Now that we’re well and truly out of the last reading challenge, with the next one not scheduled until September, I thought I’d share what books I’ve got queued up on my reading shelf. And there’s quite a few, because when it comes to Barnes & Noble, I have no restraint.
Right now, I’m reading Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo and listening to Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade. Hopefully, I’ll have Lo’s book finished this week so I can write a book review on it and These Violent Delights (Chloe Gong) next week.
The books I had on my shelf already as carry-overs from the last haul are Scythe by Neal Shusterman, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini, This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria, and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The first two are part of my last Book Haul, and the last are relatively new releases that I read about and picked up.
Now! For the big list of recently acquired books!
1. The Magician King by Lev Grossman (The Magicians #2)
The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.
Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy.
I wasn’t super crazy about The Magicians (#1) when I read it last year, primarily because Quentin’s not very likeable as a protagonist and I generally prefer to root for the characters I’m reading about. But I have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to the TV show, and I’m curious to see what other differences there are between the two beyond the ones I’d already discovered in the first book.
2. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater (Dreamer Trilogy #1)
The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed.
A sequel series to the The Raven Cycle? With Ronan Lynch? Look, I’ll be honest, I want to know where Gansey and Blue are at, and Adam, but I am certainly happy with more Ronan Lynch content. Stiefvater got real spooky in The Raven King (Raven Cycle #4), and I’m hoping Call Down the Hawk will be just as fast-paced and fascinating as the former series was.
3. Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter (The Burning #2)
Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.
If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to surviving the coming onslaught.
Rage of Dragons was absolutely crazy to read. I absolutely could not set it down, and the only reason I haven’t picked up the sequel yet was because I low-key kept forgetting that Fires of Vengeance was already out. It’s another thick book, but I expect to go through it as fast as the first.
4. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novak (The Scholomance #1)
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
I happened to hear about this book before it blew up on Twitter for certain racist depictions made in ignorance by the author, and my first instinct afterwards was to take it off my TBR. But upon doing a little bit of research and listening to some commentary (including a very helpful video by withcindy), the passages in question were written in ignorance, which the author has subsequently apologized for and listed actions to prevent such things from happening again in the future. And, as a white writer who also wants to be inclusive in their writing, I think it’ll be beneficial to read and learn from.
5. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1)
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I hear that this is a somewhat tropey book, that it doesn’t really attempt to do anything new. That said, I’ve heard a lot of really positive reviews about it, so I caved and picked it up. It sounds almost similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses but paranormal rather than high fantasy. Hopefully, though, I like this better than ACoTaR.
6. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
I’m not usually huge on paranormal books, but I’ve gotten into a historical fiction/fantasy kick recently and this just fits in with that vibe. Mixing history with magic just sounds like such a cool concept. I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of it before; it was one that I just happened to come across in the store. The cover looked pretty and the title reminded me of Arthurian legends (once and future king, anyone?). Obviously, it’s got nothing to do with King Arthur, but the synopsis had me intrigued, so here I am, and here it is, on this list.
I’ve recently started really getting into Chirp. It’s like Audible but no subscriptions needed and they run crazy low deals on specific books, so I like to hunt through them on occasion. I already had two waiting patiently for me to read–Hex Life, a collection of witchy short stories edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering that I’ll probably read in October for Halloween; and Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil by Lezley McSpadden, a memoir by Michael Brown’s mother after her son’s murder inspired protests in Ferguson, Missouri. But I recently acquired three more.
1. Romanov by Nadine Brandes (narrated by Jessica Ball)
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
Remember how I said I was getting into a historical fantasy kick? Here’s another for you. The funny thing is, I never really liked the animated Anastasia movie because I thought it was really creepy as a kid (even though it, too, had magic in it). But books are less creepy in general (at least, the ones I read are), and this book sounds pretty intense. The romance sounds like Six of Crows‘s Nina and Matthias (not my favorite romance of the duology, but still cute), and the cover gives me serious Night Circus vibes.
2. Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson (narrated by Neil Shah and Shayna Small)
The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad in this timely and unsettling novel, set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City at the dawn of WWII.
Amidst the whir of city life, a girl from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear amongst its most dangerous denizens.
But the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she loves most.
Can one woman ever sacrifice enough to save an entire community?
Trouble the Saints is a dazzling, daring novel—a magical love story, a compelling chronicle of interracial tension, and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.
Speak of The Night Circus. I definitely got drawn in by the cover. It’s quite beautiful. And because I’m still trying to diversify the books on my shelves, to read and learn, I was definitely interested in getting a little snippet of history from a perspective that’s probably different (re: more accurate) than what I got in my history books.
3. Stonefather by Orson Scott Card (narrated by Emily Janice Card)
When Runnel, a friendless peasant from a village so humble that money is a new concept, leaves his mountain valley, he is completely unaware of his magical talents. Seeking his fortune, he stumbles into a centuries-old feud when he travels to Mitherhome, the city of the water mages. He accepts a servant’s position in the household of the sole stone mage permitted within the city walls, and there his untapped magical talents and his fascination with his master’s abilities are a predictably dangerous combination. Soon, without meaning to, he complicates and endangers the lives of everyone he has come to know and care about, for when it comes to magic, there are rules and laws, and the untrained mage-to-be must be careful not to tap into deep forces and ancient enmities. Otherwise, other people might end up paying the price for his mistakes.
Funnily enough, I was thinking about Ender’s Game the other day, feeling like I was due for a reread. So when I saw this, a fantasy book by an author who’d written a space sci-fi novel, I was intrigued. I didn’t know it was a short story prequel to a Mither Mages series, but it’s apparently a stand-alone, and it’ll be a short read (well, listen), so I have nothing to lose.
Some Recent Releases I Hope to Acquire Soon
I did want to end this post by mentioning a few novels that I recently added to my Goodreads TBR. I really hope to get my hands on them soon, once I chip away at the massive stack of novels I currently have on my physical shelf.
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo is due to launch March 30, which will be 4 days after this post goes live. It’s the sequel to King of Scars, which I read almost as soon as it came out, and I’m interested to see where it goes.
We are the Fire by Sam Taylor and A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth were on a list of February releases. They’re not super high on my priority list; there are other books on here that captured my attention more. That said, a new favorite YouTuber of mine, Xiran Jay Zhao, recommended it on her Instagram, along with Wings of Ebony by J. Elle and The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, so now all three of those have been cemented onto my TBR list.
I came across a book called Firekeeper’s Daughter about a Native American teenager, focusing on the Ojibwe community. It launched about a week ago and I hope to read it soon.
Lastly, These Violent Delights and Last Night at the Telegraph Club made me interested in finding some more books by Asian authors, and I came across a Goodreads list of popular Asian fantasy books, where I found my last two additions: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, both of which have absolutely stunning covers and an interesting fantasy concept. Obviously, I’m stoked.