I Was Asked

Persephone Inspects My Recommendations

This last weekend, amid the flurry of holiday shopping, I was asked, “I always buy my sister a Fantasy novel for Christmas.  I like to get a relatively new one, because I can never remember what she already has.  Do you have any suggestions? Oh, she’s already read all of yours.”

Here are some of the titles I mentioned.  Even those that belong to series have a solid story arc of their own.

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick.   This imaginary world fantasy focuses on intrigue, rather than raging battles.  It was a hard sell for me, initially, because I am not a fan of books that make heroes out of thieves, assassins, or scammers.  However, one of the authors (who you may know as Marie Brennan) assured me that there was more to it than that.  She was right. I interviewed both authors in my WW a while back.  If you’ve already read The Mask of Mirrors, the sequel, The Liar’s Knot is a new release.

This Broken World by Charles E. Gannon.  An imaginary world novel with a high fantasy feel without being derivative.  Druadaen is an interesting protagonist.  On the surface, he is almost plodding: determined to pursue various career goals with a single-minded obsession.  Underneath, he’s wildly, even dangerously, curious.  The beginning is good, but the book really catches fire once Druadaen starts breaking out of the mold he’s set for himself, gathering a group of peculiar allies, and charging off to ask questions that many feel would be better left unasked.

Juniper Wiles by Charles de Lint.  Long-time fans of de Lint’s Newford stories have been over the moon about his first return to the setting in a long while.  Me?  I’m fond of Newford, sure, but nostalgia doesn’t do it for me.  What made this work was the new material. Juniper played Nora Constantine, the heroine of a popular cult TV show (think Buffy crossed with Veronica Mars).  Juniper is resigned to fans who can’t separate her from her fictional self, but when the latest importuning fan turns up dead, and she realizes that he’d already been dead when they’d had their chat, she finds herself forced to face that her reality may have become even stranger than anything her fictional alter ego has encountered.

The Wind in His Heart by Charles de Lint.  This is a slightly older release, but since lots of people missed it, I’m mentioning it here.  Set in the Southwest, it’s full of the magical realistic touches that de Lint does so well. 

Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).  The third book in the “Saint of Steel,” bears some structural similarities to its predecessors (Paladin’s Grace and Paladin’s Hope).  There’s sword and sorcery spiced with romance, centered around another of the remaining paladins of the deceased god, the Saint of Steel.  As I’ve come to expect from Kingfisher/Vernon, underneath the apparent lightness, there’s a lot of heart and thought.  And this one has an end that, while satisfying itself, has me panting for the next book in the series.

So, there you are…    Feel free to add your own suggestions in the Comments.  I’ll make sure my friend sees them.  If you’re interested in what I’m reading, old and new, audio and print, you can always check out my Thursday Tangents.  It’s not a review, just a reading list with occasional commentary.   I always enjoy seeing what other people are reading, as well.  Sometimes you’ll see it turn up on my reading list as well!


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