Tag: book

5 Books Inspired by Norse Mythology

Norse mythology is definitely a favorite for many people, and I think we can see why. We have some fantastic deities, like Loki and Thor, who have appeared in comic book serializations for decades now. We have myths that are hilarious enough to hold our attentions. I’m thinking of the Mead of Poetry in particular (a myth that Neil Gaiman retells in his book Norse Mythology). Frankly, these are myths that draw us in because of how epic and enthralling they are in their scope and storytelling. We have warrior gods and goddesses, jötunns, elves, and dwarves – to name but a few.

So it’s only natural then that some authors would refer back to this mythos for inspiration.

Here are five books inspired by Norse mythology.

 

 

 

1. The gospel of loki

 

image via goodreads

Written by Joanne M. Harris, this is the first book in her Loki series which, you guessed it, follows Loki, the trickster god. If anyone is interested, Harris also has a book series simply called Runemarks, which plays with Norse mythology and retells it in a fun, modernized way. The Gospel of Loki retells how the trickster god was recruited by Odin and how he is treated by the other Asgardians. Plus, to make this story even more appealing, it is told from Loki’s sarcastic, snarky point of view.

 

2. Hilda and the troll

 

image via goodreads

You might be familiar with the Netflix adaptation of this adorable graphic novel. Written and illustrated by Luke Pearson, Hilda and The Troll follows Hilda, a young girl who loves to explore and befriend mythical creatures with some distinct Norse roots. She eventually moves to Trollberg, a human city, with her mother, but her adventures only continue in the cityscape with her new friends. The artwork is beautiful and the story is absolutely endearing. While this series is definitely geared towards younger audiences, I am of the mind that all ages can enjoy it. After all, there are little elves, trolls, moving mountains, talking crows, and so much more.

 

3. The Long dark tea-time of the soul

 

image via goodreads

Typically, I try to keep most of the books on lists like these to more recent publications that may not have gotten a great deal of attention. However, Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) is one of those writers who definitely needs a place on this list. This is the second book in Adams’ Dirk Gently series, which has also recently been adapted into a television series. Dirk Gently is a detective who doesn’t just handle the possible, but also the impossible and improbable. In The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul, it comes to Dirk’s attention that a passenger check-in desk at Heathrow airport has disappeared into a ball of light. This is being perceived as an act of god, but this then begs the question: which god?

 

 

4. Hammered

 

image via goodreads

Just to preface, this is the third book in Kevin Hearne‘s Iron Druid series. There are several novels and novellas, and this series is most certainly the gift that keeps on giving in my not-so-humble opinion. These stories follow Atticus O’Sullivan, the last druid who has relocated to Arizona where he runs a bookshop and sells magic teas. Hammered portrays Thor, the god of thunder, as a bully who has ruined lives and killed many. Now, Atticus’ vampire viking friend, Leif Helgarson, enlists the druid to help him get revenge on Thor. This story involves an army of frost giants and battle with the forces of Asgard… with plenty of other pantheons and other mythologies joining the fray.

 

5. the blood-tainted winter

 

image via goodreads

Written by T.L. GreylockThe Blood-Tainted Winter follows Raef Skallagrim, a man who wants to set sail on the ocean, following the sea road. He and his crew wish to be famous and recognized by the gods themselves. Yet Raef’s father and an impending war make it so that Raef must set his dream to the side and answer the call of duty. He must learn to navigate the tides of war while also seeking out revenge. Yet in the end, this will be a war that affects even the gods. This is the first book in The Song of The Ash Tree series.

 

 

Featured image via Deposit Photos


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5 Fantasy Books Set for Release This Month

As the new year dawns, so too does another year of books. While I can’t give you all of the releases for this coming year, I can provide you with a list of five fantasy books that are set for release this month. After all, is there a better way to start the new year than with a book hot off the printing press? For more fantasy books set for release this month, check out Tor’s article!

Here are 5 books that are set to be released this month.

