The best licensed books from settings that inspired me

Matthew Michaelson Author Of Daughters of Astrid
By Matthew Michaelson

Who am I?

All of the books I’ve recommended here involve various game series, or at least subseries in a larger franchise like Star Wars, that has come to influence my own writing, be it with the technology, the setting details, or just various writing quirks I’ve picked up over the years. I’m a long-standing fan of video games and strategy games or RPGs in particular, and I’ve been told in the past that my novels feel very video-game-y, though such was not my original intention. I should hope that the books I recommend here will give you some insight into what sources I draw from as I write my own novels!

I wrote...

Daughters of Astrid

By Matthew Michaelson, Danielle Dy-Liccao (illustrator),

Book cover of Daughters of Astrid

What is my book about?

An epic fantasy tale centered around redemption. The Daughters Of Astrid takes the reader on a wild ride of imagination. The sudden appearance of a living, breathing, immortal Goddess on the planet of Terra Ancora sets off events that plunge the world into a holy crusade. Millions are killed. Against the wishes of the benevolent Goddess Astrid Cailmel, her warrior empress Rebecca has committed genocide, killing countless unbelievers. With her memory of her crimes repressed from dissociative amnesia, Rebecca is to stand trial, but the anger against her is so great that traditional justice is impossible. Sensing a true willingness to repent in Rebecca, Lady Astrid sentences her to undertake a journey of atonement in Astrid’s name.

The books I picked & why

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Adventure Quest the Dragon's Secret

By Lyra Trice Solis,

Book cover of Adventure Quest the Dragon's Secret

Why this book?

Adventure Quest, and Artix Entertainment’s games as a whole, were a formative part of my childhood and play a big role in what I write now. When I found out that a novel was made in that series, I had to check it out. Set in Adventure Quest, this novel follows the tale of a character who loses his home to a dragon attack, and sets out on a quest to find the dragon in question, while learning how to wield the magic that he is capable of using. It puts a fun spin on an old kind of story if you ask me!

Mass Effect: Revelation

By Drew Karpyshyn,

Book cover of Mass Effect: Revelation

Why this book?

Mass Effect was a very big sci-fi series for me growing up, the technology of which continues to influence my novels to this day. This novel serves as a prequel to the first game in the Mass Effect series, covering an event that was only briefly mentioned within the game itself, where Captain David Anderson works alongside the Spectre Saren, a Turian who despises humanity and believes them to be growing too quickly. Saren’s behavior and beliefs lead to him committing atrocities and then blaming Anderson to sabotage the whole reason why they were asked to team up in the first place, setting the stage for the first game.

Halo: The Fall of Reach

By Eric Nylund,

Book cover of Halo: The Fall of Reach

Why this book?

The Halo Universe is a massive, sprawling sci-fi series that many assume to be just a random sci-fi shooter franchise. The Fall of Reach acts as a prequel to the first game and to the Halo series as a whole. Focusing on the initial creation of the Spartan-II Super Soldier program, the growth of Spartan John-117 into a super soldier, and culminating in the defense of the planet he’s grown up on, The Fall of Reach serves to set the stage for the Halo franchise. I recommend picking up the reprints from 2011 or later, as it fixes many continuity errors induced later on in the series.

Revan: Star Wars Legends

By Drew Karpyshyn,

Book cover of Revan: Star Wars Legends

Why this book?

While Star Wars was never the biggest franchise I was into growing up, the Knights of the Old Republic games served as my first proper foray into RPGs that have come to influence my books as a whole. Revan follows up on the titular character, set after the end of the first two Knights of the Old Republic games. Worries over his lost memories returning, Revan must seek out answers as to what drove him to go down the path of a Sith Lord in the first place, along the way meeting with Meetra Surik, the protagonist of the second game, following up on a rarely touched-upon point in the Star Wars universe of what happens when someone learns how to wield both the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force at the same time.

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium

By Sandy Mitchell,

Book cover of Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium

Why this book?

I was never the biggest fan of Warhammer 40K growing up, but the series has grown on me quite a bit, particularly the novels that expand on the setting. The Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium omnibus combines the first three books in the novel series with some additional short stories added in. The books follow the tale of the titular character, a Commissar in the Imperium of Mankind who would very much rather not be involved in anything directly dangerous, but inevitably finds himself drawn into bigger conflicts and his reputation growing. It’s a comedic look at the Warhammer 40K universe, with an astonishing number of annotations detailing various details about the series that would otherwise be glossed over in other novels.

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