Tag: fantasy

Sarah J. Maas Fans: This Queer Sci-Fi Story Explores What Humanity Really Means

Sarah J. Maas fans, take note: there’s a new fantasy queen about to take over your reading life. Award-winning screenplay and short story writer Nina Varela’s debut novel Crier’s War is an Own Voices fantasy epic that will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It has been described by Booklist as “Rife with mystery, romantic tension, and political intrigue… perfect for readers craving queer fantasy with dense worldbuilding.”

 

 

From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy duology about an impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution.

Perfect for fans of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse as well as Game of Thrones and Westworld.

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

 

Images Via garage26 and HarperCollins

 

I know. Before you ask, here’s the preorder link. And though you definitely don’t need any more convincing after reading that enticing blurb, I’m just going to keep going, because I am EXCITED about this book.

Though LGBTQAI+ representation has undoubtedly become more common in recent years, it is still super exciting to see this representation manifesting in new and different ways, across all types of fiction. This is something Varela is passionate about, telling blog Book Bratz that “Homophobia doesn’t exist in the world of Crier’s War; Crier and Ayla never experience any suffering or oppression because of their sexualities; but I am queer and I live on Earth and some of my world bled through. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there’s a certain part of Crier’s story—separate from the romance—that will resonate with queer people.”

And the School Library Journal agrees, noting that Crier’s War is “A lush #OwnVoices fantasy debut with science fiction elements and LGBTQIA+ representation.” (Sidenote: they also call it “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass.” Didn’t I say this! Maas fans, I see you.)

But seriously, Crier’s War is already causing a stir, with Kirkus Reviews gushing that “Dizzying political machinations intertwine with a burgeoning romance. The plot zooms ahead with nail-biting tension. A fresh, suspenseful take on the robot apocalypse'” and Tara Sim, author of the Timekeeper Trilogy calling it “a beautiful poem of a book.” And if you know anything about Nina Varela, it really comes as no surprise that she should have written something so beautiful and revolutionary.

Don’t miss your chance to catch Nina Varela IRL at the following locations next month!

  • Saturday, October 5th, The Ripped Bodice with Audrey Coulthurst, Los Angeles, CA
  • Saturday, October 12th, Tattered Cover with Casey McQuiston, Denver, CO
  • Friday, October 18th, Books Inc. Opera Plaza with Tara Sim, San Francisco, CA

And find her online on her website ninavarela.com, Twitter, and Instagram!

Seven Words Shakespeare Invented

Did you know Shakespeare invented more than 1700 words? Probably. Maybe. There’s a bunch of controversy. Still, he definitely invented some words we use every day. You can probably find the long list if you really want, but here are seven. You may sense a theme.

 

 

1. Countless

Image via Astronomy.com

 

This is a pretty pedestrian word. Obviously Shakespeare didn’t invent the idea of counting, but he did give us a useful way to talk about it. It’s definitely faster than saying ‘without measure’.

 

2. Gloomy

Image via Imagekind

 

What would we do without the word gloomy? No synonym comes close. Dark? Shadowy? Get out of here. In this, the gloomiest season, it’s only right we honor the word itself.

 

 

3. Critic

Image via The List

 

Where would we be without critics? How would we know what super hero movies are actually worth the trouble? In 2019, it’s hard, and I say that as a fan.

 

 

4. Bloody

Image via The Craftory

 

Another one that’s hella seasonably appropriate. Another one where there are no good synonyms, though I feel like if you want to convey it there are some fun gothic options.

 

 

5. Pious

Image via Flickr

 

This one’s got ‘devout’ but pious does have a different vibe, maybe more smugness? Whatever it is, you can never have too many synonyms. Words, words, words.

 

 

6. Lonely

Image via Cru

 

Whatever would we do without lonely? Loneliness, lonesome, just a lot of feeling in a small space. Shakespeare knew what was up, though it doesn’t seem like HE was ever alone.

 

 

7. Majestic

Image via Reddit

 

Majestic is a great word, for both serious and ironic usage (a lot of the images I found were derpy lions and unlikely centaurs). It conveys something ‘great’ just doesn’t.

 

 

 

Featured image via ThoughtCo

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

 

Image result for netflix

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

Top 7 Harry Potter Memes

Harry Potter has had twenty plus years to percolate in popular culture, and it’s produced a lot of content, including memes. Here are some funny ones.

 

He Takes His Job Seriously

 

Image via Imgur

 

The last thing Snape needs is art teacher vibes. I hate to let them down! It does make me feel like I understand Neville’s suffering though. Once in grade school, an art teacher told me I was bad at collages. I was stunned. I’m just glad I didn’t need to eat it.

 

 

Harry Potter, King of Shade

 

Image via LiveAbout

 

I’ve always said, if you can’t beat them, annoy them. It might not kill Voldy to get his name wrong, but I can’t imagine him reacting calmly. Sometimes you don’t need actual magic, just a really sick burn. Think of “no need to call me sir, professor.”

 

 

I’ve Connected Them!

 

Image via Screen Rant

 

Dumbledore, you ridiculous jumble of contradictions and eccentricities. Say what you will about Dumbledore and the wisdom of his choices either way, but he is objectively a TERRIBLE judge of character. Think of Quirrell.

 

 

Grammar is Life

 

Image via Pinterest

 

While this isn’t cannon… it’s cannon. It would be so like Hermione to just absolutely reject being killed by a mispronounced spell. Like, kill me, sure, but do it right. Here, let me help you with your murder technique. She just really couldn’t watch someone flounder.

 

 

There’s a Reason He’s Not in Ravenclaw

 

Image via Cheezburger

 

Obviously danger does follow Harry, but Harry does also follow danger. Like, anything dangerous happens, and Harry is like *butterfly meme* “Is this a situation I should get involved in?” I guess it’s what Godric Gryffindor would have wanted?

 

 

When you and Your Roommate fight

 

Image via Runt of the Web

 

I think we’ve all been there. Just pointedly staring at undone dishes and listening to top 40 music from across a small apartment. What are you guys going to do, slam your curtains? Hum loudly? You’ve got real problems, work it out!

 

Hermione’s always Been Metal

 

Image via Amino Apps

 

I mean, yeah, it would have made for a much shorter book, but I’m also not convinced it didn’t happen. Hermione is the sort of person who would be like “this is something I’ve been working on, it’s just simple” and then summon a dragon or something.

 

 

Featured image via BookBub