“Thick evening fog clung to the forlorn banks of Ward’s Island, turning it into a ghost of itself.”
First line in Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
Hi, guys and welcome to part 2 of my contribution to the #WomenInSFF highlighting that’s going on over at The Fantasy Hive. Last week I talked about some of the underrated female authors I love and so today we’re taking a closer look on those female authors still waiting patiently on my TBR. There were quite a few, but I have managed to pick 10 to share with you.
Hi, guys. Over at The Fantasy Hive they’re spotlighting female authors writing SFF through the hastag #WomenInSFF. That made me feel inspired to make my own contribution in the form of 2 posts: one about female authors I’ve already read and one about the ones I have yet to experience. Just so we’re all on the same page – this is the one featuring the amazing authors I’ve already come to love.
So many of my favorite SFF books have been written by women so it was really hard for me to narrow this list down. I’ve chosen to highlight some of the lesser known female authors because they are still amazing writers.
Megan Whalen Turner
Turner is mainly known for her The Queen’s Thief series which is set to publish its final book in October. It is a YA fantasy series that brings back memories of other classic stories within the genre. My favorite things about the series has been its portrayal of friendships and its ‘out-of-nowhere’-plot twists.
Jennifer A. Nielsen
Nielsen is a writer of Middle Grade and Young Adult with her most notable work being The Ascendance Series. I don’t typically enjoy Middle Grade, but The Ascendance Series is the only exception. It’s incredibly gripping story about a boy competing with three others to get to impersonate the kingdom’s lost prince.
A. J. Hackwith
The big question: will I ever write a blog post without mentioning A. J. Hackwith? (hint: probably not). The only book I’ve read by her, The Library of the Unwritten, is a story about an amazing group of people on a quest to protect all the unwritten books in Hell’s library. It’s diverse. It’s emotional. It’s something you need to read.
Mind you if I use this oppourtunity to squeeze in a Danish author. She has mainly written fantasy books for children but also has a mystery/thriller series for adults. She wrote my second favorite series as a child which is The Shamer Chronicles. It follows Dina who is able to make people feel horribly ashamed of previous misdeeds just by looking them in the eyes. All of these books have been translated into English.
Tara Sim is the author of two YA fantasy series, Timekeeper and Scavenge the Stars. The former is centered around clocks and time magic in an alternate Victorian London. It’s very diverse and has a great focus on anxiety. Scavenge the Stars is a gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, but I have yet to read that one.
Even though Rogerson has only had two books published so far, she has already established herself as someone who writes beautiful and engaging stories. Her two books have both been standalone fantasy books, which already sets her apart from so many other authors in the genre. My personal favorite of her books is Sorcery of Thorns which follows Elisabeth who grew up in a library and has conversations with books.
Those were just some of the amazing women who have shaped my reading life. Who are some of your favorite female authors? Do we have anyone in common? Stay tuned for when I share all the female authors on my TBR, which will be coming next week. Happy reading!
“The market coiled like a colored snake through the streets of Dale, patterned with the brown of the stalls, and the yellows and greens and reds of the things they sold.”
First line in The Ash-born Boy by Victoria Schwab
Hi, guys. I don’t know about you, but Wyrd and Wonder has officially made my TBR into a murder weapon. I can’t imagine it won’t be the death of me. I’ve added so many books to it this past month that I had to make this into a 2-part thing so not to overwhelm you.
Just quickly want to mention that not every book on this list has been found in actual Wyrd and Wonder posts. It’s really a list of all the fantasy books I added to my TBR during May. Let’s get started!
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
Why it sounds awesome:
Historical fantasy set in New York but with Middle Eastern vibes
From reviews I can gather that it has sort of a whimsical writing style with a focus on characters
It has been nominated for several awards including a Nebula.
The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Why it sounds awesome:
A historical fantasy set in Mexico is not something I’ve ever read before
Any time the fantasy element is based on floklore, I’m in.
The three words in the synopsis: “strangely alluring god”. Need I say more?
