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?
The Last Sun is a fun, expletive-filled and truly wild ride from start to finish. Rune is a moody fallen prince, Brand his foul-mouthed, angry bodyguard, and they're getting along just fine as mercenaries and criminal dogsbodies until a big pile of trouble falls into their laps. Rune and Brand pursue a missing persons case through the court intrigues of New Atlantis's noble houses. Sadly for Rune, anyone in the nobility could be responsible for the anonymous hit job that slaughtered his entire family. Sadly for Brand, the more they investigate, the more he suddenly has to protect Rune from the freshly risen dead. This noir-fantasy mashup, whose elaborate world building is based on the Tarot, is going to delight fans of Max Gladstone, Saladin Ahmed, Daniel Jose Older, and Becky Chambers.
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.
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.
Rather than spin, I find Novik brilliantly weaves this tale, crossing contrasting threads to create a gorgeous tapestry. A wintry world, malevolent fairy creatures, a starving family, a cursed king, and in the middle of it all Miryem, a young Jewish woman forced to take over her father’s money-lending livelihood when his sentimentality leaves her family destitute. This is more than a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, it is a tale worthy of praise all on its own.
Do you ever find yourself wanting more Lovecraft in your diet, but without the misogyny and antisemitism? Johnson turns Lovecraft on his head with this fast-paced and dreamlike quest story, featuring a mature woman as the hero, and lots of strange creatures and places.
Strange, accessible, and delightful!
The best fantasy I have read in ages. Achingly masterful and brimming with complexly rendered main and secondary characters, Adeyemi's Orisha world will sweep you up in its embrace with one arm and brandish a knife at you with the other. Paced perfectly at un-put-downable, this is your 2018 must-read.