Books shelved under “Fantasy”

482 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Return of the Trickster

    Return of the Trickster

    by Eden Robinson

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s always satisfying when a trilogy comes to a full-stop close, loose ends wrapped up and most questions answered. In Son of a Trickster, Eden Robinson introduced us to Jared Martin, a Haisla/Heiltsuk boy on the cusp of manhood and also learning about his magical heritage. Robinson could have stopped there—nearly did, by her account, not being much of a series writer—yet she didn’t. Trickster Drift followed Jared’s move to Vancouver, his attempts to…

  2. Book cover for Stormsong

    Stormsong

    by C.L. Polk

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Apparently 3 years was too long to wait between reading Witchmark and Stormsong because I have forgotten pretty much everything that happened in the first book, oops! As I started Stormsong, I was very confused: who are all these people? Who are the Amaranthines, and why do they care about Aeland or Laneer? What’s going on? Nevertheless, I did my best to forge on and trust that C.L. Polk would do her best to…

  3. Book cover for Crooked Kingdom

    Crooked Kingdom

    by Leigh Bardugo

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the library’s copies of Crooked Kingdom was available sooner than expected, although I did only start reading it 1 day before my loan was up (and it had another hold on it after me). Oops! Fortunately, despite its heft, this book is a pretty easy read. Leigh Bardugo’s style has that benefit of the words virtually leaping off the page as you glide through her narration.

    Picking up where Six of Crows left…

  4. Book cover for The Phoenix Illusion

    The Phoenix Illusion

    by Lisa Shearin

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Earlier this year I panned Ruins & Revenge, a Raine Benares spin-off novel featuring Tam as the main character. In my review, I expressed my disappointment over Lisa Shearin’s plotting, but I reassured myself that I would continue reading her novels (specifically her SPI Files series).

    I might need to revise that prediction. I might need to take a long hiatus from Shearin’s novels for a while.

    The Phoenix Illusion begins with a building…

  5. Book cover for Kindred

    Kindred

    by Octavia E. Butler

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Over a decade ago, I read Lilith’s Brood. I immediately recognized the power of Octavia E. Butler’s writing, her utter willingness to exploit science fiction to the fullest extent that it can comment on our society. Since then, I have always nodded along and agreed every time someone calls Butler a grandmaster of science fiction and fantasy. She is an icon. But I didn’t read anything else by her.

    Until now.

    Kindred is the…

  6. Book cover for The Crown’s Fate

    The Crown’s Fate

    by Evelyn Skye

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Every so often I just love to put myself through the experience that is reading the sequel to a book I read nearly 6 years ago! That is the case with The Crown’s Fate, which picks off where The Crown’s Game left off. Somehow, that first book and the description of this one were enough to keep it on my to-read list after a massive purge I did shortly after joining the StoryGraph. Then…

  7. Book cover for A Desert Torn Asunder

    A Desert Torn Asunder

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Here we are, the sixth and final book of The Song of the Shattered Sands. A Desert Torn Asunder brings to a close the quest of Çeda to kill the Kings of Sharakhai, perhaps in unexpected ways. But the story has grown grander and more epic in scope since that first book, and there are other players on the field who deserve closure too. Bradley P. Beaulieu manages the not inconsiderable feat of creating…

  8. Book cover for Black Sun

    Black Sun

    by Rebecca Roanhorse

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m having a pretty good year for epic fantasy! First Beaulieu’s Song of the Shattered Sands, then Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, and now Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun bringing me fantasy stories in worlds not inspired by medieval Europe. In this case, Roanhorse has drawn on pre-Columbian America for her inspiration. As she says in her acknowledgments, she wanted to challenge the idea that pre-Columbian Indigenous cultures lacked civilizations worthy of such epic tales…

  9. Book cover for When Jackals Storm the Walls

    When Jackals Storm the Walls

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes I think I’m getting old when I start to complain about the number of characters in a book and how hard it is to keep all the plots in my head! I’m starting here because that’s my major issue with When Jackals Storm the Walls, the fifth book of The Song of the Shattered Sands. For what it’s worth, Bradley P. Beaulieu is starting to bring all these various characters and plots…

  10. Book cover for The Jasmine Throne

    The Jasmine Throne

    by Tasha Suri

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sisters are so inconvenient, right? We’re always messing with your attempts to run an orderly, oppressive empire hostile to any religion except your own. Best to just ship us off to some quiet, out-of-the-way prison where we can languish until we decide to jump onto a pyre like a good girl. But, of course, there is always the possibility we will instead align ourselves with a plucky maidservant who has nascent powers granted by her…

  11. Book cover for Six of Crows

    Six of Crows

    by Leigh Bardugo

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    All of you should know by now that heist novels are my jam, and a fantasy heist novel? Bring me the fainting couch and smelling salts, for surely, I swoon! Suffice it to say that when I discovered this hidden gem, the highly underrated Six of Crows by unknown author Leigh Bardugo, I was anticipating a good time.

