Tag: Leigh Bardugo

Murder Is in the Air! Top Picks: October Crime and Thrillers

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 fear-inducing Crime and Thrillers that’ll get you in the true October spirit with their scariest horrors, from haunted houses to serial killers.

 

 

5-The Secret of Cold Hill by Peter James

 

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Image VIa peterjames

 

To start off this week’s top picks we are going to talk about the author of bestsellers such as the Roy Grace Books and Match Up, Peter James, who is bringing us a sequel to his spine-chilling The Secret of Cold Hill September 9th.

 

The Secret of Cold Hill (Cold Hill Ghost Stories Book 2) by [James, Peter]
Image Via Amazon

The infamous Cold Hill House has been demolished to make way for a new housing estate, and now an elderly couple has moved into the new estate. But no one who moves into Cold Hill reaches their fortieth birthday, and this couple’s days are numbered.

Publisher’s Weekly notes that “[a]fter an opening scene of gore, the novel takes time to build to its final unavoidable and understated tragedies” and we here at Bookstr warn you that this novel builds and builds and you’ll forget the chilling conclusion, even though you may want to.

 

4-The Other End of the Line by Andrea Camilleri

 

Andrea Camilleri

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A September 19th release from Andrea Camilleri, this Italian author has written, among many others, the infamous Montalbano mystery series. The Montalbano series, set in nineteenth-century Sicily, has been made into the critical darling Italian TV series.

 

The Other End of the Line (An Inspector Montalbano Mystery Book 24) by [Camilleri, Andrea]
Image Via Amazon

 

His newest book follows Inspector Montalbano who, among many others, assist the wave of refugees coming in along the Sicilian coast, but while on duty, traged strikes the docks when Elena Biasini, a charming master seamstress, is found brutally slain.

Now Inspector Montalbano delves into the world of garments, discovering how to weave the loose threads of this case together.

As usual, Camilleri delivers an excellent mystery with a rich plot, made all the more intense by the fact that the aging Montalbano growing age is starting to show. A deeply satisfying police procedural, as well as a feast of satire and playful nonsense, this novel is not only a commentary of our times, but also an astounding feat considering Camilleri was blind when he wrote this book with his assistant.

 

3-Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

 

Leigh Bardugo
Image Via Book Riot

 

Leigh Bardugo is the creator of the Grishaverse—a literary universe that consists of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—and is the author of Wonder Woman: Warbringer.

Her newest novel is much anticipated and, thanks to the wonder of time (it came out October 8th!), is already out!

But what’s the book about?

 

Ninth House by [Bardugo, Leigh]
Image Via Amazon

 

Raised in Los Angeles by a hippie mom, Galaxy “Alex” Stern dropped out of school early and entered a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse.

By age twenty, Alex is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Now on her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance to rebuild her life and attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride.

What’s the catch?

Well, Alex is tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies and she finds herself in a world of occult magic and…death!

A thrilling ride, this novel has gotten praises from the King of Horror himself, Stephen King, who said that, “Ninth House is the best fantasy novel I’ve read in years, because it’s about real people. Bardugo’s imaginative reach is brilliant, and this story―full of shocks and twists―is impossible to put down.”

 

 

2-The Guardians by John Grisham

 

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Image Via NPR

 

A lawyer for years, John Grisham became an author and his name has become synonymous with the modern legal thriller. So how is this October 15th release different from his other novels? Well…

 

The Guardians: A Novel by [Grisham, John]
Image Via Amazon

 

Twenty-two years ago Quincy Miller, a young black man, was arrested for the shooting of young lawyer Keith Russo. For the two decades, Quincy has maintained his innocence. Desperate, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.

Cullen Post takes the case but soon discovers there are people who do not want Quincy exonerated. They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.

Gripping, exciting, this book may prove to be one of Grisham’s most thrilling, most heart-pounding novel.

 

 

1-Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand

 

Elizabeth Hand

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A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Elizabeth Hand has written Winterlong, Waking the Moon (Tiptree and Mythopoeic Award-Winner), and, among many others, Glimmering. An astounding writer, Elizabeth Hand brings us this October 15th release.

