My favourite Fantasy books

Sharing Saturday: my favourite fantasy books

It was World Book Day on Thursday so it seems fitting for this weeks Sharing Saturday to be about books! A while ago Lianne asked for suggestions for fantasy novels and that got me thinking about my favourite ones. So here you go!

 

alannaSong of the Lioness Quartet – Tamora Pierce

This is the first book set in the land of Tortall and is followed by two other quartets, a duology, a prequel trilogy and a short stories anthology. I absolutely love these books even though they are written for a younger audience and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve re-read them. The first book begins with two twins; Alanna and Thom who are being sent away to learn magic and to become a knight. The problem is only boys can become knights, and Thom absolutely hates fighting while Alanna hates magic. So they swap places and Alanna pretends to be a boy. There’s the obvious problems, such as avoiding swimming to keep her secret, as well as the usual issues of puberty such as crushes and bullying. Add in a whole bunch of secrets and conspiracies and you have a very awesome series. The other series involve characters from the books prior to them, save for the prequel ones, so you get to see how the characters grow and evolve.

 

Kushiel's_DartKushiel Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

Like the book above, Kushiel’s Dart is book one in a set of three trilogies set in the land of Terre D’Ange. The universe of the novels is based on an alternate Europe (and later further afield) and while you can recognise similarities between the lands and races, it’s unique enough that it isn’t cliche or irritating. The first trilogy focuses on the life of Phedre, a young girl sold by her parents to become a courtesan. In this world the courtesans of The Court of Night-Blooming flowers are legendary, beautiful and trained in their arts. Love is sacred, relationships nothing to be ashamed of and rape is one of the vilest crimes that can be committed. There are 13 houses of the The Court of Night-Blooming flowers, with each one specifically catering to certain needs and desires. For example, Balm, are experts in relaxation and soothing ills, Bryony focuses on wealth and wagers, and Gentian are interpreters of dreams.

Before she can become a part of one of the houses, Phedre catches the attention of a spymaster and is trained in the arts of seduction as well as spycraft. What she doesn’t know though is that she’s involved in a game far darker and deeper than anyone could realise. These novels are filled with love, desire, heartache and treachery that will leave you weeping.

summonerChronicles of the Necromancer – Gail Z Martin

I admit it was the pretty cover that first drew this to my attention and I am so glad. It is one of my favourite fantasy series and I’m so sad that there’s no more stories to be told of Tris and his friends. Tris ends up on the run after his older brother murders his father and frames him. His friends stick with him and along the way others end up joining them. If you’ve read Tamora Pierce’s novels then consider this similar to her Tortall novels but aimed at adults. They’re much longer, more in-depth but with the same fantastic and humorous ragtag band of friends. I also love the magic in these novels, and it’s interesting to have someone take on necromancy as something positive rather than dark and evil.

 

blackmagiciansBlack Magician Trilogy – Trudi Canavan

I only found out recently that these novels are young adult not adult, and I’m not sure I agree with that age group. There is a sequel series and a prequel as well. The prequel explains and explores ‘history’ in this book and fills in a lot of blanks, so I would definitely not read it before the initial trilogy. I’m currently working my way through the sequel series. The novels follow a girl, Sonea, who is born in the slums of the city until she is noticed by some Mages in the Magicians Guild. Sonea has magic, abilities that only the upper class should have (or so was believed until Sonea came about). She’s taking under the wing of her mentor and like the Tortall and Harry Potter novels the series follow her adventures and troubles as she learns about her abilities.

Unlike those novels, black and white isn’t as easily distinguished. These novels deal in grey and Sonea ends up in the middle of it. There’s more secrecy in this series compared to the ones above, surrounded by historical events that no one really knows anything about. At times it got a bit slow, especially at the start of the first book, but then the author drops some tiny tidbits and before you know it you’ve devoured the entire book 😀 I was very lucky that my fiancé bought me all three for Christmas so I was able to go straight to the next one without a wait.