A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden
To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.
Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.
Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.
But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?
Why it sounds awesome:
It’s partly set in my own country (Denmark)!! I guess mostly people from other small countries will understand my excitement lol. I just need to read it!
It’s too reminiscent of the tv show Vikings to pass out on.
I quickly want to shout out and thank Alex from Space and Spellships for bringing this book to my attention. It was featured in the Europe-part of his SFF World Tour, which I highly recommend you check out, especially if you’re on the lookout for books set outside your typical European setting.
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.
But a great light casts a great shadow.
In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few.
Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power—find it, and break it…
Why it sounds awesome:
The Tudor period (no, you don’t need further explanantion)
The fact that I had to Google the name “Walsingham” to see whether it was a real name/person (it was)
Behind-the-scenes-politics and mixing it with fae
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
A masterful epic of magic, politics, war, and the power of love and hate—from the renowned author of The Fionavar Tapestry and Children of Earth and Sky.
Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered…
But years after the devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name…Tigana.
Against the magnificently rendered background of a world both sensuous and barbaric, this sweeping epic of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision, changing forever the boundaries of fantasy fiction.
Why is sounds awesome:
An evil king and people on a quest to save the world
Kay seems to be considered a must-read fantasy author
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.
As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.
Why it sounds awesome:
A cast of several interesting characters
Making these lists always makes me wish I was able to read a 100 books at once. Why have I not mastered that skill yet?!? I can only hope that I’ll be able to read all of these books soon. Do any of these books also appear on your TBR? Or are you lucky enough to have already read them?
Hi, guys. Another post for Wyrd and Wonder and for this one I’m focusing on the characters of our beloved genre. Specifically the smart ones. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to qualify because when is someone intelligent? As someone who’s often appointed “the clever one” in friend groups, I’ve pondered that question a lot. There are many ways to be intelligent and by that I don’t mean that people can be experts on different topics. In my opinion, it’s more about how you think, reason, problem-solve etc. than how many facts you can list even though that’s part of it too.
To emphazise, I always find that Socrates quote inspiring:
“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”
With that in mind, let’s look at some fantasy characters who embody what it means to be intelligent.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way first. I think we can all agree that Harry would have died a lot sooner without Hermione as his friend. Voldemort would have defeated them all in book 1, and that would have been the end. The great thing about Hermione is that she’s intelligent in so many ways. She’s at the top of her class every year and knows pretty much all there is to know about magic. Several times, she also proves her skills in general problem solving and deductive reasoning. Personally, I also appreaciate the moments where she proves to be emotionally intelligent. She’s able to read other people’s emotions very well, and we often see her giving advice on that account. This is something she learns as the books goes on, and it’s such a necessary skill when you’re friends with Harry and Ron.
Kvothe (The Name of the Wind)
Even though I’ve only read the first book in this series, it’s very clear to me that Kvothe is in love with knowledge. He seems to be willing to stop at nothing to learn. Kvothe has several skill sets (which he won’t hesitate to point out to you) that make him highly intelligent in my mind. He understands the world’s complicated magic, he’s muscial and he has impeccable survival skills. Even with limited ressources, he’s able to rise in society and get what he wants anyway.
Quentin Coldwater (The Magicians)
Where to begin with Quentin? He might not be the most obvious entry on this list because his intelligence isn’t always at the forefront in this trilogy by Lev Grossman. He has his share of problems weighing him down but once in a while, we get a glimps of his cleverness. First of all, magic in this universe is far from easy and requires the user to be an expert on topics such as science and langauges. And Quentin is one of the better ones. Throughout the books, you often find him trying to accomplish feats that very few other magicians has even tried. So even though he does fail once in a while, he also succeeds by taking an analytical approach to the problem.