 

Curious Toys by [Hand, Elizabeth]
Image Via Amazon

 

In the summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the Chicago’s Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble.

She finds it, discovering a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. Witnessing him enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerging alone, Pin will be led to iconic outsider artist Henry Darger, a brilliant but seemingly mad man. She’ll have to work with this lunatic to navigate the seedy underbelly of a changing city to uncover a murderer who lurks in the shadow.

Beyond your run-of-the-mill thriller, Kirkus Reviews perfectly notes how “Pin is an engaging, courageous heroine, and her musings on gender identity are both poignant and relevant,” and the novel itself is “Richly imaginative and psychologically complex.”

 

 

 

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Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ Finds Its Bright New Cast

While we still don’t have a release date for Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series, we finally have a cast to shamelessly follow on social media and add to our fan-edits!

 

 

Yesterday, Netflix announced its cast for their new series based on Leigh Bardugo’s award-winning “Grishaverse” books. The series is set to adapt both her Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series and the casting for characters from both series has left book fans in a frenzy!

 

Shadow & Bone Books

Image via collider

 

Leading the series as Shadow and Bone protagonist Alina Starkov is Jessie Mei Li (known for her upcoming role in Last Night in Soho). Playing alongside her will be a favorite among fans, Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher, Chronicles of Narnia) as General Kirigan. Also joining the Shadow and Bone portion of the cast is Archie Renaux (Voyagers) as Malyen Oretsev, Sujaya Dasgupta (Press, Guilt) as Zoya Nazyalensky, Simon Sears (Winter Brothers) as Ivan, and Daisy Head (Guilt) as Genya Safin.

 

Six of Crows/Leigh Barduugo

Image via wordpress

 

On the Six of Crows front, Freddy Carter (Pennyworth) will be playing gang-leader Kaz Brekker. Starring alongside him will be Amita Suman (The Outpost) as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young (Endeavour) as Jesper Fahey, and Danielle Galligan (Game of Thrones) as Nina Zenik.

The series is being adapted by showrunner Eric Heisserer known for his work on Arrival and is being directed by Lee Toland of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Bardugo herself is an executive producer on the show and expressed her excitement about the casting announcement. The cast we have so far has definitely made us fans more excited about the show and kept us on our toes for casting to come!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Polygon

Author of ‘Six of Crows’ Releases New Adult Fantasy Novel

Leigh Bardugo is an incredible YA author famously known for her immersive worlds and cast of diverse, interesting characters. Her previous YA fantasy series include the Grisha trilogy, King of Scars, and the popular Six of Crows duology. Set in a world known as the Grishaverse in which different Grisha possess magical powers under different orders of magic—The Order of the Living and the Dead, the Order of Summoners, and the Order of Fabrikators—Leigh Bardugo created fictional countries with such unique cultures and locations that they almost seemed believable. And let’s not forget how much we all fell in love with Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Amidst the buzz about Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha trilogy, coming to Netflix, Bardugo has decided to dive into a new realm of magic by penning her first adult novel.

 

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image via we heart it

 

Bardugo’s new novel, titled Ninth Houseseems to be the first book set outside the Grishaverse. And this setting might be slightly more familiar to us—it’s New Haven, Connecticut. The book follows a Yale freshman with a bad past, Alex Stern. She was raised by a hippie mom and dropped out of school to mess around with drug dealer boyfriends and bad jobs. It’s unlikely that she would end up at Yale, but when she becomes the only survivor of a multiple homicide, Alex is offered a full ride to one of the most prestigious universities. Alex’s benefactors instruct her to monitor the suspicious activities of the secret societies within Yale, and she soon discovers that these societies are more sinister than one might expect. The Yale societies are made up of prominent rich and powerful figures who conduct occult activities and forbidden magic in windowless clubhouses referred to as “tombs.”