    Kaz Brekker runs with the Dregs, a group of street criminals in the slums of Ketterdam. Kaz…

  12. Book cover for Uprooted

    Uprooted

    by Naomi Novik

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As longtime readers of my reviews will know, I am a big fan of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. Novik’s blending of historical fiction with the fantasy concept of dragons serving in militaries is such a captivating tale. So when Uprooted came out in 2015, I was excited to read Novik’s foray into more traditional fantasy.

    Then, of course, I never got around to it. Until now!

    Agnieszka lives in a small village near an evil,…

  13. Book cover for The Rest of Us Just Live Here

    The Rest of Us Just Live Here

    by Patrick Ness

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book was recommended to me by Esmè, who wrote into my Buffy rewatch podcast, Prophecy Girls. Some of our comments on the show about how strange life at Sunnydale High must be for students who aren’t in the know about Buffy’s life reminded Esmè of The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Indeed, it sounds like a great choice for me: I love “meta” books that deconstruct literary tropes like this…

  14. Book cover for Beneath the Twisted Trees

    Beneath the Twisted Trees

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As promised a scant two weeks ago, I’m back with my review of Beneath the Twisted Trees, book 4 of Bradley P. Beaulieu’s epic The Song of the Shattered Sands series. Things are definitely heating up.

    Çeda is determined to free Sehid-Alaz, the King of the Asirim. Not only would this hopefully free the asirim from bondage to the Kings of Sharakhai, but it is also the right thing to do: Sehid-Alaz is…

  15. Book cover for The Accident Season

    The Accident Season

    by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I don’t really know what I just read. The Accident Season is a supernatural YA thriller that purports to have a mystery at the heart of it. Yet the deeper we go into the story, the more that mystery unravels into almost a bait-and-switch. Populated by the barest hints of ghosts, fairies, changelings, and other such spirits, this book tugs at your brain in a pleasing way, but I’m not sure, in the end, it…

  16. Book cover for A Veil of Spears

    A Veil of Spears

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Seldom have I read consecutive books in a series so closely together, but as I explained in my review of book 2, a misunderstanding of what book I was requesting on NetGalley has necessitated such haste. Now, there are advantages: I remembered everything that had happened in the previous book! Nevertheless, I was concerned that diving into A Veil of Spears so soon after the previous book would leave me feeling bored; worse still,…

  17. Book cover for With Blood Upon the Sand

    With Blood Upon the Sand

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Fun story: Kara requested the latest book in this series on NetGalley, mistakenly thinking it was book 3. Turns out it is book 6 she’s been approved to read, even though she has only read book 1. Oops. Fortunately, my awesome public library had books 2 through 5 available, and I was able to check them all out at once! So for the next month or so, I’m going to be binging this series in…

  18. Book cover for Ruins & Revenge

    Ruins & Revenge

    by Lisa Shearin

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Three years ago I picked up Treasure & Treason, the first half of what should have been one spin-off novel from Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series. Finally, I got around to reading Ruins & Revenge, the sequel/conclusion. I find that most of my review from Treasure & Treason stands for this book (not surprising, given that they should have been one book!). Despite long singing the praises of Shearin and her fantasy series,…

  19. Book cover for The Annihilation Score

    The Annihilation Score

    by Charles Stross

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Much like my situation nearly a year ago when I read The Rhesus Chart, I was in a bit of a reading slump when I decided to tackle The Annihilation Score. I’ve been in this slump for all of 2021, mostly because it is harder for me to get books (especially fiction) right now—consequently, my ratio of fiction to non-fiction is much lower than it used to be, and as much as I…

  20. Book cover for The Mask of Mirrors

    The Mask of Mirrors

    by M.A. Carrick

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    You all know how much I love me a good confidence story, as much as I love a good heist story. Throughout the years, fantasy has handed us many such wonderful stories and lovable rogues—some of which I have read, some of which I haven’t. The Mask of Mirrors will doubtless be compared to the most popular and celebrated of these, with merit and good reason. I’ll eschew such comparisons as de rigeur then, and…

