“Place ten dozen hungry orphan thieves in a bank burrow of vaults and tunnels beneath what used to be a graveyard, put them under the supervision of one partly crippled old man, and you will soon find that governing them becomes a delicate business.”
First line in Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Hi, guys. 5 star books in 5 words was originally created by Matthew Sciarappa over on Youtube and is actually a really fun tag. I’ve seen it around a lot as part of Wyrd and Wonder already and wanted to add my version. The rules are:
Pick 5 books you rated 5 stars.
Describe your love for each book by picking 5 words.
Don’t explain the words. To those who haven’t read the books, it might not make sense.
Since it’s Wyrd and Wonder month, I’ve of course chosen 5 fantasy books so let’s get to it!
The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith
Hell – Books – Friendships – Hero – Authors
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Doors – Volumes – Feelings – Honey – Destiny
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Clocks – Spirit – London – Anxiety – Damage
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Light – Politics – Spren – Bridge – Swords
Half Bad by Sally Green
Witch – You – Heritage – Captivity – Betrayal
Were you able to make any sense of that? Well, it was fun to do so if you fancy doing it yourself, feel free to consider yourself tagged.
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!
“The day was grey and bitter cold, and the dogs would not take the scent.”
First line in A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Hi, guys. I know the headline might be a tad dramatic but I really just wanted to talk about some of the experiences I’ve had as a fantasy reader and try to reflect on them. You see, I’ve been reading fantasy books since the age of 10 when I picked up Harry Potter. As a child I never wanted to read any other genre. The things we read in school that weren’t fantasy confirmed that belief.
However, when I was about 14, I could tell that that wasn’t okay anymore. You see, fantasy is for children and when you grow older you’re meant to develop an interest in “real life” books. I noticed this change when visiting the school library and my teachers would try to pull me towards the non-fantasy shelves. “Aren’t you ready to try something other than fantasy?” they would ask. I would get similar comments from family members: “You’re still reading fantasy? Still Harry Potter?” said in that condescending way. So naturally I started to feel embaressed about it. I stopped talking about reading as one of my passions because that would always prompt the question of what I liked to read. I still only read fantasy but I just didn’t talk about it to avoid being seen as “the weird one” or “the nerd”.
That was pretty much my life until a few years ago when I discovered BookTube and the online book community in general. Suddenly I’m watching SO. MANY. PEOPLE talking about their love for fantasy books. It was also new for me to see women talking about fantasy, and that made a huge difference in my life. It felt empowering in the way that I was no longer alone in my obsession. It gave me the confidence I needed to just embrace my love of reading and not be afraid to talk about it. I no longer felt weird.
Does this mean that everything is just perfect now and people are accepting the fantasy genre? Not exactly but there has been a shift with the huge success of the Game of Thrones show. We were finally the cool people! Game of Thrones really managed to showcase all the merits of fantasy and how it isn’t just escapism, and that opened many people’s eyes to the possibilities within the genre. Just look at how many fantasy books are being adapted into movies and shows at the moment (it’s a lot!).
This is all very good and definitely a huge step in the right direction, but to go back to my own experiences, I still see so many people dismissing the genre. As I now talk more openly about my love of reading, I often get the weird look from people who don’t understand how an adult can talk so passionately about magic. I don’t let it bother me anymore but it’s still there.
Finally, I also just want to highlight some of the problems of being a fantasy reader in Denmark. Now, I read my books in English because that’s what I’m most comfortable with but the fact is that I don’t have a choice. Or rather, other Danes don’t have a choice because very, very few fantasy books get translated into Danish. Only the most popular books get a translation and of those it’s mainly YA books. As an example: the only adult Brandon Sanderson book that has been translated is The Way of Kings. Not Mistborn. Not Warbreaker. The entire Wheel of Time series hasn’t been translated either. Those are some of the best and most fundamental books within the genre that aren’t available to non-English speaking Danes.
