On the outskirts of England lies a secret society, a supernatural race known as book eaters, that consume books as food, retaining all of their contents and knowledge. As their numbers dwindle, book eater women are raised into a life of marriage contracts and child breeding. This is the fate of Devon, who flees with her second son soon after he is born. Dean’s dark fantasy debut is decadent, a feast of a novel interlocked with a quest for agency, transformation, and identity. An aptly named book that I devoured in just one evening.
This follow up to The Jasmine Throne stole my heart and destroyed my soul with a slow and delicate grace. Intensely ruthless and brutal at its core, The Oleander Sword is an astonishing sequel that blooms with betrayal, romance, and unintended sacrifice. Tasha Suri's Burning Kingdoms is an exemplary fantasy series, altogether epic and expansive.
A revitalized look into the life and times of Joan of Arc, from her startings in Domrémy France, to her martyrdom and eventual rise to sainthood. Katherine Chen has created a version of Joan of Arc completely unheard of in our time, emphasizing the woman beneath the image, flawed and unyielding. With as much of a focus on the history surrounding the Hundred Years War as its central figure, this story slowly enraptured me. A brilliant novel for the ages.
In a world where the color of your determines your standing, two young women switched at birth to ignite a failed revolution reunite in an effort to achieve what they both desire. This is easily one of my favorite fantasy debuts of the whole year -- Ruthless and entirely ambitious. El-Arifi has poured her soul into this expansive story where loyalties are tested and history is not as it first appears.
In a secluded estate far removed from the conflict on Yucatán's peninsula, Carlota Moreau lives an isolated existence. That is, until the arrival of two strange gentlemen dissolve her fragile world into chaos. Layering in themes of colonization, class, and subjugation, Moreno-Garcia examines possession and the relationship between creator and subject. This is her best work by far. Wonderfully romantic and intense in its resistance.
Last of the true witches in all of Oblya, Marlinchen and her sisters spend their days tending to their clientele, and placating the unending appetites of their cursed wizard father. A chance connection spells freedom, but at a price that may be too monstrous to pay. Gorgeously gruesome and brutal in it's design, Juniper & Thorn is a twisted gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, imbued with memory, a poignant examination of abuse, and survivorhood in all forms. This is Ava Reid at their best!