Books We Like
Posted on 5/9/2013
When I was a child, I was not a fan of reading. I found it difficult, boring, and a complete waste of time. As I grew up, and was introduced to different types of books, I discovered my aversion to books was not due to reading at all, but rather I had not found my true genre.
Around age of 14, my oldest brother let me borrow his DragonLance Chronicles series by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss, and immediately, I was hooked on that fantastic world of dragons, elves, wizards and knights. This series lead to me to other types of fantasies like Greek and Norse mythology and fairy tales. You’ll notice from my list below that my favorites are not limited to just one type of fantasy. They range from Celtic fantasy to Steampunk, but they all have very strong female leads, which could be said of all the books I read.
Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy series) by Jacqueline Carey. Imagine Fifty Shades of Grey meets Game of Thrones and you have the very basic premise for this exquisitely written epic fantasy. Set in an alternate Renaissance France, young Phèdre is sold into indentured servitude to the Night Court to be trained as a courtesan. Like all residents of Terre d’Ange, Phèdre is breathtakingly beautiful; however, she is noticeably flawed. Chosen by the angel Kushiel, he marked her as his own with a red mote in her left eye indicating that she is a true anguisette – one who experiences ecstasy and pain as one. Unaware of her true nature, the Dowayne of her house sells her bond to Anafiel Delauney, a nobleman, who recognizes what Phèdre is and sees her true worth.
Tutored in the arts of the bedchamber, court life and, most importantly, observation, Phèdre becomes an unlikely weapon in Anafiel’s arsenal of spies. Set in a vibrant and decadent world full of masquerades and pageantry, there is an undercurrent of political intrigue and social unrest. After stumbling upon a treasonous plot and betrayed by one she loves, it soon becomes a race against time for Phèdre to prove her loyalty to the realm. Using every faculty she possesses and relying upon a unique cast of characters, Phèdre soon learns how far she must go to save all she holds dear.This provocative epic will captivate you from page one. You’ll feel every joy, every sorrow, every betrayal, and every victory along with our heroine that by page 912 you will not have just finished a novel, but ended an experience. Phèdre’s distinct voice and complex character makes her my most memorable female protagonists of all time. Her acts of courage and selflessness in the name of love truly encompass the notion that “that which yields is not weak.”
Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters fantasies) by Juliet Marillier. Sorcha is the seventh child of a seventh child and the only daughter of the Irish lord of Severwaters. Growing up she was fiercely protected by her brothers but ignored by her father. Sorcha life had meant the end of her mother’s. Sevenwaters was a peaceful and happy community, despite the constant rumors of war with the hated Britons, until Sorcha’s tranquility is shattered when her father returns home from campaigning with a new wife. It is quite obvious to Lord Colum’s children that there is something dark and menacing about their new stepmother, but Lady Oonah has bewitched their father beyond reason. On the eve of the siblings’ escape, she casts an enchantment over Sorcha’s brothers, turning them into swans. Sorcha, however, is protected from the sorceress by the fey that dwell in the forest. In order to break the curse and save her brothers, the Lady of the Forest gives Sorcha the impossible task of weaving shirts for her brothers out of starwort – nettles – and remaining utterly silent until her mission is completed. Her task is made even more difficult when she’s kidnapped by her father’s enemy and taken to Britain. Will Sorcha have enough strength and perseverance to save her brothers or will they be forever doomed?
Inspired by the fairy tale, The Six Swans, Marillier crafts a poetic and mesmerizing story with a heroine who speaks volumes without making a sound. The trials Sorcha faces only enhances her strength of character and resolution to save her family, but it also sets her on a path that might lead to a love deeper than she’s ever known.
Soulless (Parasol Protectorate series) by Gail Carriger.
Dirigibles, glassicals, and parasols…Oh my! Set in London during the late 19th-century, spinster Alexia Tarabotti has the misfortune of being both Italian and soulless. Despite werewolves, vampires and ghosts being part of high society, being a preternatural, and female, is a rarity indeed. Soullessness gives Alexia the ability to counteract supernatural powers; thus it is imperative for the supernatural world to keep her “condition” secret. Her secret is put in jeopardy, however, when she’s rudely attacked by a vampire, at a party, no less. Without proper introductions, Alexia accidently kills the vampire, which results in Lord Conall Maccon’s, London’s Alpha-werewolf & government official, to be sent in to investigate. Naturally the two despise each other, but they must work together to solve a mystery of supernatural proportions. Witty dialogue, outrageous characters, and steampunk gadgetry makes this debut novel an exhilarating read.