 

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image via amazon

 

Bardugo, a graduate of Yale herself, says that she’s had the idea for Ninth House since her first day in New Haven as a student. The book’s release date is October 8th, and Bardugo says, “October is the perfect time for sinister tales, and I hope you’ll find Ninth House to be thrilling, eerie, funny, and maybe a little unnerving.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Leigh Bardugo makes the switch from young adult fiction to adult fiction. Her books have certainly dealt with dark themes surrounding magic before, and they’ve always held a particular air of maturity for YA books. Still, maybe Ninth House will be even more mature now that Bardugo is incorporating some of her own experiences. It also makes you wonder just what Leigh Bardugo experienced at Yale to imagine their secret societies as something occult. But what even are the Yale secret societies? Does her fantastical interpretation have any weight?

 

 

Each Yale secret society is small and only allows fifteen members or so. As is to be expected, it’s almost impossible to find information about these societies or what they do, but many of them also have impressive amounts of wealth. Yale has forty-one secret societies that we know about, each with menacing names like Berzelius, Skull and Bones, Book and Snake, Wolf’s Head, and Scroll and Key. With names like Skull and Bones, why shouldn’t we be suspicious? Skull and Bones is probably the most famous secret society and its alumni include William Howard Taft, President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Most of the societies’ alumni seem to be involved in political or financial positions of power… possibly bargained for by occult means? The architectural style of the tomb-like, windowless clubhouses was designed with privacy in mind, so we may never really know what goes on inside.

 

image via curbed.com

 

After a few break-ins to the “tombs,” the floor plan of the original Skull and Bones building was published and it seemed like a fairly normal clubhouse. Nonetheless, who knows what the members of the societies could be concealing behind hidden walls and doors? Maybe Bardugo discovered something in her time at Yale and is finally revealing the dark, supernatural truth.

With a mix of such creepy rumors surrounding the Yale societies in real life and Bardugo’s thrilling, intense writing style, Ninth House is sure to be an amazing first adult fantasy novel for this author.

 

 

Featured image via Flatiron Books

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

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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

 

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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

 

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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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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

'City of Bones,' 'City of Ashes,' and 'City of Glass,' books 1-3 in the six book Mortal Instruments series

7 Unmissable Books for ‘Shadowhunters’ Fans

Happy Birthday, City of Bones! YA Fantasy superstar Cassandra Clare released her debut (the first entry into the sprawling Shadowhunters universe) on March 27th, 2007, which makes the book twelve years old. That would land it squarely in middle school—a familiar landscape which has nonetheless changed a lot since this book’s release. Some things have, of course, remained the same: children are mean and hormones so rarely help anyone. But there are some major differences—YA is more diverse; genre fiction is booming; and social issues have risen to the forefront of modern discourse.

 

'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare

Image Via Twilight Sleep

 

Cassandra Clare’s novels have continued to do what they did at their outset: tell stories of characters who don’t often have their stories told. Clare’s LGBT+ rep throughout her body of work hits each of those four letters (and perhaps, soon, we’ll get some of the other letters that come with the +.) Clare has also recently gained attention for autistic representation that transcends superficial stereotypes. Her characters are bombastically human with all that entails—dramatic love stories, deep-seated emotional issues, ridiculous inside jokes. Clare’s obvious love for fantasy and the genre is second only to her understanding of human nature, and it’s obvious her work resonates for innumerable reasons: there are currently more than 50 million copies of her novels in print. The Mortal Instruments series in particular has inspired both a film adaptation and a successful TV series. And, of course, her work has always resonated with me.

Picture this: I’m thirteen. I’m wearing a horrific amount of bright blue eyeliner (read: any amount). I am distinctly not straight. Since it’s not terribly likely you know what I look like, imagine me this way: uncomfortable with everything. City of Bones featured one of the very first LGBT+ couples I ever encountered—withdrawn, struggling Alec and the ever-bold Magnus Bane—and changed the way that I thought about what are currently two of my favorite things: genre fiction and myself.

Gay puns on the respective 'Shadowhunters' characters' sexualities.

