Here are 17 books, I think, have unusual twists and/or concepts. I’ve read them all, but please note they are in no particular order. Hope you find something you enjoy!
1) Partials by Dan Wells (part of a trilogy)
A Young Adult, Science fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy. I’ve suggested an age range for this book of 15+. Partials is unusual in my opinion because it is about engineered, organic beings called ‘Partials’, who were made by and are identical to, humans. Ok so this has been done before, but Dan Wells has an awesome writing style and has added a couple of extra twists. War has devastated the planet, and Partials and humans are sworn enemies. It has a sort of ‘I, Robot’ feel to it, but what really makes this novel different is the fact that both the humans and the Partials are slowly dying. The two enemies will have to set aside their past wrongs and differences in order to survive.
2) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (standalone novel)
A fantasy novel which can be enjoyed by all ages, however i would suggest an age range of 13+. Neil Gaiman is the master of unusual twists and concepts in my opinion. All of his works are quirky, unusual and different. Having read a couple of his books, I have to say Neverwhere is definitely my favorite at the moment. Neverwhere is about a fantasy London ‘London Below’ hidden within and beneath the modern London we know today. It is unusual because Neil Gaiman uses very ordinary objects and breathes a magical and sometimes bizarre element into them, to create the characters and places of ‘London Below’. It is fantastically written, so if you like realistic mixed with bizarre and magical, I recommend you give this one a go.
3) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (standalone novel but also has a prequel)
Described as a Paranormal Romance, Black comedy and Gothic fiction. Warm Bodies is the most unusual zombie book you will ever read. It is unusual because this story is written from the POV of ‘R’, a young male zombie, who questions his existence and well, death. Dotted with clever metaphors, analogies and witty humor, Warm Bodies will not disappoint. However, don’t go in expecting a gory, ordinary, zombie novel. Warm Bodies definitely errs towards romance and draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I would describe this book as entertaining, heart-warming and massively thought provoking.
4) Brightwill by Randolph Lalonde (standalone novel)
A fantasy novel, again suitable for all ages, however I suggest an age range from 13+. Prepare to delve right into a fantasy world, filled with magic, elves and… I can already hear you sighing. Stop right there. This is not your typical fantasy book. Randolph Lalonde has completely refashioned the tall pale elves as we know them from Lord of The Rings and other such works. Lalonde has created new elves, giving us different races and putting a new spin on pretty much all of the classical fantasy species. That’s right, this book is unusual, not only because it is written from the main character’s POV as he looks back on his life, but also because of the different races Lalonde introduces. It’s a bit of a slow burner but the ending is definitely surprising.
5) Zombie Apocalypse, created by Stephen Jones (standalone novel)
A Zombie, Horror, novel, suitable for older teens and adults. A zombie novel? They’ve been done to death I hear you say. Well, this zombie novel is unusual because there is no strict main male or female protagonist. The outbreak of the zombie virus, starting in London and then spreading across the UK, is cleverly told through various disparate and overlapping eye-witness accounts, through texts, e-mails, blogs, letters, diaries, transcripts, official reports and other forms of communication. Zombie Apocalypse has been described as a ‘mosaic novel’ and is written by some of the biggest and best-known names in horror and science fiction. Looking for some horror with a difference and lots of characters? Then this is definitely for you.
6) Under The Dome by Stephen King (standalone novel)
Described as a Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller. Stephen King is another popular master of the unusual. Under The Dome will leave you questioning your place in the universe. It’s a little dark, and as always with Stephen King, the death count is unbelievably high. There is violence, murder and rape in this novel, therefore, it is only really suitable for older teens and adults. However, if that doesn’t put you off, what could be more unusual than having a town trapped under an invisible dome structure? The whole concept of this story is unusual and frightening really, especially with its links to extra-terrestrial life forms.
7) The Unfinished Song by Tara Maya (part of a series)
A Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance. The Unfinished Song is suitable for the older teenage audience, I’ve put an age range of 16+ on this book. Why is this book unusual? Well it’s set in an almost neolithic age, and it’s fantasy element comes from the fae and fairies in this story. Tara Maya has given us an unusual concept with the idea of humans being in-tune with magic yet living in primitive clans. The world building is incredible in this book and even though this book is about fairies, don’t expect cute, sweet and innocent, these fairies can be dark and mischievous.
8) City of Blaze (The Fireblade Array Book 1) by H. O. Charles. (part of series).
A Fantasy Romance, with a typical medieval type of setting but an unusual twist on human reproductive cycle. Yes you read correctly, this book is unusual because how humans procreate is unusual. I suggest an age range of 15+. The people in this book can live for hundreds of years, they can’t have children unless they had been in a regular, sexual relationship for nine years. Also, if couples do sleep together, they can’t go more than two weeks without sleeping together again as they will be subjected to nalka, a very painful experience which leaves most people bed bound for a few days. People under the age of twenty can’t enter a sexual relationship because the nalka usually kills them. However despite these facts, sexual relationships are still as common as they are in the real world today. Top this with magic, an evil king, two strong protagonists, some action and romance, what’s not to like?
