The best books of riveting worlds

Livio Ramondelli Author Of The Kill Lock
By Livio Ramondelli

Who am I?

I like the thrill of feeling like a place truly exists, whether it’s described in complete detail or sparsely sketched for the reader to take over. I’m a professional comic illustrator, most known for illustrating Transformers for IDW Publishing. In 2020 I created my own original series called The Kill Lock, also published by IDW. It was my first real stab at taking all my years of studying world building and attempting to tell an original story of my own. It was a wonderful experience to create and write, and I highly suggest anyone who has been looking to do it to take the plunge. The rewards are thrilling.


I wrote...

The Kill Lock

By Livio Ramondelli,

Book cover of The Kill Lock

What is my book about?

Found guilty of individual crimes, four robot characters are banished from their home world and sentenced to a lethal punishment called The Kill Lock—in which their inner programming is linked, so that death for one means instant death for all. A soldier, an addict, a murderer, and a child. Four classes of individuals that would never normally mingle (or get along) are now forced to protect one another to survive. 

Their one hope is to work together to find The Cure, a mythical way to disengage the Kill Lock and separate while staying alive.

The books I picked & why

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

By Frank Miller,

Book cover of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Why this book?

A seminal work in the graphic novel medium, The Dark Knight Returns is an excellent and deep character study into the psychology and world of Batman. Years after retiring due to tragedy, an older restless Bruce Wayne finds his city plunged into chaos. He returns as The Dark Knight, stepping into a violent new world order. Frank Miller is at the top of his game here. The running inner monologue from Batman throughout the series is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of using narration without it feeling like empty exposition. The grime of Gotham is portrayed in beautiful and atmospheric detail. It’s a very rich world that Miller has created, and a series I highly recommend to anyone yet to read it. 

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

By Frank Miller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Batman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the thirtieth anniversary of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and now DC Comics presents this classic title in a newly redesigned edition! Ten years after an aging Batman retired, Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenaged Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in…


I Am Legend

By Richard Matheson,

Book cover of I Am Legend

Why this book?

This book is a classic example of exceptional world building and detail. The lone human survivor among a word now ruled by vampires, Robert Neville’s daily existence is expertly documented by Matheson. Each meal and drink he prepares to get through his daily horror feels so real. His isolation feels so real. The descriptions of what it would actually be like to fall asleep at night when an army of vampires is patiently waiting outside your house is beyond gripping. Despite solid efforts from those involved, the film adaptation that was later made doesn’t scratch the surface of the power of this story. 

I Am Legend

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked I Am Legend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An acclaimed SF novel about vampires. The last man on earth is not alone ...Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth ...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?


The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Why this book?

The Road does an exceptional job portraying the detail and feeling of a lost world. A father and son attempt to survive after a cataclysm ended the known world. Basic items of survival are portrayed in such a real way that the audience feels what the survivors do.

The rush at finding a clean apple to eat. Safe shelter. A sense of hope. McCarthy excels at minimal description and dialogue, and yet the richness of his work and his signature style shows through. I’m personally very inspired by how effective his worlds feel without being overly defined. He has a real talent for bringing lightness and occasional moments of warmth in an otherwise grim setting.

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


Preacher

By Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon (illustrator),

Book cover of Preacher

Why this book?

A present-day western, Preacher is the story of a lost pastor who is suddenly infused with the word of God-allowing any who hear his voice to bow to his commands. His best friend is an alcoholic vampire. His love is a hard-fighting sharpshooter. The Angel of Death is an immortal wild west gunslinger, a cowboy with unmatchable firepower who stalks the modern landscape. The characters are some of the richest I’ve ever seen. There’s a hilarity that runs through the entire series, and a real beating human heart alongside it. Despite a seemingly nihilistic premise, Preacher is one of the most moving stories I’ve ever seen about friendship and remains true to ones principles. Steve Dillon as an artist is another example of beautifully economical storytelling.

Preacher

By Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Preacher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by Garth Ennis Art by Steve Dillon Cover by Glenn Fabry "Features more blood and blasphemy than any mainstream comic in memory. Cool." - Entertainment Weekly Available for the first time in hardcover, preacher Jesse Custer begins his dark journey to find God, in this volume collecting PREACHER #1-12, plus pinups from PREACHER #50 and #66. After merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Texan preacher Jesse Custer has become completely disillusioned with the beliefs to which he had dedicated his entire life. Now possessing the power of "the word," an ability to make people do whatever he…


Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn,

Book cover of Gone Girl

Why this book?

Gone Girl is one of the most gripping books I’ve ever read. Flynn is exceptional at portraying two simultaneously unreliable narrators. The humor is hilarious, and the tension is terrifying. There were several moments where I thought I was guessing the narrative ahead, only for the book to put me in my place so hard I felt like it had scalded my palms. Even though the setting is relatively normal compared to the other books I’ve selected here, Flynn excels at detailing various environments throughout. I was thrilled that this excellent book got a proper adaptation by one of the great filmmakers in David Fincher. Even if you’ve seen the truly faithful film, I highly recommend reading the book.

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Gone Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE ADDICTIVE No.1 BESTSELLER AND INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON
OVER 20 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
THE BOOK THAT DEFINES PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren't made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on…


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