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?
Ann Leckie is so intelligent and so wise about the way she crafts her stories. What we have here is a slow burn fantasy novel told from the perspective of an ancient god that resides in a huge rock, a plot summary which does not sound even remotely exciting. But friends, I'm here to tell you that it is. You will see life evolve, languages emerge and change, cultures form and get subsumed, and religious worship come into being. There is war, there is blood sacrifice, there are fully developed queer / trans characters. There is the deep, echoing feeling that life existed before you were born and will continue after you die.
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!
At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half.
The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves.
The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?
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.
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.