Happy Friday and welcome to my second post for my annual Blogmas of 2023!
The category I chose today is fantasy! I read a lot of fantasy with some subgenres so expect several winners and contenders!
The books mentioned below might not have been published in 2023 but I have read them in 2023
I discovered that if you have cosy mysteries you also have cosy fantasy! And my favorite read in that category was:
I had a great time reading this cozy fantasy. Well I’d say smart cozy fantasy.
Emily is not your usual heroine. Not only is she curmudgeonly but she also despise emotions. She is socially awkward and don’t try to hug her, she wouldn’t know what to do with you.
Intellectually brilliant, totally dedicated to her research on faeries, she’ll never encumber herself with niceties. In a crowded pub, leave her alone at her table with her notebook. Don’t try to engage!
She was a great heroine! And she had quite a growth!
The contrast with Wendell Bambleby, social butterfly and solar personality, professional dazzler was nearly comical!
They couldn’t be more opposite.
I also adored the lore, the side characters, Shadow Emily’s dog and the world building!
This book was a cozy fantasy, grumpy sunshine all rolled into one. It was charming, whimsical, smart and enthralled me from the very first page.
What I call Urban Fantasy is a fantasy happening in our modern wolrd. Our day to day universe but with an added element of magic or lore.
5 resounding stars!
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
I am torn between: “Why did I wait so long to read it?” because it was fantastic and “I am glad I waited so long before reading it” because I’ll have to wait only a few weeks for the sequel! 😊
What to say about that book?
Maybe that it has a lot of my favorite “ingredients” in stories!
First we are dealing with an underdog as main character!
Second, I love the world building!
Third: The small town and clan vibe!
Then you have: the competition or rather the trials; The friends to enemies to probably more than friends trope.
Winnie is a great female character: courageous (even if she’ll suffer from impostor syndrome) , determined, loyal, protective, smart but also reckless!
Trust me if you love books with lots of atmosphere and some spooky vibes, this is for you!
Narrator: Nicola Coughlan
That book is SICK! In the best way!
First, when I began listening to the audiobook, I had difficulties understanding everything. But that’s because the narrator did amazing accents and as a foreigner, it took me some time to get used to it.
But once I was familiar with the various accents and cadence, I was fully immersed.
Second, you follow multiple POV but none is boring! Every character was interesting and very distinctive in her own way!
It’s packed with action, morally grey characters, gore, humor and sensuality. You’ll have betrayals and unexpected development with a big twist at the end that I never saw coming!
I need the third book already!
Epic fantasy for me has an added layer of adventure, travel or big ordeal.
What a grand adventure! That left me with a huge book hangover and I don’t get these easily!
First, Id’ like to praise de narrators! Lameece Issaq and Amin El Gamal did a splendid job to bring larger than life and roguish Amina Al Sirafi (and her scribe) to life!
Choosing a forty something heroine to live an epic adventure at sea was as brilliant as it was refreshing as we usually have younger females in the leading role. And as a woman of over fifty I found it just perfect!
With flamboyant escape, survival against all odds, the reappearance of old foes believed dead, sea monsters and more, we’ll follow the incredible adventures of Amina like we’d follow the legendary tales of Sinbad!
Shannon Chakraborty has once more what an epic storyteller she is! She has woven a tale full of magic, adventures and served by the best larger than life mature heroine.
I truly had an exceptional and jolly time listening to that fabulous audio and I recommend the story and the audio wholeheartedly!
ALL THE FREAKING STARS IN THE UNIVERSE!!!
“But I will not run. I wouldn’t be standing here if I’d quit every time something seemed impossible to overcome. I will not die today.”
Fourth Wing has all my favorite tropes: an underdog as hero (Violet Sorengail); a war academy (brutal) to make dragon riders; dragons; found family; romance; rebels and magic.
And plenty of twists and turns an betrayals!
Just know that Fourth Wing is an epic story of a girl whose death seemed nearly inevitable due to her illness but she’ll more than raise up to the challenge! Violet had my heart, my soul and my undivided attention!
I feared, swooned, cheered, cried, …I went through every emotion possible! And ended up with a huge book hangover.
The narrator is the excellent Rebecca Soler!
This is a bit of a mash up of genres but it’s an excellent mash-up!
I was totally immersed in that story that made me feel a lot of emotions. This is heartwarming, heartbreaking, sweet, romantic, dark, intense and light at the same time.
This is as much a character driven as a plot driven story as we have a pace slowly picking up to end on a shocking cliffhanger!
Both Iris and Kitt are characters you’ll love and respect. Both flawed, true, passionate, brave and caring.
Woven around a rivalry romance story, happening in an urban fantasy universe on a backdrop of war, that story put me on roller coaster of emotions and was just uniquely compelling.
I don’t know what subgenre to call that book so I went with parody!
You have the “grumpy (the Villain): “sunshine” (Evie) trope and literally “the villain gets the girl trope”! And let’s not forget that this is a villain’s origin story and not in the way you would think of but, no spoiler!
Evie is trying to have a positive attitude in life. If life has given her an unfair share of lemons she is still trying to make lemonade!
The greatest enemy of the kingdom, the Villain, is looking for an assistant and he thinks Evie is the perfect candidate.
That’s how Evie ends up in his castle, managing a pool of interns, secretly sweetening her boss’s brew, trying to mellow the boss when he is in a mood and avoid walking on rolling eyeballs on the floor.
This is more of a tale’s satire than anything else. It’s funny and kind of dark but with a weird levity. I listened to it in record time, truly enjoying Evie’s adventure in the Villain’s world.
Evil is hiring indeed!
Cherry on top: Evie is an extremely loveable female character.
She is clumsy, naïve but smart and she has a heart of gold. She also is mischievous and loves laughing. Extremely witty, she won’t hesitate to banter with the formidable Villain. Giving the reader a real comedic show in the process.
I’ll be reading the sequel that’s a certainty!
This is the first adult book from Cassandra Clare!
I loved it! Even if this is more a “setting the scene” book for the whole series to come than “stand on its own” book.
Because the relationships between the protagonists are just at their beginning and because we still don’t have enough information to know who the real villain is.
But what a “setting of the scene” that is!
Many complain about the info dump but I loved that part.
-the mystery surrounding magic’s disappearance and possible reappearance;
-Lin, smart, strongheaded, selfless even if her last choice drove me mad;
-Kel without reservation;
-my theory about the Ragpicker King’s identity;
-the political intrigue;
-the rough draft of love stories to come.
I hope that:
-Conor will grow up;
-Antonetta will play a bigger role.
And I have honorable mentions for:
What were your favorite fantasy read in 2023? And do we have some in common?
Thanks for reading!