We’re often asked for recommendations at this time of year. Which we love — there’s nothing we like more than talking about books. Here are some of our go-to Fantasy picks this year.
Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant is off-balance. Not only is he still reeling from the consequences of his last encounter with an evil magician, but he is also physically removed from London, neither of which states bears thinking about. But he’s still a cop. So Peter’s determined to contribute both his professional skills and his, erm, more esoteric talents to help the local police find two missing girls. Of course, it’s his magical talents that will help the most. With luck, they might even keep him alive. Maybe.
The latest in Aaronovitch’s funny and moving ‘Rivers Of London’ series.
Inheritance of Ashes, Leah Bobet
Sisters Hallie and Marthe own Roadstead Farm. Marthe’s husband Thom went to war. The war was won, but Thom’s still gone, and might never return. Those who do return rarely come back whole. Roadstead Farm is struggling, and the conflicts on the homestead are as immediate to Hallie and Marthe as the war was to the soldiers who fought it. Bobet’s charcters are both flawed and more than the sum of their flaws; they’re real people, struggling in difficult times to become better people. It’s about the very human ways we make stories out of life, and the way those stories can hurt us. And it’s also about hope, and family.
Pen Pal, Francesca Forrest
12-year-old Emlee sends a message in a bottle from her floating community off the Gulf coast — and it reaches Kaya, a political activist who’s imprisoned over a volcano crater for fomenting revolution.They are both, in their slight and nuanced ways, talking to their gods. And that doesn’t sound life much, but the book has a diverse cast of three-dimensional people who spill off the page, thoughtful politics, a vibrant world, a real point, and an involving plot.
Thoughtful, beautiful, quietly earth-shaking fiction for fans of literary fantasy.
Scorpion Rules, Erin Bow
In the near future, Talis, a sentient AI, has created an era of glabal peace by the dual threat of Earth’s entire nuclear arsenal, and the Children of Peace, the heirs to the world’s nations, kept hostage in his shcool. Bow understand systems of control and people both, and there are no easy answers. The prose is so clear and sharp it glitters, but is never intrusive; the consequences are absolutely gut-wrenching, but never gratuitous. A brilliant, gorgeous rethink of the interplay between dystopian worlds, systems of power, and very flesh-and-blood people.
Uprooted, Naomi Novik
The wizard named Dragon protects all the towns within reach of the dangerous and magical Wood. Every ten years he chooses a young woman from one of those towns to live in his remote tower. Agnieszka knows it will be her dearest friend Kasia, the bravest and brightest of her cohort. But Kasia is not Dragon’s choice. And nothing will be the same again; not Agnieszka, not Dragon, not the Wood, not even Polnya itself.
A gorgeous moving, magical folk tale, half-familiar and half-dream, full of magic, friendship, sacrifce, and family. Wonderful!