This week’s topic:
Top 5 books set in an alternate universe
So, instead of an alternate universe, I’ve decided to focus on books set in this universe but with a historical twist, I guess. The following are all fantasy books set in this world in the past… or seem to be set in this world in the past.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The majority of this YA novel takes place shortly after the Civil War — when the dead began to rise. Because of this predicament, Black and Native American teens are trained to protect wealthy White people from zombie attacks. I enjoyed this story, mostly because of the plucky protagonist, but also because of the zombies.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
This novella takes place either during the slave trade or shortly after. It’s about what became of the slaves lost during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade — those who took their lives by jumping overboard the ships. It was an interesting read, but I didn’t like the execution much. I only liked the lore it gives us about what happened to slaves who went into the sea and its exploration of the trauma of slavery and how it affects people generations later.
The Conductors by Nicole Glover
This is Glover’s debut fantasy novel. The majority of it is set shortly after slavery was abolished in the U.S. The protagonist, Hetty, is a former slave who helped others escape slavery via the Underground Railroad. But now that slavery is abolished, she works with her partner, Benjy, to solve crimes that occur in Philadelphia’s Black communities. In this alternative past, there are two types of magic systems, Celestial magic, which Black people use, and Sorcery, which White people use. It’s a great premise, but some parts of the story worked for me while others didn’t.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
I don’t know history so well to tell the equivalent of the historical period this story takes place in, but I assume the country that is the focus of the story is France. Kushiel’s Dart is the first book, and it’s fantasy about a courtesan trained as a spy who uses her skills to save her kingdom many times. I really enjoyed these books and loved how they are written. Although it took me a while to work through the third book in the trilogy, I enjoyed it because we get to see even more countries in this world, such as the equivalent of Egypt, Greece, and Ethiopia.
Rasputin, Vol. 1: The Road to the Winter Place by Alex Grecian
This comic book takes us to Russia. It’s a fantasy comic that gives us an alternative background to Rasputin, the monk who served as a healer and adviser to the Romanovs during Nicholas II’s monarchy. It’s an origin story that mixes in some folklore, and it’s very intriguing. But it’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I wonder if I’ll like it still if I should reread it today.