 

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5 Womances I Ship [5 Fandom Friday]

5 Fandom Friday - Womances

Womances is a new one on me; it means as you can probably work out a woman and woman romance. [EDIT – Turns out I had that one wrong; womance is the equivalent of bromance, so it doesn’t need to be romantic at all. In the future I might do my favourite womances, which will take much much longer to narrow down to five. For now though enjoy!]  As a libra I’m a hopeless romantic and I believe love is love. So here are my favourite womances!

 

botamsinBo/Tamsin from Lost Girl

Tamsin: Your heart is both strong and gentle. You’re virtuous. Yet you’re a Succubus. You shouldn’t be.

Bo: Be what?

Tamsin: Be real. Be here.

Lost girl is the treasure chest of female/female relationships, but it is Bo and Tamsin that is my favourite of all. Despite being a Valkyrie, a deadly ancient warrior fey, she is so vulnerable. The exchange I quoted above was so raw, so real and their relationship is as healing as it is passionate.

[Spoilers – I’ve yet to watch season 5 so no spoilers please!]

 

 

saraandnyssa

Sara/Nyssa from DC Universe

Laurel Lance: Can you remember the sound of Sara’s laugh?

Nyssa al Ghul: When Sara was first brought to my father, the moment he weighed her apprenticeship or her execution, she bore witness to a demonstration of his power, one that inspired her and all that come before, but Sara… laughed. It was so innocent, so genuine. That was the moment I fell in love with her, I think. All I knew, all I craved was to her laugh once more.

I love this relationship but only know it from Arrow, and would love to learn more about it from the comics. There is something just so special and tender about this couple.

[spoiler title=’Arrow Spoiler’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]When Sara dies, Nyssa’s pain was absolutely heartbreaking. Sara showed Nyssa a part of life that she had never ever experienced. Was she Nyssa’s salvation? I honestly don’t know because Nyssa’s still an assassin, but life isn’t that black and white and I don’t think being saved necessarily means becoming a good girl. Emotionally, I think Sara and Nyssa helped each other.[/spoiler]

[Spoilers – I’ve yet to watch season 4 of Arrow or Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow so no spoilers please!]

 

 

tara-and-willowWillow/Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow Those guys are checking you out.
Tara
:  What?  W-what are they looking at?
Willow
:  The hotness that is you, doofus.
Tara: 
Those boys really thought I was hot?
Willow:
Entirely.
Tara
:  Oh my god.  I’m cured!  I want the boys!
*She starts to go after the guys, but Willow pulls her back*.

WIllow
Do I have to fight to keep you.  ‘Cause I’m not large with the butch.
Tara
:  I’m just not used to that.  They – they were really looking at me?
Willow
:  And you can’t imagine what they see in you?
Tara
:  I know exactly what they see in me.  You.

These guys were probably my first introduction to same-sex relationships when I was growing up. Their relationship was beautiful and pure, with both girls growing because of the other. When Tara was murdered (no spoiler tag because this is very old news) Willow literally tore the world apart because the pain was too much to bear. Tara was her one true love, and even though she had other relationships Tara was never forgotten.

mykahg

Myka/H.G Wells from Warehouse 13

Helena: “How do you say goodbye to the one person who knows you better than anyone else?”

Myka: “I wish I knew.”

This relationship isn’t canon but it kinda is and the actresses that play Myka and HG have played it up and supported it on numerous occasions (see here for more info). From the first moment these two got together it was clear there was chemistry. They’re two very intelligent sassy women who kick ass, together they’re even more dangerous. Myka is the only one who is able to talk Helena down from doing something really really bad. She understands her pain and never gives up believing that Helena is a good person underneath some bad decisions.

phedre

Phèdre and Melisande Shahrizai from the Kushiel Legacy series

by Jacqueline Carey

“The Night Court taught me to serve, and Delaunay taught me to think; but from Melisande Shahrizai, I learned how to hate.”

