No matter how strange or outlandish, most fantasy novels take place in a world that bears at least some resemblance to our own. But when a fantasy writer takes the opportunity to cast a spell over the past, it provides a different sort of magic. Two new novels put imaginative twists on history.
For 10 years, Daniel José Older worked as an EMT in Brooklyn, and he blogged each day about what he’d witnessed the night before: tragedy and joy, blood and bandages, dead people and living people—and people who hovered somewhere in between, their fates as yet undecided.
The final chapter in Lev Grossman's Magicians Trilogy, a suspenseful historic account of a perilous voyage and a National Book Award finalist make for great reading this month.
Are you ready to dive into a world of magic and adventure, but a bit hesitant to pick up an 800-page doorstopper with a hefty roster of characters? Then Naomi Novik, author of the best-selling Temeraire series, has the perfect summer fantasy for you in the spellbinding Uprooted.
At first glance, The Only Words That Are Worth Repeating looks like Interstellar meets The Stand. Centuries from now, in a post-scientific society where astronomy “is regarded as a delusional cult scarcely more respectable than Jesus Lovers,” a powerful corporation discovers a perfectly intact Orion spacecraft hidden beneath the ruins of Cape Canaveral, along with detailed instructions from NASA on how to launch a voyage to Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon.
Readers can expect major entertainment in two paranormal thrillers that bridge the gap between mystery and horror, starring a couple of detectives who are in way over their heads.
In V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, three versions of London exist side by side in parallel universes. There’s Grey London, where magic is basically extinguished; Red London, where it’s abundant; and White London, where it’s somewhere in between (and where the control of it as a resource is jealously and viciously contested). There was also a fourth—Black London—whose inhabitants were devoured by magic and which should no longer exist. Schwab’s male protagonist, Kell, is one of the few with the power to travel between those Londons, and as such, serves as a diplomatic courier of sorts between the monarchies of each.
In the magical, feuding lands of Norta, a poor young woman is thrust into the center of an elite world where she must hide her true self and discover her inner strength and power to survive.
“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin . . . and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.” So begins Holly Black’s exquisite story about siblings Hazel and Ben and the sleeping faerie prince they swore to protect.
Without question, Tolkien set the standard for worldbuilding. Readers of epic fantasy aren’t content with a few generations of kings mentioned in some measly footnotes; they want a world so vast and detailed that it could be real. With Tolkien’s template in mind, George R.R. Martin addresses fans’ demands for a truly epic history.