A late post because I am not organised but very overworked LOL
Today in my Best Reads of 2022 I want to feature my best fantasy books read in 2022!
Three have already been featured in the “best series” namely: The Ballad of Never After; The Demon Tide and Cursed!
But I also adored Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater
What a charming, whimsical and original story! I think the narrator’s voice suited Dora to a perfection.
I loved so many things in that novel.
I loved Dora’s character. She is a kind person but unable to feel great emotions, just the tail end of these as a result of half her soul being stolen by a fairy lord when she was a kid.
That made her struggling with proper comebacks and shunned in social life. She looked even more bizarre with her mismatched eyes.
But when Dora meets the magician, witty comebacks fly and she is not impressed by his gruff and grumpy behavior like other ladies would be.
You guessed it, it will be a grumpy / not really sunshine trope amidst Victorian London with a magic twist!
It’s easy to read, very enjoyable thanks to Dora’s quirks and witty comebacks. Elias is the perfect handsome, broody male hiding a heart of gold under his deterring manners.
And another duology that deserves all the praise: Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess feels like what I imagine Chinese tales are: filled with quests, monsters and magic, a heroine who has to grow and use her wits to outsmart the evil characters. Gentle at her core, she’ll morph into a fierce warrior “à la Mulan”. It’s also a battle of evil versus good, a question of choosing the right path, resisting the lure of power and greatness if it comes at the cost of other’s happiness and freedom.
“I would not yearn after what had been lost, impossible to regain. I would look to the days ahead, to the happiness which awaited me there… if only I were brave and steadfast enough to reach for it.”
The world building and the mythology were a real delight! I loved reading about dragons, about traveling on clouds, about celestial beings. The Celestial Emperor reigns with an iron fist and I can’t say he was a benevolent ruler!
Xingyin will begin as a broken little bird, hopeless but soon will want to learn and to never be helpless again. Thanks to a fierce training, she’ll become one of the best soldiers from the Celestial army. And it was really satisfying to see her morph into a strong and skilled warrior.
The pace was rather slow in the beginning but once I focused more on the beauty of the universe, on Xingyin ‘s personal growth, and on the underlying messages and lessons, it didn’t bother me at all and I chose to savor rather than devour the story!
With tropes like enemies to lovers, quest for favors to save your loved ones, family love, treason and rivalry, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is an enthralling debut!
Thanks for reading!