fantasy

A-
The Impossible Us

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book so adept at inspiring, sustaining, and rewarding my curiosity as a reader as The Impossible Us. It’s the story of Nicholas – Nick - a Leeds-based (ghost)writer and Rebecca – Bee - a London-based small business owner (of For Frock’s Sake, a ...

C-
Once Upon a Broken Heart

Is there anything more heartbreaking than discovering a book you hoped to love isn’t all that? Stephanie Garber is capable of writing a genuinely satisfying fantasy with sweet romance and a sense of magic. Once Upon a Broken Heart (OUABH for short, which I realize sounds like a shady agency from S ...

B
The Orphan Witch

The Orphan Witch is a lovely but spare novel filled with rich worldbuilding.  The central heroine is worth caring about, and the book has a sweeping sense of romance to it, even if the central love story is very instalove-y. Author Persephone May is a lonely timewalker. Possessed of magical and ...

C
Graceling: The Graphic Novel

I loved Graceling and its sequels, Fire, Bitterblue, and Winterkeep, and I also love graphic novels, so I was so excited to see that Graceling had scored a graphic adaptation. Well, at least I was excited until I read it. A graphic novel should be more than a literal illustration of a text. Not only ...

B
Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls is a fascinating transposition of Jane Eyre to Ethiopia with good world-building and lovely prose.  But a sour male lead took this one down a notch or two for me. Andromeda, called Andi, is a debtera – which, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, is an itinerant ...

B-
The Last Graduate

Sci-fi/fantasy novels are often written to be read in sequential order and The Last Graduate is no exception. Because the books tell one long story, this review contains spoilers for the previous novel – A Deadly Education - pretty much from the first sentence on. El Higgins has successfully re ...

B
The Bronzed Beasts

The Bronzed Beasts is the third and final book in The Gilded Wolves series and it picks up immediately after the events of the last volume. This review will necessarily contain spoilers for those works. Laila is mourning Enrique and Zofia, the friends she had seen murdered by Séverin, when somet ...

A-
Blood Like Magic

Blood Like Magic is filled with richly-plotted worldbuilding and complex magical hierarchies.  Overall it’s quite a satisfying and engrossing read, with a few minor issues that kept it from getting a full-on A grade.  It’s a full-tabled banquet loaded with treats – most of them of a rather c ...

A-
The Chosen and the Beautiful

I absolutely didn’t expect Nghi Vo’s next book to take up the case of the much sidelined Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby and retell her story – but she has, and she’s done it so beautifully and so spellbindingly that it will captivate readers worldwide. It’s 1922, and when we first e ...

C+
Court of Swans

Court of Swans provides a fairly decent opening for Melanie Dickerson’s A Dericott Tale series, which will focus on the Dericott siblings and retell various fairytales through the lens of their love stories.  Court of Swans is a half-realistic/half faith-based retelling of The Seven Swans, though ...