Image Via @Kayla_Darktale Tumblr

 

We’d call this a list of books to help you fill the Shadowhunters void—except, of course, that there isn’t one! Cassandra Clare has dutifully (and enthusiastically) expanded her universe’s lore since its inception, with new releases forthcoming in 2019: Chain of Goldthe first entry into a new historical fantasy trilogy, and The Red Scrolls of Magic, the start of a trilogy centered on the magical misadventures of Alec and Magnus. Clare even has a section on her website entitled “where to start,” acknowledging the fact that readers might be a little intimidated by the canon. Some advice on starting? Do it. Immediately.

 

Which 'Shadowhunters' Book Should You Start With?

Image Via Riveted Lit

 

But if, like me, you’ve already plowed your way through the majority of the seemingly limitless Shadowhunters canon, here’s a delightful mix of 7 Young Adult & New Adult classics to remind you of all that this genre can accomplish.

1. The Raven Cycle

 

'The Raven Cycle,' a quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

Folded Pages Distillery

 

Is this first on the list because it’s my personal favorite? Yes. Is it first on the list because it’s sure to be your personal favorite? Also yes. It would be a travesty to reduce Maggie Stiefvater‘s quartet to its LGBT+ characters, mostly because it’s so many other things besides strong representation: dangerous, raw, and human as its characters and all the things they want. Bonus content: Molotov cocktails, dead things that are supposed to be alive, alive things that are supposed to be dead. Every possible use of ‘Dick’ as a nickname for Richard. Distinguished boys who, for some reason, continue to wear boat shoes. The feeling of returning home and, for some, the immense desire to leave it. Bees…? One of the most unique series in YA fantasy today, The Raven Cycle is startling, strange, and filled with a cast of characters so real you won’t believe you haven’t really met them. Cassie Clare fans will live for the sarcasm, the limitless wit, the character dynamics, and the positive LGBT+ representation.

 

2. SHADES OF MAGIC

 

The 'Shades of Magic' Trilogy by VE Schwab

ImaGe Via Book riot

 

In V.E. Schwab‘s delightful, inventive, and ambitious trilogy, four different versions of London exist with varying levels of magic—and equivalent levels of danger. (Spoiler: that level is HIGH.) One is the London of old, one that we might recognize: no magic, lots of crime. One London is magic the way that we might imagine it. One is magic with all the cruelty that magic so often entails. And one—the most magic London of all—no longer exists. Or, at least, it no longer exists in any way that we might recognize. Oh, did that description make these books sound happy and upbeat? They are… when everything’s not busy going very, very wrong. Fans of Jace and Alec’s affectionate-yet-frequently-frustrated brotherly dynamic will love the give-and-take between adopted brothers Kell and Rhy. And it would be quite the challenge to build a world richer than Cassandra Clare’s—whose books are physically large enough to build that world brick by brick. V.E. Schwab’s attention to detail will delight those who are after a detailed lore.

 

3. The magicians

 

Lev Grossman's 'The Magicians' Trilogy

Image Via The Reading Room

 

The Magicians has gotten a lot of attention lately thanks to its SyFy TV adaptation—and if it doesn’t already, it deserves to have yours. This may just be the best book series you ever read about a fictional wizard school (and yes, I do know about the other one). Unlike many fantasy series, which can paint concepts of good and evil in the broadest brushstrokes, The Magicians thoroughly examines all the thematic implications of the fantasy genre, subverting every trope in the process. The humor is frequently raunchy, nihilistic. The magic is even more frequently absurd. And the story is consistently unthinkable in its imagination, pushing the limits of what magic (and the fantasy genre!) can accomplish. Lev Grossman‘s world is as dark and sensual as it is intellectual and calculating—but, in the end, it’s more startlingly earnest than it is anything else, a subversive novel written from a clear love of the genre. Bonus: disaster gays, talking bears who drink Peach Schnapps, a hell that looks like a high school gymnasium, and a story to remind you exactly what storytelling means.

