Supernatural killer horses, a musician with a deadly secret, beautifully written Irish myth, and a pair of English ladies battling magic.
The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater.
This was on my to-read list for a long time, and I’m happy I finally got around to it. The titular races happen every November and involve vicious water horses who would just as soon kill their riders than reach the finish line. All the contestants have been men, until Puck Connolly enters in a desperate to win the prize money and keep her home. Along the way she has a low-key romance with the returning champion, a rather moody young man. Fast-paced and involving. A strong YA read.
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman.
An outstanding debut about humans and dragons that fold themselves into human shape in the kingdom of Goredd. Tensions run high as the anniversary of a peace treaty nears. The plot revolves around Seraphina Dombegh, an unusually gifted musician, who joins with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, Prince Lucian Kiggs, to investigate a murder at court. But Seraphina has a secret that explains her musical genius–and it’s a secret so awful she’ll be destroyed if it’s revealed. A wonderful read, especially if you think you don’t like dragon stories.
The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier.
Marillier is a New Zealand author who writes delicious fantasy, although sometimes the pace is a bit slow. This trilogy covers three generations of a family and its struggle to save magic in Ireland. The series: Daughter of the Forest, in which Sorcha must save her brothers from a spell that turned them into swans; Son of the Shadows follows Sorcha’s daughter, Liadan, a healer and seeress whose quest to keep her family safe leads to unexpected love; and Child of the Prophecy, the tale of Fianne, a Druid’s daughter who is blackmailed by her sorceress grandmother into taking vengeance on the clan that thwarted her initial enchantment of the six brothers.
Sorcery & Cecelia: The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Patricia Wrede, Carolyn Stevermer.
An absolutely delightful romp through Regency-era England, told through letters between the title characters. The ladies, one in the country, one in London, get caught up in a magical plot. Clever, witty, a quick read. Written by the two authors who actually sent letters in character, neither knowing how the other would respond. First of a trilogy.
WANT TO READ
Sapphique, Catherine Fisher.
This is a sequel to the wildly inventive and engrossing Incarceron, the story of a living prison. In this follow-up Finn has escaped from Incarceron, but his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts his identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? Meanwhile, the crazy sorcerer Rix may have found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. I’ll be sure to re-read the first one before tackling this.
The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi.
With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, May is scorned and feared in her father’s kingdom until he arranges a wedding of political convenience, making Maya queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. As a queen, she finds her voice and power. As a wife, she discovers desire. But Akaran has secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree bearing memories instead of fruit. Maya suspects her life is in danger and doesn’t know who to trust. Features Indian myth.
Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor.
Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has a been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but won’t cross half the world to find it. Then a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors offers him a chance to do so. Will he learn why Weep was severed from the rest of the world 200 years ago? Discover what the Godslayer slew that went by the name of god? Suss out the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries. Taylor is a strong writer, so this looks promising. First of a duology.
That’s it for now. Any suggestions? Thanks for reading.