I just want to clarify that Danes are able to speak English quite well, but I’ve still met many who find it intimidating to read an entire book in English. Fantasy isn’t exactly the easiest genre anyway. So the lack of translations have an impact on how many people are reading the genre. On top of that, not very many Danish fantasy books are published. And those that are, are so far away from any Bestseller list that they could never dream of hitting them. So there you have your vicious circle. Of course publishers aren’t going to spent money translating books in a genre that doesn’t sell very well. The surge in popularity fantasy books otherwise have experienced hasn’t reached Denmark. We only read murder mysteries here.
I can’t help but get the feeling that our society treats the fantasy genre as less than others, and the result is the shame I felt as a child for reading it anyway. I’m sure a lot of other people has felt the same way and I really want that to change. Fantasy is an amazing genre that can explore so many relevant issues and have just as much literary merit as any other genre.
So what is the solution? It’s difficult to change societal opinions on your own but that is not an excuse to do nothing. I will set the goal for myself to read at least 5 fantasy books by Danish authors by the end of the year. It will require some research on my part because I can’t mention a single adult fantasy book by a Danish author right now. I will also have to overcome my dislike of reading in Danish but I want to view this as an opportunity to find so many more amazing books. And then I want to talk about them! Maybe that will make just a little difference.
Now, I can of course only talk about the situation in Denmark but I would love to know if you’ve experienced something similar in your own country, especially if you’re from a non-English speaking one. Is fantasy a popular genre where you live? Have you experienced your own kind of stigmatization for reading fantasy? Do you think there’s an incresing acceptance of the genre? Chat with me in the comments.
“The king of Attolia was passing through his city, on his way to the port to great ambassadors newly arrived from distant parts of the world.”
First line in A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
August is over so here is my reading wrap up for the month. I finished 5 books which is pretty much my average. Besides these 5 books, I also started The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and I’m about 300 pages into that. I probably won’t be able to finish it before I have to return it to the library, so it will be a while before it shows up in a wrap up as finished. I’m really enjoying it though! But enough of that, let’s get onto the books I managed to complete. The first one is another Sanderson novel because why not.
The Alloy of Law (Book 1 in Mistborn: The Alloy
Author: Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the
verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting
in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed
skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or
religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old
magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world.
Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the
brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his
Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to
return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns
and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or
so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant
tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains
of the Roughs.
I don’t think I like westerns. At first, I found this book super interesting because of how the world had evolved since we left it in Hero of Ages. It’s a fantasy world where they actually managed to invent stuff like electricity and guns. It showed how the world is progressing instead of just showing a finished product. I found the plot somewhat underwhelming for a Sanderson novel which is why my rating is a little low. If you want more of my thoughts on The Alloy of Law, I have a full review right here.
A Conspiracy of Kings (Book 4 in The Queen’s
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Genre: YA fantasy
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
attempted assassination and kidnapping, Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis,
disappears. Those who care for him—including the thief Eugenides and the Queen
of Eddis—are left to wonder if he is alive and if they will ever see him again.
It felt so
good to be back in this world. And we get to see Sophos again after he’s been
gone since book 1. I really enjoyed reading from his perspective, so I didn’t
mind an absent Eugenides for most of the book. The first half the book was
definitely my favorite because that’s really where we got to know Sophos a bit
better. The more political plotline took over in the latter half and I wasn’t
as impressed with it as I’ve been in the previous books.
I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
her twin Noah are close until a tragedy drives them apart. Now they are barely
speaking – and both are falling for boys they can’t have. Love’s complicated.
A very sweet story that I imagine many people can somewhat relate to if they have a sibling. Jude and Noah are so different and yet so similar that it was really heartwarming to see them grow. It’s very much a story about grief and different ways of dealing with it. And not dealing with it. I don’t have any experiences of my own that could relate to what Jude and Noah went through and I think that made my experience of this book a little different that others. I felt detached from the story when I think I was supposed to cry. Odd feeling really but that is why this is not a 5-star book. I think it will be just that to others.