Marasi (Mistborn: Second Era)
Marasi is badass for many reasons but most importantly because she’s smart. In her world, women still have to fight for their place in society and Marasi is one of the front runners. She’s one of the very few women who went to university, and so she’s very much what you would consider book-smart. However, that is not enough for her and throughout the series we constantly find her on a quest for knowledge. Even when that might put her in danger. She loves to do her research and will approach a problem from any angle possible as a true university student.
Victor Vale and Eli Cardale (Vicious)
I’m cheating and grouping these two together (although they would probably kill me for that). The whole plot of this book evolves around the two of them taking a very scientific approach in their efforts to get… superpowers. They believe themselves able to crack the code and begin extensive research and dangerous experiments to succeed. They are highly confident in their abilities and with good reason. They are the top 2 students at their school and not to be messed with.
Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard)
It’s not the conventional type of intelligence you find in Locke Lamora but it’s what makes him the best at what he does: stealing. As a renowned con artist, Lamora is an expert when it comes to researching and planning a con. He pays attention to the smallest of details because he knows their importance. As a result of this, he’s often able to manipulate people into doing what he wants them to do, even if that is to willingly give their money to him.
Jasnah Kholin (The Stormlight Archive)
Jasnah is a scholar down to the bone. She’s the one who people around her rely on for information on pretty much anything. She’s known for being meticulous in her research of historic events and won’t accept a truth until she has definitive proof. One of her greatest strenghts is her ability to engage in discussion with people she disagrees with. She realizes the potential these discussions have of giving her a new perspective to do research from. That is a great sign of intelligence: to recognize that you don’t know everything.
Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)
Another entry that might not seem like the most obvious choice. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking that Kaz is stupid just because he lacks any kind of formal education. He grew up on the streets of Ketterdam and had to have a steep learning curve when it came to surviving. You can easily call him streetwise but Kaz is so much more than that. He’s able to manipulate both friends and foes in his efforts to execute his detailed plans. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to read people, meaning no one is able to lie to him without getting caught.
Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)
Finally, we have the political mastermind. Tyrion is not without flaws and you can question several of his decisions in regard to his personal life, BUT he knows how to talk his way out of a problem. He’s good with people. He knows the importance of good connections in times of trouble and uses those to protect himself. In the few occasions he’s given responsibility, he also proves himself able to rise to the challenge through scheming and talking.
That was 10 characters I highly admire. I always appreciate it when authors create smart main characters so I needed to celecrate to ones I already love. Feel free to write your own favorite smart characters in the comments. We can’t get enough of those. Happy reading!
First line in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Hi, guys. As you may know, it’s not the easiest thing to write a book. Several authors just has to find their footing when starting out. Others write true masterpieces in their first try like it’s no big deal, and it’s those I want to highlight today.
Most of the books I’ll mention here are bestsellers but what they all have in common is that they are the first book published by their author. And they are all fantasy, of course. They are all some of my favorite books so enjoy!
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Dreams and reality blend together in The Night Circus in which Morgenstern shows that there are no limitations to our imagination. Especially not to hers. Through stunning writing, she unfolds the story of a magical duel that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
A highly detailed world is the backdrop for some ingenious criminal activities that will have you rooting for the perpetrators. Not for the faint-hearted, this book gives you a dark and gritty atmosphere but will still shine some light in form of true acts of friendship.
The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith
The Library of the Unwritten provides a story with a unique concept where book characters are able to come alive, otherwise known as every reader’s dream come true. It’s an emotional story about a battle between Heaven and Hell that also gives you deep and flawed characters to love with all of your heart.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
An urban fantasy story that still gives you comprehensive world building with a creative magic system. Clare introduces the reader to the world of the Shadowhunters that has all the monsters but also the most swoon worthy romances.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind tells the first part of the character Kvothe’s life story through an immersive writing style. With the promise of an epic tale to come, Rothfuss sets several plot points in motion in this first book in a trilogy.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Step into the Trojan war through this retelling of the lives of the almighty Achilles and his friend Patroclus. Told through the eyes of Patroclus, Miller weaves a beautiful story about true love and destiny that will intrique anyone with an interest in Greek mythology.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A high-stakes adventure inspired by ancient Rome that follows the slave, Laia, as she fights a brutal system to save her brother. Sabaa Tahir doesn’t hold back when depicting the horrors of this cruel world, and it will have the reader on the edge of their seat all the way through.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon is a must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of dragons. Paolini has crafted a vast world with interesting characters (and dragons) which gives the reader a highly entertaining reading experience.