This is most definitely the most complicated and non-conservative relationship on the list. Melisande contracts the time of the lovely courtesan Phèdre several times, most notable at a ball for the Longest Night celebration. As the quote above shows, the relationship between these two women was one that highlights the small line between love and hate. It is one of passion, of desire, secrecy and betrayal. There is so much more to their relationship, and I seriously cannot recommend this series highly enough. Even just writing this little commentary I find myself wanting to re-read the series for the umpteenth time.

 

 

Honourable mentions

Mulan/Aurora from Once Upon a Time – This didn’t quite make the cut because they didn’t get much screen time (I’m half way through season 4), but every time Mulan looked at Aurora my heart broke.

Magnus/Nichola from Sanctuary – These two only got together in one episode but it was so amazing and made such a big impact on me. I’d have loved to have seen more of these two, sadly we didn’t as Sanctuary came to an end.

Willow/Kennedy – I know a lot of people hate this ‘ship, but I liked Kennedy and she helped heal Willow’s heart. She helped her become who she needed to be, to become comfortable with her magic and find the purity in it. That isn’t a simple thing and I find Kennedy gets a lot of hate simply because she’s just not Tara.

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From Prague to Masters

From Prague to Masters

It has been a crazy September and even now it’s almost at an end so much is just beginning! I spent 10 days in Prague, Czech Republic for our World of Warcraft Guild meet 2015 and for a celebratory holiday for graduating/my 30th birthday in a few weeks. It was fantastic to see our friends again as we’ve not been on a guild meet for a few years, and Prague was a gorgeous city. We went to a few specific places but most of the time we just picked a direction and walked. It is literally one of those cities where you feel like you are walking through a living breathing art gallery. The people were so friendly as well, and the food was amazing. Massive portions of gorgeous dishes. It’s taken Chris over a week to stop saying ‘I miss Czech food :(‘. Munich was at the top of my list of places I’ve visited but I think Prague has either taken over or is resting in joint first place. We only saw a part of the city, staying in the Old Town, and there was so much more to see. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to visit.

 

We came back from Prague and I jumped straight into my Masters degree at the University of Strathclyde; Information and Library Studies. The weirdest part of this is suddenly finding myself a computer science student. I have always been an Arts student. I’ve only had one week of classes, and half the classes were cancelled due to it being week 1, so next week is my first full week. I am in Tuesday and Wednesday all day, which is a long time but there are two bonuses to this; 1) I have no 3+ hour breaks in which to get bored or feel ill in, and 2) all my classes are in a nice neat block and not across the campus from one another. I’ve already found the places to eat, drink and rest in those buildings and in the next few weeks I’ll start exploring the rest of the campus bit by bit.

 

I’m hesitant to say the next bit, because I’m aware I’ve said it before in regards to teaching… but… I really feel settled already. I feel like this is the right thing for me. I enjoyed teaching, but as my placement went on there were parts of it that began to wear away on me; the politics, the two-facedness of some people, the endless critiques and the huge amount of work. A lot of the teachers were welcoming, but some were not. However, everyone I’ve met so far in relation to my course – teachers, students, library staff at the Mitchel Library (placement) – have all been really nice, friendly and enthusiastic. And more importantly, I don’t feel overly geeky. I am a self admitted geek, it is who I am, and I’ve noticed teachers come in all flavours, often not geeky, sometimes looking down on geeky. However, when you’re sitting in your first lecture and the lecturer says ‘I think we’re all geeks here’ in response to a student apologising for being geeky.. I think I’ll be ok 😉 I also like looking around the class and seeing marvel t-shirts, harry potter necklaces and so forth. I need to break out the Star Wars and World of Warcraft t-shirts 😛 I just don’t feel judged and everyone I met at the Mitchel Library, which is the base of our placements (1 day a week in both semesters) they all welcomed us with open arms. Like, this is the next generation of librarians and we want to help them become a part of this amazing tradition and profession.

