Tag: high fantasy

This Interactive Short Story Will Make You Feel Things

Ever wanted to choose your own profound and horrifying sci-fi adventure? This article is for you.

“With Those We Love Alive” is a strange, deeply atmospheric short story, told a few pieces at a time. You are an artificer, drawn into the service of the Skull Queen. The magic is strange and tangible, and though you don’t see much of the world, you get an impression of its vastness. Live the luminous sense of listless terror made ambiance through the simple but powerful backgrounds, the eerie soundtrack, and the world’s uneasy details. Wander the palace and the city. Look on the outer world. You will be prompted to hold your breath. Look. Look away. Draw all over yourself (cue weird looks from the rest of the editorial team).

 

Please don’t judge my lack of art skills

You make many choices, shape the world, or does it shape you? The pull of the plot is inexorable, subtle. This is a land of monsters, of gruesome beauty, and unlike any fantasy world you’ve ever seen. You will come to feel trapped. You will come to realize you are terribly in love. With a sense of both choice and inevitability, walk through this place, the palace of the Skull Queen, her city, and see what it makes you. Find an ending as sudden and vibrant as the rest of the story, and etch each choice into your skin.

Eerie, gorgeous, and coolly violent, this story will stay with you long after the sigils you’re instructed to draw have faded.

Things you’ll need: headphones, a marker or pen.

See other people’s sigils here.

 

Happy Birthday to ‘Throne of Glass’!

 

Happy anniversary to Throne of Glassa young adult fantasy series by American author Sarah J. Maas. The first book, Throne of Glass, was published in August 2012. Throughout its cycle, the series appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list and is currently being optioned as a series to be adapted for Hulu. The story follows Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom with a tyrannical ruler. As the tale progresses, Celaena forms unexpected bonds and uncovers a conspiracy amidst her adventures. The series concluded with its eighth entry in October of 2018.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

Calaena is imprisoned and betrayed by her master at the start of the series. Trained from childhood to become an assassin, she is a master of her trade and adopts a new identity in order to avoid painting a target on her, as she was known as the King’s Assassin before her imprisonment. The book follows her journey as she escapes from slavery and finds herself with the destiny to destroy the King and free the world from his tyrannical rule.

The author revealed she grew up reading about such heroines in fiction, such as Sabriel, and wanted to give her own fanbase a strong female protagonist that they too could feel empowered by. She was quoted as saying this about her conception of Calaena:

 

‘I grew up reading books like Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown and Garth Nix’s Sabriel—both of which feature strong heroines, and both of which profoundly shaped my identity and empowered me. I started writing knowing I wanted to create books like that—mostly because that’s what interests me and where my passion lies, but also because I’d love for some young woman to read [Throne of Glass] and feel empowered, too.’

 

Calaena is characterized as very skilled but also with flaws that make her three dimensional, such as arrogance and a bit of narcissism. Funny enough, the author drew inspiration from Disney’s Cinderellafinding the sequence where Cinderella flees the ball to have a soundtrack that was much too intense for the material and imagined it would fit much better if an assassin was in Cinderella’s place. The first book, initially named Queen of Glass, appeared on FictionPress.com before being picked up by the publisher, Bloomsbury, after the series developed a strong online following. From there, the series took off and became an epic fantasy tale, although the author noted nods to Cinderella can still be seen within the novels.

The series has received generally positive reviews, praising its protagonist and setting, noting the author’s skill at both characterization and world-building. We can only hope the series will be picked up for a series on Hulu!

Happy birthday to Throne of Glass! Do you have fond memories of reading this series? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon

 

 

 

3 Independent Web Comic Serials Worth the Wait

We’re living in a golden age of graphic novels, and serials give you your comic fix while also taking you back to the days when you had to wait a month between Full Metal Alchemist chapters. Dark times. There are plenty of great platforms for web comics nowadays, but here are a few that are doing it on their own.