The Eye of the World (Book 1 in The Wheel of
Author: Robert Jordan
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: Yeah, that’s not really possible without
spoiling stuff. Even the Goodreads page doesn’t tell you much.
I’m a bit
conflicted. I loved the beginning of this book and the potential it presented.
I imagined so many possible plot lines that just didn’t end up happening. That
meant that the first 200-300 pages had me hooked and I couldn’t put the book
down. Then it became very, very dull. I might go insane if I read another
page-long description of an insignificant inn. That leads me to my main problem
with the book: the writing style. It’s so not me. I don’t mind when books are
slow paced as long as the time is spent depicting character emotions and
thought processes. Jordan spends more time on buildings, clothes and general
surroundings which I just don’t care about.
I still gave the book a bit of a high rating because I’m really intrigued about the world and I want to learn more about the magic. The characters are also very good and realistic with much room for development in the next 13 books (!).
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Fiction (I don’t know what to call this!)
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
This a case of a hyped book not living up the hype for me. It’s a fine book and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t make me feel anything spectacular. I liked the way the collapse of civilization was described. It was done in a way that was connected to characters and I thought that was very inspiring. We follow a lot of characters and I liked pretty much everyone but I didn’t love them, so that kept me a bit detached. I plan to have a review up for this very soon and I hope my thoughts will be a little more clear and constructed by then.
That’s it for my reading in August. It was very much a 4 star month for me. Pretty much all the books were around that rating. It’s been a while since I’ve read a 5 star and I’m feeling the desperation creeping up. Next month, I’m participating in Sequel September which was created by Kathy from Books and Munches and hopefully that will give me a 5 star book. If you’re interested in knowing what I’m reading, my TBR is right here.
readers, to another post in which I’ll list the fantasy series currently on my
TBR. These are all the series I haven’t started yet but mean to at some undisclosed
date in the future. I’ve excluded series that are continuations of other series
I’ve read such as Mistborn: The Alloy Era. Those count as series I haven’t finished,
which I’ll probably make separate post about.
each series a rating between 1 and 5 to indicate how I intend to prioritize
this TBR. The key-word here is “intend”. Here we go!
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
hate this series? I haven’t come across anyone who doesn’t have this on their
list of favorites so I’m sure I’ll love it. I’ve read Mistborn Era 1 by
Sanderson and really enjoyed his writing style. It’s easy to understand and
engaging at the same time. According to what I’ve been told, Stormlight is even
better than Mistborn so I just need to find the time to read this.
Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
Now this is
mainly on my TBR because the booktuber, PeruseProject, can’t stop talking about
it. I don’t know that much about what the series is actually about, but I’ve
heard that it has some cool characters and some magic. That’s really all I
Farseer by Robin Hobb
really want to read some Robin Hobb. I’ve heard some mixed things especially
about the writing style which I’m guessing isn’t for everyone. I want to give
it try though so that I can see for myself what all the fuss is about.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
genuinely terrified of this. It’s such a beloved series by fantasy readers that
I don’t know what I’ll do if I hate it. My previous experiences with classic
fantasy haven’t been great so I’d actually decided that I didn’t want to read
Wheel of Time. But then I heard so much good about it so here we are. It’s such
a long series though…
The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
This is a series
in which the premise intrigues me so much that no matter how many negative
reviews I see, I still want to read it. From what I’ve heard, the romance should
be really interesting, so I just really want to know what it’s about. It’s YA and
that means that I am prepared for the possibility that I’m not going to like it
too much. It still deserves an attempt in my opinion.
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
I want to
read some more historical fantasy, and this one sounds pretty cool. Magic and
time travel to early 20th-century New York. I’m here for that. Other
than that, I don’t know too much about it so I’m excited to see how it turns
means that the next series I’ll be starting is The Wheel of Time which I’m very
much looking forward to. I really want to know if you have read any of these
and what you thought about them. Maybe you can convince me to prioritize
to posts similar to this one where I’ll talk about some more series. Until
then, happy reading.