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
A highly atmospheric read that take a closer look at small town mentality when children start disappearing and the stranger in the village is the only suspect. Schwab provides at fairy tale-esque writing style when telling this gripping story about witches and magic rooted in nature.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The Bear and the Nightingale will transport the reader to a snow-covered forrest in Russia with its vivid depictions of nature and atmosphere. Following the girl Vasya as she grows up, Arden explores Russian folklore but gives it a fantasy twist.
These are just a few of the awesome fantasy debuts out there. I haven’t read everything so please share your favorites in the comments if you feel they’re missing from the list. Happy reading!
“There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.”
First line in Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Hi, guys. Today I thought would talk about some of the books I recently put on my TBR on Goodreads. I’ve seen Kristin from Kristin Kraves Books do this and felt inspired to do the same. You need to check out her blog if you haven’t already, of course.
This is really just a way of getting to mention some books I might not be getting to for a while so here we go.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Caroline Criado Perez
Synopsis: Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.
Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.
Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.
Why I Want to Read it: I need to be better at reading non-fiction and have learned that feminist non-fiction is the way to go. Emily from BookswithEmilyFox has praised this one very recently and it sounds so interesting.
Noughts and Crosses
Synopsis:Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.
Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
Why I Want to Read it: …Not sure exactly. It’s an old book with a high rating on Goodreads (4.23) and it has won awards. And yeah, it sounded interesting enough.
Theft of Swords
Michael J. Sullivan
Synopsis: THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY.
There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.
Why I Want to Read it: Bascially I heard that the friendship in this one is supposed to be similar to the one in Gentleman Bastard between Locke and Jean. I mean what more do you need to know?
Synopsis: A magic-infused YA novel about friendship, first love, and feeling out of place that will bewitch fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.
Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school’s magic club—to see him through to graduation.
But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.
With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.
Why I Want to Read it: The synopsis used the words “school’s magic club”. And also that it’s for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater so I have no choice but to read it.
Mark of the Thief
Jennifer A. nielsen
Synopsis:When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.
Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.
Why I Want to Read it: Jennifer A. Nielsen has written the only middle grade series I’ve liked as an adult (The Ascendance series) so I want to try one of her other series.
The Bone Ships
Synopsis:A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new fantasy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.
Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.
For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.
The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.
Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.
Why I Want to Read it: Honestly? A couple of months ago I read sooo many glowing reviews of this book that I felt like I had to add it to my TBR. Normally I’m not into dragons but maybe this is the exception.
Synopsis:Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
Why I Want to Read it: I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year to read at least 4 books by Neil Gaiman. I’ve read one so far and plan for Neverwhere to be the second. Fans of Gaiman seem to praise this one so I’m hoping to like it.
There you have the most recent books that’s gotten me excited. Let’s chat in the comments if you’ve read any of them or also plan to.
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Strubb, and he almost deserved it.”
First line in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
Hi, guy. In today’s post I want to share some of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2020. There are probably more because great books are released all the time but these are the 7 I’m most excited about.
Title: Infinity Son
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: January 14th 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Book 1 in Infinity Cycle
What made me excited: Adam Silvera, LGBTQ+ representation in fantasy
Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.
Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
What made me excited: sequel to The Fever King, I need it NOW
Synopsis for the first book, The Fever King:
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
What made me excited: chosen one trope with a twist, Roth’s first adult novel
The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.
A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.
Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.
What made me excited: Patrick Ness, Patrick Ness AND fantasy
An all-consuming story of revenge, redemption and dragons from the twice Carnegie Medal-winner Patrick Ness.
In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?
