Category: Fantasy

6 Reasons You Should Read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows Duology

After finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.

 

 

6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it

Grisha Trilogy

Image via Goodreads

 

While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.

 

5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes

YA love triangle

Image via WordPress

 

Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.

 

 

4. It delves into real-world issues

 

World Vs. Money

Image via Investopedia

 

Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.

 

3. The writing is extraordinary

 

Image result for six of crows quotes

Image via WordPress

 

Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.

 

 

2. The diversity is on point

 

Image result for six of crows characters

Image via We Heart It

 

Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.

 

1. It’s going to be a TV series

 

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Image via Vox

 

This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.

 

Featured image via Affinity Magazine

9 of the Best Literary Halloween Costume Ideas for 2019

Halloween is approaching fast and the time is nigh for costume planning! It’s time for us nerds to shine. Let’s pull out all the stops and don the best for 2019!

To hell with the zombies, sexy nurses, and my GOD if I see one more Harley Quinn I’ll…(no disrespect for Harley though, gotta love her!) You understand though. Let’s be original people!

Here are the nine best Halloween costumes for 2019!

 

 

9. Nosferatu – Vic or Manx

 

images via Amc

 

There’s been a lot of people talking about the new show Nos4A2, a crime and horror tale that puts a spin on the Vampire genre. The show is based on the 2013 novel by Joe Hill, NOS4A2. It tells the thrilling story of Vic McQueen, a woman with supernatural abilities, who crosses paths with the evil and immortal Charlie Manx—a supernatural villain who feeds off the souls of children and then sends them to another realm. Vic strives to defeat Manx and rescue his victims.

Halloween is always a great time for Vampires and monsters, but now it doesn’t have to be a last minute excuse for a costume. Go all out and replicate your favorite character’s costume, or just throw on some fangs.

 

8. Pennywise

 

images via fox & Literary Hub

 

It wouldn’t be Halloween if there wasn’t something scary, but people’s sense of horror are so different nowadays. For some, a bloodthirsty, supernatural demonic being will bring on nightmares, but for others, a simple clown with a bad case of the flesh-eating munchies will scare them to death!

So pick your clown, grab some balloons, and be ready to show off those pearly whites!

 

7. The Joker

 

Image result for joker steps

Image via CinemaBlend

 

This Halloween may be the perfect time for clowns to make a comeback! Not only did we have the It: Chapter 2 released, but we have another film coming out that’s centered around a crazy clown. This October 4th, DC will be releasing the highly anticipated film Joker. Have him dancing, cracking jokes, or trying to take over Gotham City, the Joker is the perfect choice for Halloween!

 

 

 

6. Miles Morales

 

Image result for miles morales

Image via SyFy Wire

 

With the deal between Sony and Marvel being cut, fans of the MCU may have to say good-bye to the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. However, not all is lost for fans of both the comics and films—we still have the Spiderverse and, most importantly, Miles Morales! Everyone talks about the original webslinger, Peter Parker, or one of the others Spider-Men (or should I say people), Gwen Stacy, but Miles Morales needs a little more loving, making him a fantastic and original choice for a Halloween costume!

 

 

 

5. Game Of Thrones (Family Costume)

 

Images via TVweb and Sporcle

 

Bring the whole family together this Halloween by dressing up as your favorite family from Game of Thrones! Every family has their issues, and this Halloween you can enjoy the relief of realizing that your family is not as bad as most of these families…I hope.

 

4. The Witcher

 

Image result for the witcher netflix

Image via Reddit

 

Fantasy and gaming fans have a lot to look forward to this December with Netflix’s series The Witcher being released. Unleash your inner beast hunter by donning the armor of Geralt of Rivia. The origin of Halloween was to dress up to ward away evil spirits, with this costume ward away your fear of evil spirits, clowns, immortal beings prying on children, and just about anything else!

