I love fantasy of all flavors, but sometimes fantasy written for adults can be a little, shall we say, violent and gory for my taste? (You’ve heard of the Red Wedding, perhaps?) When my fragile constitution can’t hang with the grown-ups, I like to throw a little YA fantasy in the mix. Here are some recent hits!
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
This book boasts one of the most unique settings I’ve encountered in a long time. The Gomorrah Festival is a traveling circus, and Sorina is an illusionist who puts on a freak show cast entirely with illusions she’s created. When one of her illusions is murdered after a show, Sorina’s world is shattered. How could one of her illusions be killed, if they aren’t real to begin with? Finding the truth and the killer will stretch Sorina beyond her limits, and because it’s a first-person narration, we get A LOT of time in Sorina’s head while she whines internally about it all. If you can get past the teen mood swings, you’ll get lost in the crazy circus-y world Foody has created.
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Amrita is being forced into marriage with a much older monarch from a backward-thinking kingdom. She and her childhood love hatch a plot to run away together before the wedding, but Amrita’s destiny turns out to be a whole lot bigger than escaping into obscurity with a boy. Pro tip: the Author’s Note alone is worth the price of admission. It’s at the beginning of the book, don’t skip it!
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Feminist fairy tale retelling? Here, take my money! I bought Girls Made of Snow and Glass on its release date, I was so excited to read it. It’s a twist on Snow White, with a stepmother who is more emotionally damaged than heartless, and her rival for the throne, a stepdaughter made in the image of her dead mother, the woman the king still loves. The two women’s stories are told in alternating timelines, and while I have to admit to having a favorite (Lynet all the way), the way the two strands tie up together in the end is sublimely satisfying. Lots of depth in the relationships the characters have and in their understanding of who they are (and how that changes). This book is like Galentine’s Day, “just ladies celebrating ladies.”