves. There’s something about this series that I haven’t found in Game of Thrones and I really can’t place my finger on what it is. This isn’t me negating the epicness that George R. R. Martin has created, far from it. Sarah J. Maas has created a world with such rich lore and spectacular characters that I feel it could be just as big of a fantasy hit as GoT. Celena is a beautifully strong and intelligent character; her flaws only make her more enjoyable to read about and her interactions with Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall never feel like the love triangle it kind of is.
It’s a huge world, a huge plot, but with the huge personalities in it, Throne of Glass really could become an epic fantasy film.