 

 

1. “Dark and deepest Red”

Image via goodreads

Written by Anne-Marie McLemore, Dark and Deepest Red is set to be released by the time of this article’s publication. The book’s Goodreads page provides this summary of the story,

“Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.”

This story is definitely borrowing inspiration from Han Christian Anderson’s fairy tale “The Red Shoes,” which, based on the version one reads, has a very grisly ending. All I know is that I, personally, will be grabbing up a copy of this book.

 

 

2. “Infinity son”

image via goodreads

Infinity Son, the first book in Adam Silvera‘s Infinity Cycle is set for release this month. The book’s Goodreads page provides the following description:

“Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures. Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.”

This is definitely worth a read.

 

 

3. “A Queen in Hiding”

image via goodreads

Sarah Kozloff’s debut novel A Queen in Hiding will be released in the third week of January, and it sounds fascinating. Goodreads provides the following book description:

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be. But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.”

Who doesn’t love a story about a queen regaining her throne?

 

 

 

4. “The Bard’s Blade”

image via goodreads

The Bard’s Blade, the first book Brian D. Anderson‘s series The Sorcerer’s Song will also be released in the third week of January. Here is an excerpt from the book summary:

“Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she’s a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together. But destiny has a way of choosing its own path, and when a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, the two are faced with a terrible prophecy. For beyond the borders, an ancient evil is returning, its age-old prison shattered.”

 

 

5. “Nottingham: The true story of robyn hood”

image via goodreads

Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood is set for release this coming week. I’ll admit it: I’m a huge sucker when it comes to Robin Hood. I love the stories and the legends, and I want to eventually visit Sherwood Forest. This is definitely a book worth checking out, because Anna Burke creates a very interesting take on an old legend. The book’s Goodreads summary states,

“Robyn Hood didn’t set out to rob the rich, but in Nottingham, nothing ever goes according to plan…. After a fateful hunting accident sends her on the run from the law, Robyn finds herself deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest. All she really wants to do is provide for her family and stay out of trouble, but when the Sheriff of Nottingham levies the largest tax in the history of England, she’s forced to take matters into her own hands. Relying on the help of her band of merry women and the Sheriff’s intriguing—and off limits—daughter, Marian, Robyn must find a way to pull off the biggest heist Sherwood has ever seen.”

Featured image via Amazon

 


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5 Books Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons

Anyone who is a fan of fantasy will have likely interacted with Dungeons and Dragons in some form. Dungeons and Dragons, also known as D&D, has been around for decades now. In more recent years, shows like Harmon Quest and Critical Role have been produced, and podcasts like The Adventure Zone and The Glass Cannon Podcast have further popularized the game. Video games also owe a huge debt to D&D, and this debt is visible in games like Dragon Age, Knights of Pen and Paper, Baldur’s Gate, and even Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Some of these games are practically D&D campaigns in their own right.

Fantasy literature is no exception to this debt either. In the past few decades, authors have written books based on their D&D campaigns, or these writers will create their own original story and use the preexisting rules and geography of a world created for a game module. The Forgotten Realms, which was established during the 3rd edition of D&D, has been used as the backdrop for many campaigns, books, and video games.

Here are five books inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.

 

 

1. The Colour of Magic

 

image via goodreads

 

Written by Sir Terry PratchettThe Colour of Magic is a chaotic delight that takes place in a world that practically begs to be made into a D&D campaign setting. The Discworld series is set on a disc-shaped world, set on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of a gigantic turtle swimming through space. The Colour of Magic, which is the first book in the series, follows Rincewind, a wizard who only knows one spell, and Twoflower, an insurance clerk on holiday. Twoflower hires Rincewind to be his tour guide, and shenanigans ensue. In this book alone, they meet Hrun the Barbarian, are captured by dragon riders, and are nearly sent off the edge of the world. The God Fate also wants Rincewind and Twoflower sacrificed to him because he blames them for losing a game that is eerily similar to Dungeons and Dragons

 

 

2. The Legend of Drizzt

 

image via goodreads

 

R.A. Salvatore had written an expansive series that follows the Drow Elf Drizzt Do’ Urden. While he was originally introduced in The Icewind Dale TrilogyHomeland is the first book that details Drizzt’s origin story. This tale takes place in the Forgotten Realms’ Underdark, a place that the Drow Elves call home. While his mother had originally intended to sacrifice him to a deity, Drizzt is spared from this fate. However, while he is not killed, he still has to fight for his survival on a daily basis. And ultimately, this is the story of the events that led to him departing from the Underdark and never returning.

