Wyrd & Wonder has begun!! 😀 That means, no matter what, May will be a fantastic month.
If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, the monthlong celebration of all things fantasy, see my previous post. But to get things started, I’ll do a Fantastic Top Fives post, which is a meme the Wyrd & Wonder crew created in honor of W&W’s fifth anniversary. There’s a different topic each week.
This week’s topic:
Top Five Fantasies Since Last Wyrd & Wonder
To get my five below, I went back to books read since April last year. So here are the top fantasy/fantasy-related books I read since then.
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
A gaslamp fantasy novel about a fire witch called Delly who takes on a gig to protect a young gentlewoman from being assassinated before her marriage. Delly is in a bind and needs the money for her rent and to help her mother get off the drip, a drug.
I really enjoyed this story and was very entertained by Delly’s antics. It’s Waggoner’s second novel, and it’s set in the same world as her first novel, Unnatural Magic, but it’s not necessary to read them in order. I’m hoping the next one is also set in this world.
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
It’s the first in a YA fantasy trilogy set in a world that resembles ancient Mediterranean times. The story is told from different teens’ POVs. Some are searching for the fabled Last Prophet who can help prevent the end of the world, some are trying to prevent prophesied events from being fulfilled to stave off the end of the world, some are running from their destinies, and others are just trying to survive and save themselves.
The characters grappling with their beliefs and religion is what made this a compelling read for me. I love such stories, so it’s no surprise that I gave this one a high rating.
Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel (illus.)
Here, we have a picture book about one of the great, epic Hindu tales — the story of Rama, an avatar of the blue god Vishnu, and how he defeated the powerful demon Ravana, who no god or demon can defeat. Due to how it’s written, I think it’s geared toward an older middle grade audience, but all ages can read and enjoy it. It’s a gorgeous book containing almost 200 pages and over 100 stunning illustrations.
I had a wonderful time reading this. The story was fascinating and entirely new to me, and the illustrations were all gorgeous and complemented the story well. I’m so happy I own a copy of this book.
Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
This story takes place some years after the events in the first book, Curse of Chalion. It focuses on Ista, now dowager royina, who embarks on a pilgrimage to escape the suffocating care of those around her who still believe her to be mad and “delicate.” However, it seems the gods, especially the Bastard, have other plans for her.
As with Curse of Chalion, I enjoyed this immensely. I just really dig the voice of Bujold’s characters. They tend to be older (so far in my experience) and have a dry wit. I also love that we learn more about the gods in this and get some more worldbuilding as well because of it.
Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham, illus. by Lan Medina = read for W&W
Fables is a fantasy comic book series about characters from fairytales living in exile in New York after a threat overtook their native lands. The first volume is a whodunit. Detective Bigby Wolf is trying to uncover who killed Rose Red.
This was just wonderful. SUCH a good read, and I was mad at myself for waiting so long to try it, all because I don’t like the illustration style — it’s just not appealing to me. But the story! Oh man! I’m hooked.
That’s it for me.
What’s a great fantasy novel you read last year that you’d recommend?