De Castell's Spellslinger series is an adventure to take: magic, intrigue, exile, friends, enemies, frenemies, and eyeball eating Squirrel-Cats. The series has it all. I blazed my way through the first four books of Kellen's journeys and the fifth is almost here (out in May!).
I think I’ve been waiting all my life to find this book. Or, perhaps, I’ve just been waiting for it to find me. With any translated novel there's a kind of unnameable wonder. So, I don’t know if it’s just the beauty of the translation itself from its original French text or something else entirely, but I haven’t read a book this magically alive since Harry Potter. Think of all your expectations of what a fantasy novel can be and know that this novel will surpass every single one. Gah! So this is love.
I love almost everything put out by Small Beer Press, and when I got a copy of Fire Logic in the mail, I read it and immediately blazed through the rest of the series. Fire Logic is the first in an epic fantasy series about a brutal civil war where every character and plot point pivots around history, philosophy, and the aftermath of violence. It's gentler, in later books, and slower than series like Erika Johansen's Tearling books or Ann Leckie's Radch series (though if you like Kalr 5 and her tea cups, you'll also love Garland and his ladle). The questions these books ask repeatedly are, what systems are working to narrow our choices? And what kind of radical thinking will allow us to see another path?
I know you need something super gay, magical, and dramatic to start your new year off appropriately. The Last Sun is a tarot-inspired (yes!) noir-fantasy mashup starring a moody fallen prince and his foul-mouthed bodyguard that you will love. Rune and Brand eke out an uneasy existence as mercenaries and criminal dogsbodies, but when they're hired to find a nobleman's missing heir they're plunged into deeper waters than ever before. In New Atlantis, the island kingdom built from a patchwork of scenery borrowed from the human world, the dead rise again, the courts go to war, and Rune must confront the bloody night that destroyed his family.
You won't want to miss a single sentence, word, not even one comma of this magical adventure. Goddesses, librarians, lost cities, adventures, fantastical dreams--have I convinced you yet? No? Well, then let me just add that this was hands down one of the most beautifully-written and imaginative books I've read in years (and, hold on to your hats folks, because the sequel is even better!). Now, what are you still doing here reading this review? Grab the book and start dreaming--I mean, reading!
Full disclosure: this is my desert island book. Clive Barker (my future husband) displays the fecundity of his imagination by creating a dark fantasy epic on the scale of Tolkien full of deliciously sacrilegious subtext. The characters and scenes within have woven themselves into my psyche never to be unraveled. Thank Goddess.
The first in the Books of Ambha, this is an epic fantasy based in Mughal India. Mehr is a young Ambhan noblewoman with the magic of her exiled Amrithi mother running through her veins. Although Amrithi have always been feared and misunderstood for their power, now huge numbers of them are disappearing. To protect her family, Mehr strikes a deal that proves to be more complicated than she could have imagined. Suri has woven an exciting tale of embracing your heritage and acknowledging your privilege, being true to yourself and doing what's right.
Forces--both natural and man made--have changed the world as we know it. Large swaths of the US are gone, and monsters and gods walk the earth. The Dinetah (the Navajo Nation) are now the dominant group--among them Maggie Hoskie, a trained monster hunter. When dark magic rises, Maggie reluctantly pairs with a smooth-talking medicine man named Kai to take it on. Roanhorse's debut is vivid, detailed, raw and human. Her characters are delightfully flawed, the world well-built, with a twisty plot and fast pace. I'm a hard sell when it comes to post-apocalyptic stories, but I loved this one. (And while you're waiting for the sequel, check out Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruhac!)
Ever wish that American Gods was well written?Look no further than Rebecca Roanhorse's debut novel Trail of Lightning. Enter the Sixth World of heroines, monsters, and life on the reclaimed rez: the land of Dinétah.
Middle-aged math professor Boe thinks the adventurous days of her youth are long gone. But when her best student goes missing, she must venture out across a terrifying dreamscape, pursued by malicious gods, to retrieve her. A beautifully written, economical little masterpiece about resiliency, second chances, and the power of women's stories.