 

3. Riverdale

 

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image via Moviephone

 

Riverdale is hot right now, and, no, I’m not talking about the steamy scenes. So if you’re addicted to the teenage, crime, mystery drama, and are thinking about going with a less horrifying costume, why not something from Riverdale? There’s a choice for everyone: the jock, the prep, the princess, the delinquent, and the serial killer too!

 

2. Edgar Allan Poe

 

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image via Lansing State Journal

 

Edgar Allan Poe had a huge impact on writing and on numerous writers. Til this day he still remains a huge part of our culture and this year especially brought some well deserved attention to the master of macabre. There was not only a Pop figure of him created, but also several YA authors reimagined his work, translating his tales into the modern age. All of this just goes to show that Poe is loved more than ever before, so don his likeness this Halloween and you’ll be the talk of midnight, forever-more!

 

1. Good Omens (couple costume, because we know they are OTP!)

 

Image result for good omens crowley and aziraphale

image via Refinery29

 

Every Halloween party needs a good couple’s cosplay, but if you haven’t found the Crowley to your Aziraphale, your prayers could be answered this Halloween!

 

If none these costume ideas are book nerdy enough for you, you can always try your hand at creating an Em Dash costume.

 

Featured Image via The Fandomentals

The Real Hogwarts Experience According to ‘My Life as a Background Slytherin’

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to Hogwarts while the events of the seven books were taking place? Wonder no more. Emily McGovern has laid it all out in her brilliant comic series, My Life as a Background Slytherin (and Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor). Tag yourself I guess? Here are my faves.

 

Ravenclaw

I’m just saying, her objection DOES make sense. Now, maybe this was explained in a tweet or something, I don’t know, and I frankly don’t care. Most of England is south of London, and much of Wales, as well as all of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Do they take a boat, travel down to London, then travel all the way back north to Hogwarts like, three times a year? I have questions, I tell you. Why can’t your parents just drive you and make sure your entrance is super embarrassing? No. Gotta go to London, ride a train, ride in a carriage drawn by invisible death horses. Gotta keep it simple. Am I the only one who’s got this many thoughts on this?

 

 

Gryffindor

Well, I’m not sure it’s courageous exactly, but you know if anyone was blatantly defying Umbridge for cigarettes or whatever wizard teenagers do, it would be the Gryffindors. They’re like, prohibition? Violence? Autocratic rule? Sounds like an opportunity for HIJINKS. They’re a strangely cheerful bunch. They really do make the best of Hogwarts and it’s nonsense. Painful death? Let’s check it out. Lethal forest? Sounds like good old slumber party fun. Ghosts? That’s a friend. Dangerous death match for children? Sounds like my kind of party. They might be courageous, or maybe they really just have no sense of danger whatsoever? Not judging, just saying.

 

 

Hufflepuff

These are determined people. Gotta make sure those plants are doing well. Still nice and angry. So obviously the willow was planted to protect the passage to the house in Hogsmeade where Lupin went when he transformed but actually like… think about that plan. We’ve got a werewolf student. Give him a potion to soothe him when he transforms? Maybe that’s not invented yet. Put him in a medical coma for a few days behind a screen in the hospital wing? Not extra enough. Just put him in a dungeon? The castle has plenty. No. He needs a secret tunnel, to a secret house, hidden behind a secret tree that beats up a ton of students. It’s foolproof.

 

 

Slytherin

Wizards have been persecuted in the past, so we need to make a safe place for magical children! We’ll put a giant snake dungeon, moving staircases, lots of trap doors for falling through, an evil forest with murder centaurs and spiders the size of mini vans, and let’s make ex-death eaters professors and also current death eaters, we’ll hire a werewolf and he’ll be the SAFEST one! We’ll have such beef children fight for centuries! Dementors on campus? Great idea! Child death match? Let’s do it! Dangerous time machine? She’s thirteen, she can handle it. Get locked out? Sleep in the hallway and DIE.

 

 

Featured image via My Life As A Background Slytherin

Top Picks: Top Five Astonishing YA Books!

Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.

Today, we’ll be recommending five of the best YA novels that You’ll Find Astonishing!