 

 

3. Dragons of autumn twilight

 

image via amazon

 

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman wrote The Dragons of Autumn Twilight as the first entry in a four book series. Based off of their own D&D campaign, this story follows a party of adventurers who reunite after several years apart. Though they didn’t have any plans on going on another quest together, these companions must do exactly that when they learn that the Dragon Highlords are preparing to take over the entire continent. With the plains people Goldmoon and Riverwind joining them, the adventuring party journeys forward to stop the Dragon Highlords from achieving their goals.

 

 

4. She kills monsters

 

image via amazon

 

This one has actually made me cry, in a good way. This book is a play, and I can definitely tell you, it is as funny as it is heartbreaking and wonderful—and if you ever get the chance to see it on stage, do it. Thank me later. I accept epic poems that discuss my beauty as payment. Qui Nguyen‘s play She Kills Monsters follows Agnes Evans, a young woman who is grieving the death of her little sister, Tillie, after a fatal car accident. While going through Tillie’s things, Agnes finds a home brewed D&D module that Tillie wrote for herself and her friends. Since Agnes was never close with her sister, she decides to play through the campaign. She learns about the difficulties that Tillie experienced at school because of her sexuality, and she comes to have a better understanding of her sister on a whole. Be aware that there are two versions of this play–one that is geared towards and adult audience, and one that is meant for high school students. Based on which one you read, there are some distinct differences. Agnes, in the adult version is a high school English teacher, and in the version for younger audiences, she is a high school student. The play is altered accordingly as well.

 

 

5. Nimona

 

image via goodreads

 

This is the debut graphic novel from Noelle Stevenson, and while it is meant for YA readers, that should definitely not stop older D&D fans from checking it out! Nimona follows the titular protagonist, a shape-shifter who enjoys wreaking havoc. She joins forces with Lord Blackheart, and together, they intend on proving to the world that the hero Ambrosius Goldenloin and the other members of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t quite as lawful good as the rest of the world might think. However, something is going on with Nimona, and she is proving to have a dangerous, unwieldy side to herself.

 

Featured Image Via IGN

 

 

 


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5 Books Inspired By Greek Mythology

Greek mythology has a very special place in western culture. We see it in architecture, in art, and in the stories that inspire us. Terminology like a person’s “Achille’s heel” is so commonly accepted in the English vernacular that we don’t often give it a second thought. This mythos is ever present, and it acts as a creative muse (pun intended) to writers everywhere, and when there are stories that showcase Greek mythology in new and fun ways, those stories should be shared and explored.

 

Here are five stories that resonate with Greek mythology:

 

 

1. Circe

 

image via amazon

 

Written by Madeline MillerCirce was selected in 2018 as a Goodreads Choice winner. This book follows the titular character Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios. Though she didn’t inherit the her parent’s powers, Circe learns that she, in her own right, can rival the gods. For this very reason, she is banished to a deserted island where she continues to practice her magic and learn more about herself. She is ultimately forced to make a decision: will she ally herself with mortals, the individuals that she often sought solace with, or will she reunite with the gods, the group from which she originated?

