I hope you all had a very blessed and joyous Christmas! I hope the rest of this season is filled with love and happiness and peace!
My family likes to go overboard with buying gifts for each other. Call it a sickness if you will. We always say that we have to downsize but words are easy. I can’t really complain, though when the end result is this:
The great tower of Books, upon which stands the brave and resilient Arya Stark — a gift from my sister who knows me too well —
Even with my bookshelf overflowing as it is, I never turn away from the gift of a good book. I thought it would be a fun idea to share with you a bit about each.
We’ll start with column on Arya’s right (that’s your left) top-down, then bottom-up for the one on her left (your right):
- Arrows of the Queen – Mercedes Lackey: 1st in the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy. I’ve said it too many times already, but I’ll say it again. I. LOVE. FANTASY. I’m always buying the first books in series to invest myself in new worlds. I also cite it as research for my own story ideas, to pinpoint those elements I love & then incorporate them in turn. This particular series features a female protagonist! by the name of Talia who is chosen to become part of the Queen’s elite guard and protect the realm of Valdemar. This is Lackey’s debut novel first published in 1987. Knowing how prolific an author she is, it seemed to be the right decision to start with her first book 🙂
- Pawn of Prophecy – David Eddings: 1st in the Belgariad. Another book published in the 1980s. Another fantasy. Can you see a trend? Eddings is another author with a great bibliography. This series revolves around a young farm boy named Garion who is unknowingly dragged into a prophecy and led on a quest filled with magic and danger.
- Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett: 6 in the Discworld series. Yes, another fantasy, but it wouldn’t be Christmas if there wasn’t a Pratchett book under my tree 🙂 I’ve already written a post where I gushed over Pratchett’s writing. He is one of my favourite authors and I am still saddened to think that he was taken from this world with so much still to give. If you haven’t read Pratchett yet, I highly recommend that you do! This entry is about three witches trying to put the rightful king on the throne (at least, that’s what they think) and reintroduces one character from an earlier novel (Equal Rites).
- The Boston Girl – Anita Diamant: Last year, I finally read The Red Tent written by Diamant and was enthralled. I love how she took a minor character in the Bible and gave her a larger role, gave her her own story. It is a beautifully woven tale. This story is about a young girl growing up in Boston in the early 1900s and focuses on the clash of tradition and the pursuit of defining the self.
- A Letter of Mary – Laurie R. King: 3rd in the Mary Russell series. I began this series this year and love it far more than I probably should. Set around a young girl who befriends an elderly Sherlock Holmes and becomes his protegée, my fond affection for it is based in two things: 1st, SHERLOCK HOLMES!, & 2nd, a fantastic female lead with wit and bravado. I love Sherlock Holmes (books, movies, tv shows– if you haven’t watch BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, do!–games). I can’t get enough of this great detective. This series places him in a secondary role, which enhances the tale as it places Mary at the forefront. This book follows Mary as she tries to solve the mystery of a murdered archaeologist. If you love mystery and well developed characters, pick up this series (1st book is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice).
- Pearl in the Sand – Tessa Afshar: I discovered this book through Goodreads and was intrigued by its premise. A piece of historical fiction (another favourite genre of mine), Afshar does a similar thing with it as Diamant did with The Red Tent, taking an obscure female figure and giving her a story. Rahab is a prostitute living in Jericho who assisted the Israelites in capturing the city. This book tells that story as well as that of her marriage to Salmone.
- Be Careful What You Wish For – Jeffrey Archer: 4th in the Clifton Chronicles: You might remember that yesterday I posted a review of the 3rd book. I was ecstatic to find the 4th book under my tree. I won’t say much, because it will spoil for sure, but I expect more drama and more heartbreaking moments.
- The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson: 1st in the Stormlight Archive. Another fantasy! It follows the point of view of many characters à la A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in a land known as Roshar, the cast of characters include Kaladin (a slave struggling to save his men from the senseless war), Kholin (a commander of an army troubled by visions) & Shallan (a student planning a theft and drawing closer to discovering the true cause of the war).
- Voyager – Diana Gabaldon: 3rd in the Outlander series. This was my most wanted book this year! A historical fantasy set in Scotland it follows a woman who time travels from the 20th century to the 18th and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings. Again, I’ll refrain from speaking on this one, just because, well…Spoilers.
- Key to Creation – Kevin J. Anderson: 3rd & last in the Terra Incognita trilogy. I recently finished the second book in this series and posted a review on it a while back. While not my favourite fantasy series, it’s one that’s benefited me as it is set on the sea — for those of you who don’t know, my first fantasy novel also largely takes place on the open waters. What I have loved about it is it’s colourful cast of characters much like A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as its chosen source of conflict — the two major factions share diverging religious beliefs that originate in the same deity.
Phew. That’s probably more long-winded than it needed to be. Here’s a round of applause to those of you who stuck through it. Let me know in the comments what books you got, or what your favourite gift this year was!
Tomorrow I’ll post a new review so keep your eyes peeled for that and more 🙂
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,