Pooks suggests… 9 Fabulous Magical Romances!
I love these 9 fabulous magical romances and I think you will, too.
Here are nine fabulously magical and darkly delicious books, all first in series, that–if you love The Fury Triad–you will love. These books are all available as audiobooks as well as print and probably through your libraries as well as all the usual stores.
Consider this my gift to you. And let me know if you’ve already read them, and if you agree with me or not! [Some of these have been recommended here before.]
In the left-to-right order from the graphic above:
Frost Blood by Elly Blake – I’m reading it right now and enjoying the heck out of it. The world feels Middle Ages. Ruby is a Fireblood with forbidden powers she can’t control, powers that warm and powers that burn and powers that can produce conflagrations. This means she could be a valuable weapon, but she just wants to escape.
“Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.”
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess – An alternate Victorian London, and OMG, this may be my favorite of this year, along with its sequel, and will Ms Cluess hurry up with the final book, please? This is one that left me gasping “oh no she didn’t go there, she did not go there” when yes indeed, she did go there. Ms Cluess makes story choices like I make story choices which means twists and turns and going places you really didn’t think she’d go.
“I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years. The prophesied one.
Or am I?
“Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
“Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.”
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – Yes, I’ve recced this before, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Talk about an alternate history and reality! Set in a fictionalized fifteenth-century Brittany, the Church, the Saints, the world is different from our own. And I love it.
“Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.”
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – Gorgeous world and compelling characters, this one caught me into its web of magic and wouldn’t let me go.
“Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.”
Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Yes, I’ve recommended this stunning book before. Winner of the Nebula for Best Novel, named one of NPR’s best books of the year, my adoration is a mere reflection of the adulations it has received. [And the next book in her fairy tale series, Spinning Silver, is available for preorder!]
“ ‘Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.’ ”
“Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
“Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.”
Jackaby by William Ritter – I’m listening to this one right now. Not a trilogy–this is the first of four books and appears to be a continuing series that the Chicago Tribune called, “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” An English teenager whose father left her behind when he went off on an archaelogical dig takes matters into her own hands and strikes out to prove she’s up to the task–and ends up in Boston assisting a strange young detective whose crimes are paranormal. It’s rich with texture and the characters are fun and compelling. This one is getting high marks from me. Ubiquitous love triangle is very much in the background at this point and not at all annoying.
“Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–seem adamant to deny.”
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Another I’ve recced before, and justly so. This one, however, is different from the norm. The setting is a desert kingdom, and the heroine becomes swept up into the resistance that [gasp] reads books illegally and hopes to overthrow the imperial military power that has ruled brutally for two centuries. And the hero is one of the elite, a leader at Blackcliff Military Academy, where brutality and violence and cunning are refined.
“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
“Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
“It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
“But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.”
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – Oh, how I love this trilogy. I listened to the audiobooks that were read by Alan Cumming, whose accents and energy were sublime. It’s a rolicking and fantastical steampunk adventure through an alternate World War I. Astounding author notes at the end of each book reveal which preposterous story twists and settings come right out of own history.
“It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
“Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.”
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott – Another alternate history only this time the setting is the British Isles in a world where the glaciers didn’t melt and it’s really, really cold. But the Victorianesque setting is lushly written and the dangers and intrigues fabulously crafted. This was my introduction to Kate Elliott and she has become a favorite.
“The Wild Hunt is stirring – and the dragons are finally waking from their long sleep…
“Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. Though they are in beginning of the Industrial Age, magic – and the power of the Cold Mages – still hold sway.
“Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlessness of the rule of the Cold Mages. What do the Cold Mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them?”
I’m so happy to have discovered so many dark, magical, and romantic series and hope you love them, too!
I wish you a fabulous 2018 filled with wonderful books and alternate realities and most of all–happily-ever-afters!
[And tell me about other similar series while we’re at it. Comments below!]