  21. Book cover for Pet

    Pet

    by Akwaeke Emezi

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Although Pet crossed my book radar a few times, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been recommended to me by my friend Emeline. The descriptions of the book, despite its promise of a trans main character, didn’t leave me with the impression that it would be my jam. Indeed, for the first third or so, that was my initial conclusion: that I could understand Pet’s appeal for other readers, but…

  22. Book cover for The Councillor

    The Councillor

    by E.J. Beaton

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I am in the minority for this one judging by the rave reviews it is getting ahead of its release. Like many of those other reviewers, I received a copy of The Councillor from NetGalley and DAW in exchange for a review. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a short one: I did not finish this book.

    We’re off to a great start. Lysande is an advisor/close friend to Queen Sarelin, who plucked her from an…

  23. Book cover for The Mirror Empire

    The Mirror Empire

    by Kameron Hurley

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    It pains me, because everyone is so hyped about Kameron Hurley, and I want to be hyped too. Alas, this first foray into her writing was not a successful venture. Despite spending exactly a week with this book, I am just barely halfway through. It was this realization that made me decide to cut my losses. I am not going to finish The Mirror Empire.

    Principally, I just don’t care about any of the…

  24. Book cover for Crusader

    Crusader

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I am free! Over a year ago I embarked on re-reading the two trilogies that comprise The Wayfarer Redemption, and with Crusader I have achived this goal. Sara Douglass no longer has any hold over me! (So, after I finished this book, I discovered that of course Douglass couldn’t resist writing another sequel trilogy, featuring Axis and StarDrifter, along with characters from other novels. I could, therefore, keep going. But I will not, and…

  25. Book cover for Common Bonds

    Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Fiction Anthology

    by Claudie Arseneault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, RoAnna Sylver

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer for this book. I was very excited for Common Bonds, because I am aromantic, but that’s an identity that isn’t well-represented in mainstream media (and when it is, it’s usually conflated with/paired with asexuality—I am also asexual, but I like the split attraction model because it helps me discuss my experiences with nuance). A great deal of this review will be me talking about the importance of…

  26. Book cover for Elatsoe

    Elatsoe

    by Darcie Little Badger

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There were many reasons I added Elatsoe to my to-read list when it started making the rounds on Twitter: supernatural mystery, asexual protagonist (which I forgot until I started reading it), Indigenous author and protagonist, etc. It’s great when a novel has so many draws, isn’t just a single thing. Darcie Little Badger’s debut is one part ghost story, one part educational piece about stolen land and colonial ambitions—and all about a main character who…

  27. Book cover for Empire of Wild

    Empire of Wild

    by Cherie Dimaline

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Empire of Wild is a supernatural thriller that combines the legend of the rogarou with a woman’s search for her missing husband. But it would be a mistake not to recognize that this is also a story about colonialism, about European/settler ideologies clashing with Indigenous ideas of hearth, home, and connection to one’s community and the land. Just as The Marrow Thieves showcases how settlers can go to any length to extract and exploit resources…

  28. Book cover for Vicious

    Vicious

    by V.E. Schwab

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This one took a while to start to work for me, and I’m not sure it really ever did. Vicious is one of those novels where I can tell that V.E. Schwab knows her stuff. That is, the writing here is quality; the plot is top-notch, the characterization is exemplary. Nevertheless, there is something about her style, something about the tenor or tone or theme of the book, that left me cold. And so…

  29. Book cover for Theft of Swords

    Theft of Swords

    by Michael J. Sullivan

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    New fantasy that tries to feel like classic sword-and-sorcery with a dash of epicness thrown in, Theft of Swords reads like a labour of love. It is an uneven combination of tropes any half-dedicated fantasy reader will recognize. However, Michael J. Sullivan turns those tropes into a decent, entertaining story that showcases some of the best parts of this genre, in my opinion. This is not the type of novel that blows off one’s socks,…

  30. Book cover for Cemetery Boys

    Cemetery Boys

    by Aiden Thomas

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This was one of those books where I was afraid it would not live up to the hype, because people I follow on Twitter have not been able to stop talking about it. Fortunately, Cemetery Boys lived up to the hype—perhaps even exceeded it in some ways—and I went from being apprehensive about possibly not liking such a popular book to being really happy I took this chance. It’s great as a trans story, great…

