Award-winning Fantasy author Naomi Novik has been weaving tales since 2006 but has been obsessed with the genre since she was six years old when she read The Lord of the Rings. Her work has been nominated twenty-two times, and she’s walked away with twelve wins, the Nebula and Hugo among them. Novik is known for taking a classic staple of fairy tales and fantasy and turning it into something new. Her eloquent prose and world-building make for excellent reading.
On this, her 50th birthday, we’re taking a look at the legacy she is building for future fantasy writers and readers.
The Temeraire Series
Novik’s first publication, His Majesty’s Dragon, was published in 2006 and is an alternate-reality fantasy of the Napoleonic Wars. Bringing together historical fiction and fantasy to create a new take on the mystical dragon, Novik creates a tale that reels you in from the first chapter. As of 2016, this 9-book series was completed with the publication of League of Dragons. Soar into the heart of this story and become enthralled with the dragon Temeraire and his companion Captain Will Laurence.
“Novik’s influences run the gamut from Jane Austen to Patrick O’Brian, with a side trip through Anne McCaffrey. Her books are completely involving and probably addictive, their central conceit explored in clever detail with a great deal of wit and historical insight.”—San Francisco Chronicle
The Scholomance Series
An adult dark academia trilogy with a heroine reader can’t help but root for, this series takes what you know of the genre and throws it out the window. She twists the usual tropes and brings a refreshing perspective and nuance. This series has exceptional world-building, an interesting magic system, and thrilling action. Follow along as El comes into her power, defies destiny, and explores a reluctant relationship, all while defeating terrifying monsters. A Deadly Education is book one of the completed trilogy.
“At the Scholomance, monsters are everywhere and the breakfast might kill you, but the wonderful cast of characters will grab ahold of your heart and you’ll never want to leave this deadly school. Naomi Novik skillfully combines sharp humor with layers of imagination to build a fantasy that delights on every level. I loved this brilliant book.”—Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series
Uprooted is a standalone novel that is a mesh of Polish fairytales reimagined with Novik’s innovative writing style. A village terrified of the malevolent woods with a will of its own at its border depends on a single wizard, the Dragon, to keep them safe. The price: a female sacrifice of his choice for a decade-long servitude. This novel is from the perspective of our clumsy heroine, Agneiszka, as she and the Dragon spend more time together.
“Drawing on her Polish heritage and fairy-tale tropes, [Novik] has penned an original and fully realized fantastical place guaranteed to enthrall her longtime fans and attract new readers. This exceptional fantasy for adult and teen readers should appeal to those who love fairy-tale-influenced stories such as Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End.”—Library Journal (starred review)
This intriguing retelling delves into the ideas of “Rumpelstiltskin.” Spinning Silver divides the facets of Rumpel into its three strong, motivating heroines. A standalone with a complexity of world-building that rivals series, this novel leaves you wanting more. Follow Miryem as she sets out to collect the debts of her father’s moneylending business. Her tactics quickly catch the attention of the Staryk—malicious ice fae—and set her on an unexpected journey with unlikely allies. Thai story is fast-paced and packed with multiple POVs.
“A perfect tale . . . This book is about the determination and quiet competence of women doing remarkable things without knowing first that they can do them. . . . A big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin.”—The New York Times Book Review
Hopefully, Novik plans on extending her standalone retellings. I, for one, look forward to whatever she has in store for us.
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