9) Fairy Tale Reversed by Ileana Coca (part of a trilogy)
Fairy Tale Reversed is a Fantasy Romance, and a fresh take on the popular fairy-tale Snow White, with the extra added twist of a vampire added into the mix. Yup, Snow-White has a vampire guardian called Damian in this version of the classic fairy-tale. I don’t think I need to expand on why this novel is unusual.
10) Nolander (Emanations Book 1) by Becca Mills (part of a series)
Nolander has been described as a Paranormal, Urban Fantasy. I’ve given this book an age range of 16+. Nolander is told from the POV of Beth, shes a human and shes an amateur photographer. When she accidentally takes a photo of something she can’t see, something that isn’t human, her world is turned upside down and she is introduced to the shadow world. There’s monsters, powerful beings, other realms and worlds, so why is this book unusual? Well it’s unusual because the main characters do not become super-heroes as you might expect. Beth is sucked into a dangerous world with dark policies and she ends up losing the freedom she once had as an ignorant human. She doesn’t want to work for the big-shots of the shadow world, but she might not have a choice.
11) The Ring of Conscience by James Stoddah (standalone novel)
Suitable for ages 15 years and over, Ring of Conscience has all the elements of a great mystery and crime thriller. Drum roll for the big difference here…. James Stoddah has leapt forward with the times, by writing one of the first, (I believe), interactive novels. The best thing about this novel, is not only the gripping, fast-paced, addictive story line, but the mystery is also a reality. James Stoddah has created two websites, one from the story itself and the second, another, real life, treasure hunt for readers to participate in and enjoy.
Join the real treasure hunt at… http://www.melodema.net/
Have a go at the treasure hunt from the story itself at… http://www.melodema.com/
12) Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (part of a series)
A Dark Fantasy, Prince of Thorns is no happy fairy-tale, and this is what makes it different. Readers should really be 16 years or older, there is a lot of violence and sexual violence (rape warning). The main character Jorg is our protagonist, and he’s not a good hero, he’s really a villain out for revenge. This makes Prince of Thorns unusual because you don’t often get to read from the perspective of an unstable, emotionally messed up, and violent mind in the fantasy genre. If you can stomach the violence and darker scenes, then there’s a lot to learn from this realistic, dark and grim book setting with unstable and violent characters. Mark Lawrence has done this magnificently.
13) The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean (standalone book and part of a series)
Described as a Contemporary Romance and Drama, The Color of Heaven is suitable for older teens and adults. This is an emotional read so be prepared to grab a box of tissues. The Color of Heaven is unusual because of the hidden twist with the main protagonist’s mother. I can’t really go into detail here without giving away a large section of the story. The Color of Heaven talks about death, cancer and abusive parents. It is riddled with tragedies, but it is also nicely rounded off with self-discoveries and restores hope in living again.
14) Skip: An Epic Fairy Tale Fantasy Adventure Series (Book 1) by Perrin Briar (part of a 7 book series)
A short, Fantasy Adventure, suitable for 13 years and up. It’s got a fantasy medieval type of setting, it’s got magic, romance, some action… so why is this fantasy different from all the others? Well there are some different from the norm creatures to fuel the imagination, including a Sabergoat! There’s also a rather ominous and massive, black, clock-tower structure, in the middle of the town which can skip time. And there’s also twists with the characters themselves, who is good and who is bad, that’s the real question? And what/who the hell is Grandfather Time?
15) Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell (part of a series)
A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, suitable for 13 years and over. Also the 2013 Finalist for Best Indie Book Awards, The Kindle Book Review. Wild-born is unusual because it is told from the POV of a young teenage boy, Adrian Howell (also the pen name for the author on the cover). Ok so maybe it’s not that unusual, but in fairness this is a pretty mature read. You go from the gentle life of a young teenager with very little in the way of concerns and worries, to the emotional and complicated adult world where Adrian has to grow up quickly. All of it is told from a young person’s perspective, even the darker elements of this story are told from a young person’s perspective. Wild-born gives a real insight into the mind of a younger person, whilst also dishing up an incredibly mature fantasy read.
16) The Wanderer (Book One of the Godsend Series Part One) by Timothious Clayton Smith (part of a series)
The Wanderer is a short, fast-paced, sci-fi, with a dash of fantasy and thriller. There are a couple of errors in this book and the story itself could do with a bit of a tidy up. However, the concept of this book is very intriguing. The Wanderer mixes extra-terrestrial with religious references, which had me hooked from the start. It is an unusual premise, I just hope that the author gets picked up by a publishing house soon.
17) We, the people of the Clouds by Simon Kewin (standalone novella)
A short, Science Fiction, Fantasy, novella. This short novella is one of those deep thinking, thought provoking, big what if’s, sort of story. This story has an unusual concept as the afterlife is a virtual reality. When people die, they are uploaded to this virtual world for eternity, that is, until a major blackout occurs and the main character Marlon Smith, has to find a way to fix it. It was short, but fantastic, it really made me stop and think about the world, life, and death. There is no right or wrong, no bad or good guys, but this story really does pull at your conscience.