  31. Book cover for Pilgrim

    Pilgrim

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a marked improvement over the first book in this trilogy, but that isn’t saying much. Pilgrim is very much Drago’s redemption story, and Sara Douglass is determined that we care for him as a person and a hero. And you know what? I think she might actually succeed. Not because Drago is all that great, but because our choice of other heroes is … not great. Axis and Azhure (well, to be…

  32. Book cover for Battle Ground

    Battle Ground

    by Jim Butcher

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    You should read my review of Peace Talks before you read this review. Also, I don’t know how to talk about this book without spoilers. So if you want a spoiler-free review: Battle Ground is a flawed attempt to give fans of the Dresden Files the climax Butcher thinks they want, but it falls short. There are definitely crowning moments of awesome, low moments, and the thoughtful moments we have come to expect.

    Spoilers from…

  33. Book cover for Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

    Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It feels like with fantasy these days I am eternally questing after the next fresh idea. Don’t get me wrong—there is sometimes nothing better than a classic, trope-laden fantasy from the late twentieth century to stir my book loins. But every time I pick up a big, heavy book like Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, I hope deep down in my heart that it will give me something new, that it will stir up not…

  34. Book cover for Storm of Locusts

    Storm of Locusts

    by Rebecca Roanhorse

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Rebecca Roanhorse bottled lightning once, and now she is back to do it again

    Storm of Locusts picks up not too long after Trail of Lightning. Maggie agrees to help the Thirsty Boys apprehend the White Locust, a strange cult leader buying up explosives. The mission goes sideways in a big way, and Maggie picks up the pieces and finds herself responsible for a young woman, Ben, with some clan powers, a chip on…

  35. Book cover for The Water Dancer

    The Water Dancer

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a book by a Black man about slavery in the United States, and I wanted to open this review by boosting the thoughts of Black reviewers—after all, their take on this book is going to be more salient than the opinion of a white woman like me. Unforunately, as I browsed reviews of The Water Dancer on Goodreads, I was dismayed to see that the majority of them are from white people (mostly…

  36. Book cover for The Future Falls

    The Future Falls

    by Tanya Huff

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Time travel. Like Captain Janeway, I hate it. I mean, I love stories about it (hello, I watch Doctor Who every Sunday with one of my besties). But the kinds of paradoxes in The Future Falls are not exactly my cup of tea. If you can look past that, this is another fun fantasy novel that benefits from being mostly set in Calgary, and you don’t see enough of those! If you liked the first…

  37. Book cover for Flight from Nevèryön

    Flight from Nevèryön

    by Samuel R. Delany

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Delany remains one of the authors who most consistently fascinates, educates, and challenges me. His science fiction and fantasy novels are never exactly what they seem—or perhaps are exactly what they seem—and if Dhalgren is perhaps his most widely-known inscrutable work, his Return to Nevèryön series, and particularly Flight from Nevèryön, are the most obviously inscrutable.

    I’m not sure how to summarize this book. I wanted to say that the first two tales are…

  38. Book cover for Peace Talks

    Peace Talks

    by Jim Butcher

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A podcast I listen to, Read It and Weep, has developed a metaphor for the films it’s watching during its current season. Movies that are mostly pleasant diversions are soda (or pop as I would call it); movies that require a lot more effort to understand and enjoy are coffee (some are in fact very strong coffee). Like all metaphors this one has its limits, yet my mind kept coming back to it…

  39. Book cover for Ashes of the Sun

    Ashes of the Sun

    by Django Wexler

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the reasons Brandon Sanderson took off, I suspect, is that he manages to bring an urban fantasy feel to more high fantasy or epic fantasy settings. In Ashes of the Sun, Django Wexler accomplishes a similar feat. This is a book set in a world incredibly different from our own, a land reminiscent of the epic fantasy books that for a time dominated this genre, yet the pacing and style are much…

  40. Book cover for The Forest

    The Forest: A Tale of Old Magic

    by Julia Blake

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’ve spent a great deal of time these past two years helping a friend revise her PhD. dissertation, which was about the history of sustainability in the Ontario forestry industry. Riveting, right? Anyway, one of the ideas she explores early in her thesis is that European settlers brought with them to the New World various prejudices regarding forests. The forest, in many European folkloric traditions, is a dark and scary place. We see this echoed…