 

 

2. Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from myths and monsters

 

image via goodreads

 

Great Goddesses is a collection of poems written by Nikita Gill, who is known for her poetry collections Fierce Fairytales and Wild Embers. Applying a feminist’s lens to these old myths and legends, Gill presents a new rendition of Greek mythology. As stated by this collection’s Amazon page:

With lyrical prose and striking verse, beloved poet Nikita Gill…uses the history of Ancient Greece and beyond to explore and share the stories of the mothers, warriors, creators, survivors, and destroyers who shook the world. A few examples of poems from this collection are Chaos to Nyx, Athena’s Tale, and Athena to Medusa.

 

 

3. AntiGoddess

 

image via goodreads

 

Antigoddess is the first book in Kendare Blake‘s series: Goddess War. The story begins with the goddess Athena growing feathers under her skin and inside her lungs. Hermes has a fever that is consuming his flesh, and the other Greek deities are suffering in similar ways. In order to find out why they are slowly dying, these two Greek immortals seek out Cassandra, a woman who was once a prophetess. They learn that Hera has joined with the enemies of Olympus in a bid for revenge, and these enemies are also falling victim to the same corruption that the Greek deities are.

 

 

4. The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies

 

image via goodreads

 

Written by Martin Millar, The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies follows the playwright Aristophanes, who is having a really tough time of it. He’s trying to create a comedy that will convince Athens to not go to war with Sparta for another ten years, but one inconvenience after another continues to hinder his efforts. To make matters worse, Spartan and Athenian generals have released Laet, a spirit of foolishness and poor decisions on Athens with the intention of sparking war. Athena, in an effort to stop this chaotic force, sends the Amazonian warrior Bremusa and the nymph Metris into the fray. This book has been described as a “witty and comical romp for readers of all ages.”

 

 

5. Till We have faces

 

image via amazon

 

While I try to find books and stories that have been published more recently, I couldn’t pass up adding this text to the list. Author C.S. Lewis wrote Til We Have Faces with the intent to retell the famous “Cupid and Psyche” myth from the point of view of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Orual is described as being physically disfigured, bitter and obsessively in love with her sibling. When Cupid falls for Psyche and takes her away, her sister is forced to reevaluate her moral stance and decide where, exactly, she will go. It should be noted that this book is allegorical, and there are some distinct theological undertones attached to it.

 

Cover Image via Newsela

 

 


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Goodreads Choice Awards 2019: Fantasy Picks

For the past eleven years, Goodreads has run an annual reader award, where book lovers can vote on their favorite books based on the categories: Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Humor, Nonfiction, Memoir & Autobiography, History & Autobiography, Science & Technology, Food & Cookbooks, Graphic Novels & Comics, Poetry, Debut Novel, Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade & Children’s, and Picture Books. This definitely puts into perspective how much is published every single year, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably excited to add twenty more books to your “to be read” list. This is one of those fantastic occasions where readers are able to decide what books they feel should earn an award, so if you weren’t able to participate in the voting this year, then definitely vote in the 2020 book awards!

One might note that there are two distinct categories for fantasy literature that has been published in this past year. This article will highlight the two winners from the Goodreads’ 2019 Annual Choice Awards, and it will also recognize the four runner-up nominees from both sections. To see both lists in their entirety, check out the 2019 Fantasy list and the 2019 YA Fantasy list.

***BOOK DESCRIPTIONS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

 

2019 top picks for fantasy

5. The Red Scrolls of Magic by cassandra clare and Wesley Chu

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.”

 

4. The Priory of the orange tree by samantha shannon

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.”

 

3. Fire & blood by George R.R. Martin

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.”

 

2. starless sea by Erin Morgenstern

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.”

 

Goodreads 2019 winner: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

“Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.”

 

image via wallpaper flare

 

2019 top picks for YA fantasy

5. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.”

 

4. King of Scars by Leigh bardugo

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.”

 

3. Queen of Air and Darkness by cassandra clare

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.”

 

2. Wayward son by Rainbow Rowell

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after… So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch? What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light… That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West. They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…”

 

goodreads 2019 winner: The Wicked king by Holly Black

image via goodreads

Quoted from the book’s page on Goodreads: “You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

“The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

“After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.”

 

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