 

4. SIX OF CROWS

 

'Six of Crows' Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Image Via Affinity Magazine

One of the best things about Cassandra Clare’s writing is the never-ending banter, each topic seemingly more ludicrous than the last… and somehow, for all its silliness, it only makes the characters feel more human and their dynamics more sincere. Leigh Bardugo‘s Six of Crows is a character-driven heist duology set in a richly-realized fantasy world full of crime; corruption; and badass fight scenes, baby! What’s the difference between a heist and a regular robbery, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple: a heist is what they call theft when it’s cool. But as fast-paced and high-concept as this well-oiled plot machine may be, it’s also a deeply character-driven story. This misfit (and very queer) cast of characters may or may not steal what they set out to pilfer, but they’ll certainly steal your heart. And possibly crush it—this book has one of the most devastating backstories of all time.

 

5. Carry On

 

'Carry On' and 'Wayward Son' by Rainbow Rowell

Images Via Amazon; image made with photocollage

 

Rainbow Rowell‘s Carry On isn’t exactly fan-fiction, but it’s certainly fiction written for fandoms. You might call it your average wizard-boarding-school book, except that there’s very little average about it. Carry On is oft called ‘the gay Harry Potter,’ but it’s certainly not derivative—Rowell acknowledges its predecessor in clear ways, and chooses to thoughtfully play with beloved genre tropes. Oh, and you’re not going to find any LGBT+ subtext here—it’s all very much on the page. Rowell herself has commented on the matter of overt representation in Vanity Fair: “there was a time when this had to be subtext… don’t [read] it for the subtext, don’t [read] it for the moments [in BBC’s Sherlock] when Sherlock and John make eye contact and the world sets on fire but none of it’s real. As a culture, we are ready for text.” As a bonus, she also doesn’t think she’s a social justice hero for including a gay couple. “I’m definitely not the first person to write a gay Y.A. story,” she acknowledges, “by a million years.” Regardless, we’re always happy for more! This fun, subversive novel will appeal to pop culture fiends across all fandoms—including Cassandra Clare’s!

 

6. Peeps

 

'Peeps' and 'The Last Days' by Scott Westerfeld

Image Via Pinterest

 

Scott Westerfeld‘s gritty urban fantasy is the It Follows of the mid-2000s urban fantasy world: college freshman Cal’s previous girlfriends (read: YA way to say ‘sexual partners’) have been infected with an unusual sort of vampirism. Sure there’s the whole lurking-in-the-darkness thing, but there’s also the anathema—Westerfeld’s vampires are repulsed by everything about their old lives, everything they once loved. (Especially Cal… although that may have something to do with him dropping off his vampire chlamydia.) A New Adult novel before the classification was coined, Peeps and sequel The Last Days are gritty trysts into the dark supernatural underworld of NYC reminiscent of Clare’s Downworld, where the parties can last as long as some of their attendees’ lifespans. The edgy, fun tone with surprisingly poignant moments is sure to remind audiences of Clare’s own work. This isn’t your average vampire story… probably because it isn’t a vampire story at all. It’s about home, lies, love and equally powerful hatred: things far more human than that.

 

7. Modern Faerie Tale

 

The 'Modern Faerie Tales' trilogy by Holly Black

Image Via yALSA

If you were around when the original three books of The Mortal Instruments were being released—that is, if you weren’t, like, eight years old—you may recall Cassandra Clare and established fantasy writer Holly Black‘s power-couple friendship. (I happen to remember Cassandra Clare’s livestream when she announced that there would be three more books in the series, so it’s safe to say I do.) Author of the children’s classic series The Spiderwick Chronicles, fantasy queen Black gave fans a nod to her close friendship with Cassie by including a mention of Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters in her books! In turn, Clare mentions the protagonist of Valiant in her trilogy as well. Does she use Valerie’s name? No. But which other bald junkie who lurks with the fey folk in subway tunnels could the unnamed character possibly be? Given that Black’s series (urban fantasy, NYC, chaotic fey) fits in quite naturally with Clare’s Downworlder mythology, it’s an excellent companion series.

 

Featured Image Via CNN.