For That Artsy Reader Girls Top Ten Tuesday:
May 19: Reasons Why I Love [insert your favorite book title, genre, author, etc. here]
I decided to go with what I know and what I write. Fairy tales!
1. They can be scary: Example: The Changeling by Victor La Valle made the familiar and beloved things seem alien and menacing.
2. They can be intricate: Example: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is a Rapunzel retelling that weaves together three narrative strands, like a braid.
3. They can create new worlds: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier launches Marillier’s Sevenwaters series. It’s a six book series set partially in Ancient Ireland as well as an Otherworld based on Celtic mythology. These should be read in order. Following Daughter of the Forest, there’s Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy. Then the second trilogy that makes up the series is Heir to Sevenwaters, Seer of Sevenwaters, and Flame of Sevenwaters.
4. They can give us new looks at old worlds: Example Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series is set in an alternate version of the history we know, similar to what we know in many ways with a bit of extra magic thrown in. These don’t need to be read in any order, but I recommend the early books in the series, which are much better than the later ones. My favorites are The Fire Rose, The Serpent’s Shadow, The Gates of Sleep, and Phoenix and Ashes.
5. They can be romantic: Example I found Juliet Marillier’s Beauty and the Beast retelling Heart’s Blood to be beautifully romantic in addition to having great historical and fantasy elements.
6. They can be funny: Example Sarah Pineborough’s Tales From the Kingdoms (Poison, Charm, Beauty) trilogy made me chuckle at several points. They probably work better if they’re read in order, but you can probably still understand everything that’s happening even if you don’t.
7. They can be tearjerking and heartbreaking: Example: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a beautifully written but harrowing tale (trigger warnings here) with an ending that is ultimately bittersweet but in the moment may seem more bitter to some readers. Not all stories have happily ever afters, and even in the ones that do, those happy endings don’t apply to all.
8. They can be innovative: Example: I first discovered Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber in a college class I took called “Innovative Contemporary Fiction.” I’m glad I read this for the first time in an academic setting because it gave me a chance to really dig into the text and notice things I would have otherwise missed. There’s a lot happening between the lines of these stories!
9. They can be beautiful: Example I found Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy to be beautiful in terms of story, setting, and prose. It satisfied on almost every level. These should be read in order. It’s The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl In the Tower, andThe Winter of the Witch.
10. They’re what I do: Example: Once again it seems I’m not above promoting my own book. My first novel, Beautiful: A Tale of Beauties and Beasts is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It’s my first published novel. I’m working on a follow up right now, that’s based on The Snow Queen.