  41. Book cover for Sinner

    Sinner

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Wait, was it November when I finished the first trilogy?? How is it June already? Wow. Anyway, as promised, I’m back with the first book of the second trilogy set in Sara Douglass’ Tencendor universe. Whereas I am certain I read the first trilogy as a teenager, I’m not sure if I ever read the entire second trilogy. So some of these books might be new to me? They all kind of blurred together. If…

  42. Book cover for Blades of the Old Empire

    Blades of the Old Empire

    by Anna Kashina

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m slowly working my way through my Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry backlog from back when I had a subscription to every book they published. Anna Kashina’s name was familiar: turns out I read a similarly named Shadowblade that also features cool sexy sword-wielding ladies. I’m not saying these books are clones, but yeah … Kashina has a theme here.

    In Blades of the Old Empire, an ancient enemy has returned and has an outsized interest…

  43. Book cover for Stolen Songbird

    Stolen Songbird

    by Danielle L. Jensen

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is one of those books where you kind of like it but also kind of don’t like it, and you're low-key impressed you don’t actively hate it? Yeah, I think that's what this is. Stolen Songbird is a hot mess of paradox: the plot is straightforward but also convoluted; the romance is broken but also kind of believable; the main character is annoying but also grew on me. I liked it enough that I…

  44. Book cover for League of Dragons

    League of Dragons

    by Naomi Novik

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So here we are, over 2 years after I read Blood of Tyrants: the last Temeraire novel!

    It’s times like these I always want to take a deep breath before I dive into writing this review.

    Let’s get the verdict out of the way: League of Dragons is a good conclusion to the series, but it is not without its strange elisions. Naomi Novik proves up to the task of wrapping up her sprawling…

  45. Book cover for The Warrior's Tale

    The Warrior's Tale

    by Allan Cole and Chris Burch

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    And so, dear reader of reviews, my journey into revisiting cheesy ’90s epic fantasy that I may or may not have read as a kid continues. Last year I dipped into The Far Kingdoms to keep myself company with a broken elbow. This year, with a pandemic stalking close, I decided it was time to return to that universe with The Warrior’s Tale. Allan Cole and Chris Burch place Rali Antero in the narrator…

  46. Book cover for Baker Thief

    Baker Thief

    by Claudie Arseneault

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    What's better than a magical mystery? A magical mystery featuring baked goods, you say? Sign me up! Baker Thief is a conventions-busting, inclusive, fun alternate world urban fantasy novel with mysteries and thrills and no small amount of underdogs taking on the corrupt underbelly of corporations.

    It is, in short, a good read.

    Adèle is a detective recently relocated and transferred to a new unit. Shortly after moving in, a masked, purple-haired thief named Claire…

  47. Book cover for The Weaver

    The Weaver

    by Hannah Kindt

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I originally received an eARC from NetGalley, but for reasons that escape me (probably my own incompetence) I forgot to download it. Out of a desire for completionism, I bought a copy of The Weaver so I could read and review it. Although the basic premise is sound and interesting, Heather Kindt’s writing style didn’t work for me. This attempt at a combination of thriller, romance, and fantasy lacks what I enjoy about those three…

  48. Book cover for Master of the World

    Master of the World

    by Edward Willett

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Is this the year of me finally reading sequels closer to the previous book? First I read The Obelisk Gate, and now Master of the World hot on the heels of Worldshaper? Who even am I?

    As usual, spoilers for the first book but not for this one.

    Edward Willett picks up the story where he left off in the first book: Shawna Keys has abandoned the world that she Shaped to the…

  49. Book cover for Worldshaper

    Worldshaper

    by Edward Willett

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As I’ve said before and will say again, one reason I love the library is for book discovery. I had zero idea what I was in for with Worldshaper. In this case, I saw book 2 on the New Books shelf, and fortuitously book 1 was also present in that very same library branch. So I borrowed both on a wing and a prayer, and here we are. Perfectly serviceable portal fantasy for some…

  50. Book cover for Muse of Nightmares

    Muse of Nightmares

    by Laini Taylor

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was reading a very different, unrelated book last night before bed, in which someone says that the key to a good story is usually obsession. Laini Taylor has learned this storytelling lesson well, for her characters are distinguished by their obsessions. From Lazlo’s obsession with Weep or Thyon’s obsession with alchemy in Strange the Dreamer to Skathis’ obsession with power or a new antagonist’s obsession with revenge here in Muse of Nightmares,…