 

One thing that has been really important to me is that among the jargon and technical stuff, the point of what a library is, what it should/can be and it’s impact on the whole community (whether it be local, academic and so forth). It is important. It can and will change lives. That was why I looked at teaching; I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives, I wanted to help those who were ill or bullied and show them that they can do it. However, teaching only covers one subject and one aspect of people’s lives – being a part of a library means helping everyone and not being limited to one subject area. One of our assignments is to do research in 3 subjects, one arts, one sciences, and one engineering, to prepare us for working outside our comfort zone because we could be asked to research/find information of any topic at any time.

 

My placement really excites me because it feels like a continuation of my time in a school and a combination of all those thoughts. I’ll be working in the schools in Glasgow, and in simple terms, evaluating the current system the library is running in the schools. Basically the librarian is a part of Glasgow Libraries and then visits the school so many days a week. This means a lot of travelling around, and I’ll be splitting the huge list with my placement partner and doing it over both semesters. I’m going to be talking to the students, teachers and library staff to find out what they need and want. The most important part of this is it isn’t just an assignment, it is actual work. Everything I do in this placement matters and will be used by my supervisor to actually evaluate the system. So when I go in to a school and talk to the kids, I could be making a huge difference on their lives. But also I’ll be helping the teachers too. It is something that fits me and my desires/ideas/etc. for contributing perfectly.

 

I am also now a member of two libraries; Glasgow and my home council. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like. MORE BOOKS. I now have access to a huge range of resources for my Masters, but we are actively encouraged to use the library for pleasure reading because that is what libraries are for! So I went through my massive to read list and now have two lists on goodreads:

There were some cross overs, and local library is still easier as it’s literally at the end of my road, but I will definitely be grabbing some from Glasgow libraries. I’ve already ordered two I have been dying to read and hopefully will be able to pick them up when I’m there on Thursday.

In other geeky news I have been playing Guild Wars 2 again. I will be popping back into World of Warcraft for bits and pieces, such as holidays like Brewfest, but otherwise my motivation has just ceased up and died. I went in to do the 5 pvp pet battles for pet battle weekend and just ended up going ‘meh’ and logging out again. I go through phases with everything, gaming is no exception. I will probably post more on GW2 and gaming in general soon.

A – Z Book survey

A-Z of Books

Found this thanks to Li, the original survey creator is Jamie @ the Perpetual Page-Turner 🙂

 

Author you’ve read the most books from:

I’m going to guess that it is Laurell K Hamilton as there are currently 23 books in her Anita Blake series, 8 Merry Gentry novels and various other books of hers that I have read and then there are the marvel comics as well. So all in all we’re looking at over 30 books 🙂

Best Sequel Ever:

Oh wow this is a hard question. I read a lot of series’ and trilogies – basically after the first book I tend to get hooked and devour everything else. I can’t actually pick just one, and so narrowing it down I have four. Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet – books 2, 3 & 4 were all amazing and I have re-read them so many times. Next up is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy series, namely book 2 and 3 about Phedre (Kushiel’s Dart and Kushiel’s Chosen). They literally rocked my world.Those two are probably the top 2 for different reasons, so neither is first or second, both equal 🙂

The next one is relatively new to my book shelf – Michael Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. Chris and I are just devouring all of these books right now. Each book is amazing, each following book manages to get even better. Then finally there is Gail Z Martin’s Chronicle of the Necromancer series. I was blown away by the first book and the sequels again were just amazing, brilliant writing.

Generally any series you see me reading on my good reads account must have a decent sequel because otherwise I’d have given up after the first or second book.

Currently Reading:

  • Dates from Hell (Anthology)
  • Tricked (Michael Hearne)
  • Goddess of the Sea ( P C Cast)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Anything actually, I don’t have a particular drink associated to reading.

E-reader or Physical Book?