 

 

5-Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan

 

Elizabeth Keenan

Image Via Twitter

 

Writer, feminist, musicologist, Elizabeth Keenan gives us her stellar novel, Rebel Girls.

 

Rebel Girls by [Keenan, Elizabeth]

Image Via Amazon

 

We have Athena Graves, a woman who is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than talking with, well, anyone. Plus, people aren’t exactly taken to her given her at St. Ann’s, a conservative Catholic High School, due to her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock.

Now there are rumors circulating the school, spreading like a virus, a rumor that her popular pro-life sister, Helen, had an abortion over the summer. Now the school administration is involved, threatening her with expulsion.

Now Athena and Helene must not only find a way convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do, but also see eye to eye.

The book came out September 10th, Kirkus Reviews called it a “must-read,” so what more do I need to add?

 

 

4-Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas

 

Jimmy Cajoleas

Image Via Lemuria Books

 

His debut YA novel, The Good Demon, wowed us, and now Jimmy Cajoleas has a new release that we can’t wait to tell you about!

 

Minor Prophets by [Cajoleas, Jimmy]

Image Via Amazon

 

Poet Lee Sanford has always had visions. One of his visions was of his mother’s death in a car wreck, right before it happened. When this vision comes to pass, Poet and his younger sister, Murphy, are put into the care of their tyrannical stepfather: Sheriff Horace.

They run for it, heading straight to their estranged grandmother’s remote homestead. At the commune, their grandmother welcomes them in open arms and encourages Poet to explore his vision even further, but why did their mother try to keep them away from her for so long?

Another book that was released September 10th, this book, in the words of Kirkus Reviews “[h]arrowing and hypnotic”. A perfect horror novel for any YA fan who loves it when their skin starts crawling.

 

 

 

 

3-Stormrise by Jillian Boehme

 

Stormrise by Jillian Boehme

Image Via The Nerd Daily

Jillian Boehme brings us an epic YA fantasy novel where Rain must takes a chance to seize the life she wants.

Disrespected by her tribe because of her gender, Rain purchases powder made from dragon magic that enables her to disguise herself as a boy. From there she goes to the war camps where she becomes a maverick soldier, but there is one problem: she hears a voice inside her head, the voice of a dragon.

After being enlisted into a secret task force with plans of rescuing the High King, Rains begins to realize the dragon inside her might be the key to winning this war.

Kirkus Reviews calls it “Mulan with dragons for added fun: Be prepared to break out into ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You’,” and, honestly, what more do you need from this September 24th release?

 

 

2-Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

 

Rainbow Rowell

Image Via Amazon

 

Rainbow Rowell, an author you already have your radar, has brought us the second book in the Simon Snow series.

 

Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series Book 2) by [Rowell, Rainbow]

Image Via Amazon

 

If you recall, the first book, Carry On, ended on a triumphant note. They won the war, he fell in love, what more could he want? But for some reason it all feels hollow, so he goes for a change of scenery.

That’s how Simon, Penny, and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West. But they get lost, very lost, and now have to wonder where they were heading to in the first place as they encounter dragons, vampires, and shrunken-headed beings with shotguns.

Set for a September 24th release, this is one book that you won’t want to miss out on!

 

 

1-The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

 

Megan Cooley Peterson

MeganCooleyPeterson.com

 

Megan Cooley Peterson brings us her debut novel, and it’s something special…

 

The Liar's Daughter by [Peterson, Megan Cooley]

Image Via Amazon

 

Seventeen-year-old Piper was raised in a cult, but she doesn’t know it. When the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers, including Caspian, the boy she loves, Piper is sent to live “Outside.”

Then “They” introduce her to a stranger claiming to be her father, who tells her that the one she calls “Father” stole her from them.

But, as the Amazon description puts it, “Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape.”

The book hits shelves October 1st. Want to pick it up? Kirkus Reviews calls it “[an intriguing look at a young woman adjusting to life outside a cult,” but we warn you: haunting with each line, this story grabs you and runs you through each and every page.

 

 

Featured Images Via Amazon