 

 

1. Ava’s Demon

Image via Patreon

 

Sci-fi, ghosts, and a whole lot of fire – this comic has it all! Ava Ire, haunted by a malicious ghost all her life, lives on a boarding school planet for the god-emperor TITAN, until raiders attack and she’s forced to flee. When her escape goes wrong, she’s forced to make a pact with the very entity she’s been trying to resist all her life, but that’s just the beginning. Ava is a flawed character you’ll still adore, and the blend of science fiction and fantasy is seamlessly elegant. Plus the art is outrageously beautiful.

 

 

 

2. Vattu

Image via rice-boy.com

 

This is the story of Vattu, a small creature from a tribe of nomadic musicians, who are given to a colonizing empire as tribute. A servant in the palace, Vattu gets into more than she expects to when she stumbles across secret plots, cults, and strange magics. This is high fantasy at it’s best, original, high stakes, and immersive, in a world that’s not really like anything you’ve seen. The art is simple and evocative, and the plot steady and surprising.

 

 

 

3. Barbarous

Image via JohnnyWander

 

This urban fantasy centers around Persephone, a young woman who can’t control her magic. Considered a liability, she’s unemployed and couch surfing, until an attempted act of kindness and a chance encounter lead to a job that prizes her for her unruly magic and difficult personality. The world is sparse and believable, the art is stylized, and the color manages to convey urban blight without actually being monochrome. Persephone is instantly likable, and her world is seamlessly supernatural.

 

 

Featured image via Roblox

Summer Flings – 5 Fantasy Standalones

As the summer draws to a close, here’s a list of the five best fantasy books you just have to read before autumn arrives! All these books aren’t set in the summer, but they’re still the perfect thing to pick up, no strings attached! Whether you like paranormal, high fantasy, or light horror, you’ll find the perfect book to read in the sun (without falling asleep).

 

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

 

Uprooted
Image via Amazon

 

If you’re not reading Novik yet, then you’re missing out! This is the perfect standalone to get you started. Set on the outskirts of a terrifyingly magical forest, this book has a dragon (arguably), an unexpected heroine, plenty of violence, and even more magic. If you want a glorious modern story with the feel of a classic fantasy, you’re going to love this book. It’s also got sense, heart, and writing that’ll make you wonder why anyone else even tries.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Image via Amazon

 

Black writes a lot of different moods, so if you read fantasy you’ve probably encountered her. The Coldest Girl is and isn’t like anything else. Whether you’re over vampires or completely obsessed, give this book a try. A strong, sensible heroine who never the less gets drawn into danger and horror she thought she’d escaped, this book has both the elegance and horror of the genre, the obsession and the disinterest, as well as characters who step off the page.

 

Deep Secret – Danna Wynne Jones

 

Deep Secret
Image via Amazon

 

Jones is also outrageously prolific. Even if you haven’t read any of her work, you’ve probably seen the Miyazaki adaptation of one of her novels, Howl’s Moving Castle. This is something slightly different, but with Jones’ dry humor, sense of tangible magic, and deeply flawed characters you’ll still absolutely love. Royal succession, a secret magical society, and a digital curse make this book a classic, even if you may not know all the retro computer terms.

 

 

The Replacement – Brenna Yovanoff

 

The Replacement
Image via Amazon

 

You probably don’t know Yovanoff, but you might want to. This book is a little gruesome, but only in the way some old fairy tales are. Sometimes children in Gentry are taken, and Mackie Doyle is what was left. Exploring sacrifice, familial love, and what it means to be different, this is an unusual book that’s worth your consideration. The protagonist is complex, and teeters between selfishness and alarming selflessness. My advice? Read it with the lights on.

 

 

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

 

The Hobbit
Image via Amazon

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or haven’t even seen any of the movies, The Hobbit is self-contained novel that stands on its own. This book is sweet, engaging, frighting, and funny. If you like modern fantasy, here’s it’s start. If you love Tolkien, you know this is a great read and reread,  and if you never got into Tolkien and were too afraid to ask, this is a great place to start. Plus, they put the most gorgeous covers on this book now.

 

 

Featured image via inc.com