Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations for History and Fantasy Lovers

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If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you will know that fantasy and historical fiction are my two favorite genres. Books that combine both elements, however, make me absolutely giddy. Well done historical fantasy, as I’ve dubbed this genre, is much more difficult to find than you might expect (with the industry riddled with time-traveling romances like Outlander), so today I’ve drawn up a list of my top ten books for lovers of well done historical fantasy. Continue reading

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Top 5 Wednesday: Non-Western Inspired Fantasy Books

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This week’s topic is books that were inspired by non-western locations, or else set in a non-western location. I decided to narrow it down to Fantasy books inspired by non-western settings as those are pretty few and far between (in English at least). But first, I have a number of thoughts on this topic.

Have you ever wondered why English literature is dominated by western thought? The answer is simple. Because English is a language of the west. So it really isn’t surprising, nor, I think, necessarily a negative thing. However, because the US is a melting pot of cultures and with how our world has expanded into a global community rather than just a national one, it is important to learn about cultures beyond what we know in the west. So, I am happy that authors of non-Western background have been gaining recognition in recent years. Continue reading

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale retelling
3.5 stars.

I’ve been on a bit of a Neil Gaiman streak since reading Neverwhere, and I’m still bummed at myself for never reading him before. But I guess that gives me time to thoroughly enjoy his books now.

Tristran Thorn has never felt like he belongs in the village of Wall. When Victoria, the girl he loves, says she will give him whatever he desires if he fetches her the falling star they saw drop to theĀ other side of the stone wall that separates their world from the strange and magical land of Stormhold, Tristran doesn’t hesitate to agree. In order to prove his love, Tristran sets out on the journey of a lifetime, encountering hungry witches, bloodthirsty princes, and air pirates along the way, only to discover that his heritage is not as he thought it was and that maybe Victoria is not who he truly desires at all. Continue reading

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
4.5 stars.

“Richard was sitting in the dark, on a ledge, on the side of a storm drain, wondering what to do, wondering how much further out of his depth he could possibly get. His life so far, he decided, had prepared him perfectly for a job in securities, for shopping at the supermarket, for watching football on the telly on the weekends, for turning on a heater if he got cold. It had magnificently failed to prepare him for a life as an un-person on the roofs and in the sewers of London, for a life in the cold and the wet and the dark.”

This is my first time reading a Neil Gaiman book and all I can say is . . . WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? WHY HAVE I WAITED SO LONG? Continue reading

Hunted by Megan Spooner

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Hunted by Megan Spooner
Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale retelling, YA
4 stars.

I have not read as genuinely delightful of a fairy tale retelling in years. Hunted follows in the hallowed tradition of Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier, and I was immediately swept into the nostalgia of Spooner’s enchanted world.

Yeva, the youngest daughter of a wealthy merchant, longs for the solitude and magic of the forest, where she is free from the confines of society and can hunt as she pleases. When her father falls into financial ruin and then madness, disappearing into the forest in search of a mysterious “cunning beast,” Yeva has no choice but to follow him. When she finds a beast of nightmares looming over her father’s body in the snow, she swears vengeance on the creature who killed her father and that has now taken her captive to complete some mysterious test. Continue reading

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Historical Fantasy
5 stars.

“The circus arrives without warning.”

I have never read nor will ever read anything like this book. Morgenstern orchestrates a masterful mixing of genres whose wheres and the whys, much like the circus itself, are deliciously difficult to pin down. The deeply human longing for magic and wonder are piqued within the dream-like realm of Morgernstern’s prose, and I couldn’t help but be enchanted by it. Continue reading

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick

51l-ygptgul-_sy344_bo1204203200_Genre: Historical fantasy, sci-fi, fairy tale — not quite sure what to classify this as.
3 stars.

I really liked the concept behind this book: exploring seven different stories, each further back in time than the one before, slowly connecting more dots as to why what is happening in the first story happens. I have always been fascinated with history and its interaction with the world as we know it. I enjoyed that aspect. Also, Vikings, which is one of my loves. Continue reading