What made me excited: French Revolution, criminal underworld, reimagining of Les Mis and The Jungle Book (I mean, what?)
A diverse fantasy reimagining of Les Misérables and The Jungle Book.
In the dark days following a failed French Revolution, in the violent jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, young cat-burglar Eponine (Nina) Thenardier goes head to head with merciless royalty, and the lords of the city’s criminal underworld to save the life of her adopted sister Cosette (Ettie).
Her vow will take her from the city’s dark underbelly, through a dawning revolution, to the very heart of the glittering court of Louis XVII, where she must make an impossible choice between guild, blood, betrayal and war.
For fans of the gritty criminal underworlds of Six Of Crows, The Lies Of Locke Lamora, fierce alternate histories like The Gilded Wolves, And I Darken…and anyone who knows that Eponine deserved so much more.
“We moved into our flat in Littlemead, in the tiny Sussex town of Nutley, in the South of England, in 1987.
First line in Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Hi, guys. We’re very close to entering a new year and therefore I wanted to give you a list of 10 books (technically more than 10) that I want to read in 2020. This post also kind of functions as my reading goals because I have some authors and series I want to prioritize this year. I’ve excluded books that will be released in 2020 because I’ll make another post about those. Let’s get into it.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
I actually planned to read this about 2 months ago. However, my library had some technical difficulties and decided to delete my reservation… thanks. I’ll just try again then.
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
This is the sort of book I just want to get out of the way. It’s book 2 in the Kingkiller Chronicle series, and I like the first one alright without completely loving it. Every review I find says the second book is worse and even more meandering than the first. I want to be ready for the eventuality that the third book is going to be published. I just have get through this one book. I can do that.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
This one is kind of a big priority for me. The whole series actually. It’s four books that I’ve been meaning to read for such a long time now. I’m a 100% certain that I’m at least going to start the series in 2020.
*Four Neil Gaiman Books*
I’ve decided to do a Neil Gaiman Project in 2020. What does that mean you might ask. It’s means that Gaiman is such a beloved author but I haven’t managed to get on the hype-train. That’s why I’ve decided that I really want to give him a chance this year by reading 4 of his books. Not completely decided which ones yet so feel free to help me choose if you love his books. I’ve already read Coraline, Stardust and The Graveyard Book. The only other book I know I want to read is Norse Mythology. People always seem to recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane but I’m a little bit scared of magical realism to be honest. Otherwise, I’m very exicted about the project.
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
This isn’t the first time Autoboyography appears on a TBR from me. Now that it’s a yearly one, I simply must have time to read it.
Book 3, 4 and 5 in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
I want to make some progress in The Wheel of Time but I’m not kidding myself so I know that I’ll never be able to finish all of the books. That would mean 1 book per month and that wouldn’t work for me. I need breaks when reading series so my goal is just to read the next 3 in the series.
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Another series I would love to start and finish in 2020. Also, it’s one of the books that has been on my TBR the longest so logically it should be the first one I pick up in 2020. We all know there’s no logic involved here though.
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Another case of “if I keep putting it on TBR’s, I’ll be forced to read it at some point”. This WILL be the last time this one features in my TBR lists.
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
The fourth book is coming in November 2020 so it would just be awesome if I had caught up by that time. It’s just two more books with more than a 1,000 pages. Yeah, I’m scared.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I need to know what the fuss is all about. From what I’ve heard of it, it’s not something I typically read. I’m basically just picking it up because of hype and because no one seems to be able to explain what it’s about. I’m going to figure it out for myself.
I can’t tell you how many times I wrote 2010 while writing this post. I’m clearly in denial. We can’t have reached 2020 already. But now you know a little bit about what I plan to read in the coming year. Then I can return to it next December and see how bad I failed.
Hope you all have a joyous New Year and that your 2020 will be filled with awesome books.
“At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelando, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.”
First line in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
We’ve made it to the end of the year so of course I’m doing the traditional wrap up posts for the year. Today is the best one because I’m going to be talking about my absolute favorite books of the year.