Sadly physical problems with my hands mean that holding books is quite painful and carrying them even more so. So e-reader wins for me right now.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ha.. where do I start?! Probably Jonathan of Comte or George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

This could apply to any book I’ve ever picked up really. So many incredible authors started with just trying one book and now I have/want to read everything by them.

Hidden Gem Book:

Anything by Marianne Curley or Catherine Fisher. Curley is an australian author and Fisher is British and so both tend to kinda get lost in amongst all the really well known authors. I always find their work to be unique and fascinating. They’re both fantasy/sci-fi/magic genre, but they do tend to mix and match a lot.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

I didn’t recognise this one until applying for my English literature degree at the University of Glasgow, and I had to think about WHY I wanted to study that course. I realised then that the most important moment of my reading life was due to my dad. When I was a kid he read Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine with me and from that moment the world of fantasy opened for me. It was my first introduction to the world of literature where anything could happen, anything was possible and it has influenced me as a reader and a writer.

Just Finished:

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I have to have some elements of fantasy or supernatural in my books. So anything just historical, or just romantic don’t interest me. Crime I love in TV shows but as a reader it doesn’t interest me. The only exception are some classics; I love Alexandre Dumas and the Bronte sisters.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I honestly have no idea! Probably something non-fiction for one of my degrees, or Lord of the Rings. Maybe Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift or   As I was writing this I realised what specific book claims this title, well books as there are two and I can’t be bothered to check their length 😛  Both were for comparative literature. One is the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (which also wins the weirdest book I’ve ever read award as well) and the second is one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez.

Major book hangover because of:

Probably one of my current books; Goddess of the Sea by P C Cast. I’m kinda enjoying it and want to know what happens, however, I’m having some major issues getting into it as well.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Two (only one is for books, other is dvds) and I think there’s at least 2 big crates full of books under the bed 😛 That isn’t including my digital shelf aka my kindle 😉

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Alanna, the first adventure by Tamora Pierce.

Preferred Place To Read:

I can read anywhere; bed, sitting at my desk, while travelling. Give me a book that I enjoy and I’m lost in it for hours.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

A couple from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series which really helped me grow as a person in many ways:

“Love as thou Wilt.”

“All knowledge is worth having.”

“That which yields is not always weak.”

“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity upon me.”

Reading Regret:

Possibly not reading some books sooner? Although I’ve promptly caught up to date 😉 As is the case with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Gods of Olympus novels. And definitely not having enough time to read all the books I want to read!

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Most of them are all ongoing, so I’m either working my way through or waiting for the next book. I did just start the Mortal Instruments series though and so I’ve got the rest of that. I think I’m also one or two books behind on Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel legacy series (it’s comprised of three trilogies, I’m on the third trilogy but not completed it).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley
  • Hounded by Michael Hearne
  • Survivor’s Quest (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

Just three is evil by the way 😛

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Laurell K Hamilton’s novels, Jacuqline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy, Anything by Marianne Curley and LJSmith, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, Kelley Armstrong’s women of the otherworld… hell I could keep going for ages!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Probably the next Heroes of Olympus book, House of Hades by Rick Riordan. It’s out a day before my birthday so guess what list that’s going on! The way the last book ended… to say it was a cliffhanger is the understatement of the century. GIVE ME IT NOW!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Probably ignoring everyone and everything while reading. My mum banned me from reading books in the kitchen before dinner/while dinner was being prepared because she’d ask me stuff and I’d just totally ignore her. Chris would probably say I have no ability not to squeee or talk about books I’m excited about.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey, the first book on the second shelf. The top shelf is dedicated to all my Laurell K Hamilton books, so yeah she’s definitely my most read author!

Your latest book purchase:

City of Bones and City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments book 1 & 2) by Cassandra Clare. We knew the movie was coming out so we got them to read before seeing it.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Oh wow… most likely one of the Anita Blake books by Laurell K Hamilton. I was ill at the time and was reading three books a day, I was totally hooked. Now a days it tends to be MOST books I’m reading for pleasure 😉