Great Modern Fantasy Reads

I didn’t used to be that big with the fantasy, because after Oz, Middle Earth and Hogwarts, what was there?

changes Well, how about Chicago? Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden advertises in the present-day Chicago Yellow Pages under “W.” You know, for Wizard. He’s got a skull named Bob as a sidekick, werewolves and a Knight Templar with a magical sword for backup, the White Council and The Red Court of vampires both on his ass, the Wizard Enforcer for a godfather and a real live fairy for a godmother. Butcher’s almost got me believing in magic, these books are that good. Dead Beat, the seventh in the series, is still my favorite, but you should begin with the first, Storm Front.

thrones It’s been a long time since a book kept me up all night, and then I get four in a row, George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and its three sequels. Instant addiction, that’s what these books are, a mesmerizing epic fantasy of the family Winterfell, with marvelous characterizations (in particular the two girls, Arya and Daenerys, and the dwarf lord Tyrion), and a plot with more twists and turns than a sidewinder. There is love and lust, loyalty and betrayal, noble houses rise and kings fall, and let’s not forget the creepiest boogeymen ever, known simply as “the Others.” A wonderfully realized world, I can’t wait to get back to it.

georgeThe Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson is a great sword-and-sorcery novel featuring the valiant Jim Eckhert, whose love Angie is aported (not teleported, no, no) by mad scientist Grottwold into an alternate universe peopled by knights, dragons and really big rats. What’s a hero to do? Why, go immediately to her rescue, only, of course, you guessed it, something goes ever so slightly wrong, and…but you should read it for yourself. The crankiest wizard of all time, one S. Carolinus, and then there is the Accounting Department.

bittenYou’ll never feel safe in the woods again after you read Bitten by Karen Armstrong. Although you might not care if you thought you might meet Clay in there. Yum. The best book in the werewolf subgenre of fantasy fiction, great characters and a great you-are-there world of werewolf society, such a small and exclusive club. Armstrong poses some nice moral conundrums as well–it’s hard to reconcile Clay the love interest with Clay the supremely selfish guy who wanted Elena so bad he’d actually—but no, I’ll give it away.

godmother The original fairy tales were dark and terrifying. You know how Cinderella’s stepsisters made their feet fit into the glass slipper in the original story? They cut their toes off. In The Godmother, author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough hauls them into the present day, in Seattle of all places, where it turns out fairy tales are no less dark or less terrifying. All the usual suspects appear, Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and through all their lives the guiding hand of the Godmother. Imaginative, well-crafted, and, well, enchanting.

Book Review Monday Chatter

Dana View All →

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3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. dear dana:
    one of the (many) things I enjoy about reading the shugak books is when the characters read some author that I also read. Apparently Kate, Jim and Johnny shop the same section of Amazon that I do! They (and you) would probably enjoy David Eddings if you never tried him. Books aside, I really was prowling the website looking for a recipe for Auntie Vi’s fry bread. Might you post such a thing somewhere, assuming it’s not a Shugak family secret.

    PS. Write faster.

  2. On the “Kate’s Cookbook” page, Elizabeth:

    Although if you polled ten Alaskans for their fry bread secrets you’d get eleven recipes. Some people double the amount of yeast so the dough will rise faster. Some people add milk, some people add sugar. I don’t, because I like to shake powdered sugar over my fry bread, right out of the pan. And right into my mouth. Fry bread recipes are like meat loaf recipes, no two are alike.

    PS I’m pedaling as fast as I can.

  3. The Kelley Armstrong series has a weird effect, it is better second time round. Why, you might ask, because she writes two books about a character, so just when you want more werewolves, it is witches, demons, etc.

    If you have not read David Eddings, read them all, they rock. Not sure which series my favorite, but the Sparhawk stuff might just be out in front.

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