I’m not going to include the 4 books I reread this year because that wouldn’t really be fair. Just letting you know that I reread:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
For this list, I’ve decided to group series together even though I might not have given all books the same rating. Just to make it easier but that tecnically means that there are more than 10 books on this list (no, that’s not cheating – or maybe it is).
The list is ordered of course because I love lists. It was a lot more difficult to do this time than with my worst books of the year. However, my top 3 was completely set from the beginning. Enjoy!
10 – A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
It has taken me almost 10 years to get caught up with The Song of Ice and Fire series but I finally did it this year. This fifth one is probably the one that differs most from the tv show so I was quite surprised by a lot of the things that happened. It was nice not knowing things so I was really able to appreciate the way Martin sets up the story and the development of the characters. Let’s see when we get to read the sixth book.
9 – Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch
I read all of the currently published books in the Gentleman Bastard series this year and would have continued if I could. These books have some of the best friendships I’ve ever read about. It especially shows men who’s not afraid to show affection for each other. I need to see more of that in adult fantasy. These books also have plots so intricate that I can’t help but be completely captivated by them. I need book 4 soon please.
8 – The Binding by Bridget Collins
This book did something to me and I’m not sure I’m over it. That middle part is pure magic. The writing is stunning and makes the book quite atmospheric which I always love. I really felt like I lost myself completely while reading it. The characters are also the kind I would die for so The Binding definitely belongs on this list.
7 – The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
I read books 2 to 5 this year and I loved how unique they felt. They feel heavily inspired by classic fantasy which I normally don’t like so The Queen’s Thief was a pleasant surprise. I think the reason why is the characters and their friendships because they are deep and affectionate. How can you not love that?
6 – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
How could I make a top 10 for the year without a Sanderson book? Not possible, and even though this took me forever to read, I loved every minute of it. Sanderson’s attention to detail is extraordinary in this one. He has created a world where he has thought of. Absolutely. Everything. I haven’t loved his characters in his previous books but that has completely changed with The Way of Kings.
5 – Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Wayward Son was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and basically, my only complaint was that it was too short. I can’t get enough of these characters. They are so heartwarming to read about, and I loved that this second book in the series took a little more serious turn. Apparently, I like getting my heart broken (more on that later).
4 – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
A true case of “the hype is real”. This book was so fun and so sweet, and I think I especially loved it for being new adult. It really made me go on a hunt for more new adult books. I also really liked the alternate reality aspect of the story. I mean, wouldn’t we all much rather have that one compared to the one we actually have? It definitely was a fun reimagining.
3 – Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden
I read the entire trilogy in 2019, but it’s especially the last two books I want to applaud. The character development that happens across those two is phenomenal. Because of that, I can’t tell you about a female character I love more than our main character Vasya. We always talk about the importance of strong women in literature because of the feeling of empowerment it gives female readers. I’ve never actually felt that before I read about Vasya. It’s truly intoxicating.
2 – Arc of a Scythe by Neal Shusterman
I read some amazing series this year but none has made a greater impact on me than Arc of Scythe. The social commentary these books provide is so thought provoking and that alone is really enough for me to recommend them. On top of that, you have a unique take on an AI and a writing style that will draw you in and never let you go. Thunderhead is a clear favorite for me and that one was very close to being number 1 on this list. It’s definitely a series I’ll give a reread at some point.
1 – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Yeah, I guess I’ve learned this year that I love the heartbreaking books. I don’t think any book will ever beat A Little Life on that front. My love for these characters is unreal. I don’t even love Harry Potter characters this much and that says a lot coming from me. On top of that, the writing is so good. Yanagihara is very good at making you feel all the feelings without being too descriptive. She just builds these characters from the bottom and forces you to care for them. For the rest of my life, I’ll be searching for books that will make me feel what A Little Life made me feel. Let’s be honest though, nothing will ever be like A Little Life.
