Thumbs up for A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. Young adult fantasy.
I am among the minority of people who thought this book was great. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies (and I’m not a Disney buff in general) so I was curious to see how it could be twisted. This retelling begins at the same place, but skews into alternate-universe ground a few chapters in when Jafar, not Aladdin, is the one who summons the genie.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Benjamin the True by Claudia Paley. Children’s fantasy.
Benjamin discovers a witch, Ellenwan, in a cellar in his otherwise ordinary town. She teaches him witchcraft. There aren’t many books that really make you believe in magic while you’re reading them. This is one of them.
“I am not leaving you behind because I think you are afraid, or because there is nothing for you to do.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney. Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Erotica.
Sophisticated reason to read a book: I was intrigued by the title. But it turned out to be charming. Tully Truegood ends up as a courtesan accidentally (as one does), then in prison (quite intentionally). Here, she recounts events. A pleasing costume-drama confection. Light on the erotica, light on the romance, gently witty, very nice use of the heroine’s magical ability to turn ghosts manifest.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Heathen, Volume 1 by Natasha Alterici. Graphic novel.
Walking through Emerald City Comic Con, I spotted some art that made me stop on a dime and walk backward. The author/artist handed me the first volume saying something like, “it’s about lesbian Vikings who go on a quest to kill Odin.” I said, “Sold.” I read it that night and went back to Alterici’s booth the next day to get an art commission.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Prince of the Godborn by Geraldine Harris. Children’s fantasy.
By all rights I should have been bored to tears by this, the first volume in a series about a spoiled half-God prince and his warrior half-brother traveling the world in search of seven MacGuffins. It also suffers a slight lack of commas. Yet, somehow, the characters and the world charmed me.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman. Horror/fantasy.
This is a messy book, but messy in a pleasing way: if magic were real, you can believe it would be this. A magician and his apprentice, who met in Alcoholics Anonymous. (They love each other, but she’s a lesbian; awkward.) The magician has a boobytrapped house, a bunch of Russian spell books, a wicker butler with the heart of a collie and the head of a Salvador Dali painting, and a very good reason to have a boobytrapped house.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Children’s.
I honestly don’t remember ever having read this before. It’s possible I read it as a kid and didn’t connect with it. As an adult, however, I loved it.
Save… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. Fantasy.
I went into this knowing three things. First, that it is a fantasy in which the main character is an accountant (this is, for me, a plus). Second, it got great reviews from people whose opinions I trust. Third, not just one but several of the blurbs on the dust jacket include the word “brutal.” When I was early in my first late-night marathon read—that is, before the really brutal stuff started happening—it occurred to me that it might easily lend itself to a humorous plot summary: “Young woman becomes an accountant for the Evil(ish) Empire in order to legalize gay marriage.” At the end, when I have been reduced to a gibbering and yet somehow gleeful wreck, all I can do is wave the hardback twitchingly in your general direction and tell you that if (a) you like zero-magic political fantasy but don’t need Martin’s bazillion characters and (b) you understand how inflation works and (c) you are capable of sufficient ethical complexity to see why someone might do terrible things for a good cause, you should stop reading this blog and get a copy of Traitor RIGHT NOW.… >> Read more