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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5 OTP’s I Ship [5 Fandom Friday]

5 Fandom Friday - OTPs

OTP stands for One True Pairing; your favourite pairing in a fandom. Or in my case, one of many. I often ship more than one couple in a fandom, and even more than one partner for a character. I’ve got a full list of my ‘ships over at my website but here are my top five. You should also totally check out the wonderful OTP clique Dearest to show your love for your OTP.

 

lukemara

Luke Skywalker & Mara Jade

Star Wars Expanded Universe

 

Luke: “Patience is a virtue.”

Mara: “Never had much use for it myself.”

Luke: “Yes, I’ve noticed.”


 

Luke: “Is there something you want to tell me?

Mara: “If I wanted to tell you, I would, wouldn’t I?

Luke: “Not if you thought it might upset me.

Mara: “You’ve got me. I hate that shirt. In fact, I think you’re a crummy dresser, period.

Luke: “You bought me this shirt.

Even though it is no longer canon, this is and will always be my top OTP. Honestly I could probably do a whole post on my OTPs from the Star Wars universe. For most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) Luke wandered around having a few relationships here and there until Timothy Zahn created Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand. Ok, fair enough their relationship didn’t start off great – she tried to kill him to avenge her Master’s death – but there was that spark. You know, that one which grabs your attention and continues to keep you hooked. They are two people who fit together, and the witty dialogue between them is fantastic. For example, when pregnant Mara’s reaction was to tell Luke; Darling. I love you, you are my life and my light. If you ever do this to me again I will vape you where you stand. They’ll never give up on one another or their loved one, and they kick ass while they do it.

 

alannageorge[Artwork by Minuiko]

Alanna the Lioness & George Cooper

Tortall novels by Tamora Pierce

 

“There’s plenty more fish in the sea than Prince Jonathan,” he told her softly. “And this particular fish loves you with all his crooked heart.”
– George to Alanna

 

The lady knight should fall in love with the prince she grew up with. Right? Nope, not this one. The first lady knight in hundreds of years (or ever, it’s been a while since I read these books), and she finds her soulmate in the king of thieves. As much as I liked Jon as a character he just wasn’t suited for Alanna, and George was the rougish rake who loved her for who she was.

 

robinmarianMarian and Robin Hood

Maid Marian: You came for me… you’re alive…
Robin of Locksley: I would die for you.

 

I ship Marian and Robin in pretty much every incarnation, with Once Upon a Time being the only exception (Regina/Robin!). It is my favourite fairytale and I’m not even sure how to put into words how much they mean to me. I chose the quote from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves because that epitomises their relationship for me. It is the forever ever after love, the love so strong that you would do anything for that person, even die for them.

 

phedre_and_joscelin_by_jankolas-d4lnhn3[Artwork by Jankolas]

Phédre/Joscelin

Kushiel Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

“Phédre, I’m used to it…your wandering around with the Name of God in your head is just one more damned thing to get used to.!

“Am I that hard to live with?” I asked.

“Yes.” His arms tightened around me. “But it’s worth it.”

 

 

Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel legacy means a lot to me in many ways, and so it was natural for this pair to make this list. Phédre is a courtesan, a daughter of Naamah, and Joscelin is her guard and a member of the Cassiline Brotherhood. To understand their relationship you need to understand exactly what a Cassiline is; it is a guardian sworn to protect their charge, every part of their fighting style is designed to protect their ward and they only drawn their sword to kill. They are dedicated to the point that they train in a move called the Terminus, an act in which a Cassiline throws their dagger to kill their ward and then uses their other dagger to slit their own throat. It may sound morbid, but the point is that even in death they have saved their ward from harm.

Joscelin goes through literal hell to find and save Phédre at one point. As a member of the brotherhood he swore a vow of chastity, one which he eventually breaks after falling in love with Phédre. Despite all the pain, suffering and degradation he has to suffer, he goes through it all to save his love. He is utterly devoted to her, accepts her for who she is and what she does. I honestly cannot think of a love that is as pure and as strong as these two. Even in the darkest moments their devotion wins through.

 

i_love_you__by_yorinarpati-d6tu7bi[Art by Yori Narpati]

Annabeth/Percy

Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels by Rick Riordan

 

“It’s okay,” he said. “We’re together.” He didn’t say you’re okay, or we’re alive. After all they’d been through over the last year, he knew that the most important thing was that they were together. She loved him for saying that.


Annabeth put her knee on Percy’s chest. She pushed her forearm against his throat. She didn’t care what the Romans thought. A white-hot lump of anger expanded in her chest—a tumor of worry and bitterness that she’d been carrying around since last autumn.
“If you ever leave me again,” she said, her eyes stinging, “I swear to all the gods—”
Percy had the nerve to laugh. Suddenly the lump of heated emotions melted inside Annabeth.
“Consider me warned,” Percy said. “I missed you, too.”

The newest addition to this list, and they make it because of the huge amount of difficulties they have faced. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so lets just put it this way; they’ve been to hell and back, and had everything including a godly kitchen sink thrown at them. They have been at deaths door, they have almost seen the world end and they still stick together. He’s her seaweed brain and she’s his wise girl, and they are just super cute together. I think what makes me love this couple so much is that when Percy’s being an idiot, Annabeth is the first person to call him on it and slap him for it.

 

Honourable mentions

Narrowing it down to just 5 was tough and the final two especially had to fight with a few others. Buffy/Angel was probably one of my first OTPs but didn’t make the cut because I’m not sure that I could argue for it any more. I love their relationship, but could I say it was my OTP or that I believed they belonged together? Possibly not. Then there’s the World of Warcraft universe; I have several OTPs from this fandom and I wanted desperately to feature one – but I couldn’t choose one over the others! I couldn’t decide between Jaina/Kalecgos, Alexstraza/Krasus, Rhonin/Vereesa or Alleria/Turaylon!

 

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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 😉