Wow, that was hard to do. I read so many great books this year meaning I had waaay too many to choose from for this list. Here’s to hoping that 2020 will be just as amazing in terms of reading. Merry Christmas everyone!
First line in The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Hi, guys and welcome to the first of my end-of-the-year posts. We’re starting with the worst books I read this year so we can get that out of the way. I didn’t hate very many books this year actually but I still wanted to do a top 10. That means that this list feature some 3 star books at the beginning. The proper ranting doesn’t start until you get a little further down the list. And yes, they are in order because I love lists. Number 1 is the worst book of the year. I’m also grouping series together even though I might not have given all the books the same rating. It’s just easier. Let’s get into it!
10 – The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
Firstly, I want to say that I don’t think this is a horrible trilogy. It’s won awards and everything so I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about when I’m putting it on this list. I gave all 3 books 3 stars so no strong emotions from me. I thought the premise and world was very interesting but I never connected to the characters or the writing.
9 – Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
A very recent read and not the last Leigh Bardugo book on this list unfortunately. I ended up giving this one 2.5 stars. I went into the book pretty blind because the fact that it was written by Bardugo was enough for me. I guess I learned my lesson. It was filled with so many tropes that I normally steer clear of. I especially hate murder mysteries with a passion so this was really not a good fit for me.
8 – The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Hey, it’s Leigh Bardugo again. I honestly forgot that I read to many of her books this year. I gave Shadow and Bone 3 stars and the other two 2 stars. I didn’t completely hate them but I think it’s a case of these books not ageing well, and I read them too late. A bland main character with no personality and an annoying and ever-present romance plot aren’t things that will make me love a book anymore.
7 – The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
A book that is recommended as similar to The Night Circus… guys, they are completely different books! Yes, The Lonely Hearts Hotel also has a circus (but very late in the book) and a soulmates kind of romance (although not as beautiful or romantic as in The Night Circus). The writing was also trying very hard to be beautiful and it very quickly began to annoy me like hell.
6 – The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
I had so high hopes for this one because I really liked this author’s previous series, Half Bad. We follow 5 different characters which was too many for this book to handle. I also only really liked one of them. Besides that I couldn’t recognize Green’s writing style from her other books. In this one there was too much telling and less showing. I wasn’t allowed to do any thinking of my own. So even though the world and magic were quite interesting, I didn’t save the book for me.
5 – The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Just because we reached the halfway point on this list, doesn’t mean that The Nickel Boys is a bad book. I just didn’t connect to the story or the characters at all which meant I was quite bored all the way through. It still had some great insights into the Civil Rights Movement.
4 – Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan
I honestly remember very, very little about this book other than it was a struggle to get through. The book is less than 300 pages and it almost took me whole 2 months to read. That’s not a good sign.
3 – The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
I read the first 3 books in the series this year in preparation for the tv show. That made me realize that I’m just going to watch the tv show from now on. That writing style is way too dry for me and I kind of hate every character because of that. The blatant sexism isn’t doing much for me either. I’m counting on the tv show to fix these things.
2 – The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I SO wanted to like this book! It sounded so cool with the many parallels to Six of Crows but the execution of it was a mess. It left me utterly confused. It felt like the book was missing entire passages because the characters were moving around but I wasn’t told about it. Very weird to read. It’s also a book that feature a lot of cool inventions. They all just happened to be exactly what our group needed no matter how odd or unrealistic these inventions were. I needed it all to be a little bit more difficult.
1 – Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
My first read of 2019 and it was a 1-star. I hated practically everything about it. The characters that were trying too hard to be “strong female characters” and therefore weren’t. The “plot twists” that I saw coming a mile away. The way this feminist book kept telling me it was a feminist book. Please stop. I won’t be picking up the sequel.
Well, there you have the books I didn’t like in 2019. I’d love to bond with you over a shared dislike for these book. Also if you loved them. Then tell me what I missed when reading them. I will have a post about my favorite books of 2019 up soon. That one is a lot harder to do but also more fun. Have a great day!