Book Description from Goodreads:

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

Serpentine is about a handmaid, Skybright, who wakes up one night to find she no longer has legs but a serpent coil. In the morning, she appears fully human again, but she continues to occasionally shift into this other form against her will. As she tries to learn about her connection to the serpent demon and master control over her two different forms, she also begins to fall in love with Kai Sen, a young man raised by monks.

Though I felt that Serpentine was longer than necessary for the amount of story contained within it, it is a lovely story. I very much enjoyed the mythology, Skybright’s encounters with the mysterious Stone, the focus on Skybright’s complicated friendship with her mistress Zhen Ni, and the ending. Skybright’s fears and struggles with accepting this other side of herself are realistically examined and sympathetic, and she’s determined, practical, and loyal to the ones she cares about.

While there was much I appreciated about Serpentine, I also thought it dragged at times, the characters other than Skybright did not come alive, and the love story was rushed since Skybright and Kai Sen barely knew each other. I probably would have loved Serpentine had it been tighter with some more compelling characterization, but though it had some interesting elements, I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequel (although the description of the next book on Goodreads does sound really good!).

My Rating: 6/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Burn for Me
by Ilona Andrews
400pp (Mass Market Paperback)
My Rating: 7/10
Amazon Rating: 4.8/5
LibraryThing Rating: 4.26/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.4/5
 

Book Description from Goodreads:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Despite what the book spine claims and cover image indicates, this novel is not technically a paranormal romance even though there is a lot of romantic tension in the second half of the book. The first quarter of the book is primarily focused on introducing the world and Nevada’s latest job assignment: capturing Adam Pierce, a dangerously strong pyrokinetic who really enjoys setting things on fire. Immediately after her first encounter with Adam about a quarter of the way through the book, she’s kidnapped by Mad Rogan, a dangerously strong telekinetic with some telepathic ability whose cousin requested that he find her teenage son, recently seen committing arson with Adam. He chains Nevada in his basement and uses his telepathy to try to extract what she knows about Adam, but this is much harder than he expected since Nevada secretly has will-based magic of her own. He lets her go and later the two decide it’s best that they work together to find Adam. Nevada can’t stop thinking about how amazingly good-looking Mad Rogan is but tries to fight her attraction to him because he’s a psychopath.

This is a fun book with some of the classic Ilona Andrews style of amusing dialogue and narrative. The world isn’t terribly original since it’s basically people with different superhuman abilities, but that’s not an issue since it does certainly allow for some interesting situations. Nevada herself is wonderful: determined, smart, practical, forthright, and compassionate.

However, although I enjoyed reading some of her snappy dialogue with Mad Rogan, I also find it difficult to envision an eventual romance between the two (which I assume there will be due to the paranormal romance label). I suspect some of the awful things Nevada believes about him will turn out to be false, but even so, he drugged and abducted her, can kill without remorse, and used his power to choke a woman with her own dress. Nevada is completely right to think being in a relationship with him is a terrible idea!

Burn for Me is entertaining, and I do want to read the second book in the Hidden Legacy series once it’s released even if I did have some problems with it.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: I received it as a Christmas gift since it was a book on my wish list.

The Very Best of Kate Elliott
by Kate Elliott
384pp (Paperback)
My Rating: 5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 4/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.01/5
 

Book Description from Goodreads:

Strong heroines and riveting storytelling are the hallmark of groundbreaking fantasy author Kate Elliott (“Crown of Stars,” “Crossroads”). Elliott is a highly-compelling voice in genre fiction, an innovative author of historically-based narratives set in imaginary worlds. This first, retrospective collection of her short fiction is the essential guide to Elliott’s shorter works. Here her bold adventuresses, complex quests, noble sacrifices, and hard-won victories shine in classic, compact legends.

In “The Memory of Peace,” a girl’s powerful emotions rouse the magic of a city devastated by war. Meeting in “The Queen’s Garden,” two princesses unite to protect their kingdom from the blind ambition of their corrupted father. While “Riding the Shore of the River of Death” a chieftain’s daughter finds an unlikely ally on her path to self-determination.

Elliott’s many readers, as well as fantasy fans in search of powerful stories featuring well-drawn female characters, will revel in this unique gathering of truly memorable tales.

Short fiction is not my favorite format since I tend to prefer longer stories with more time to explore characters and worlds, but I really wanted to read this because I’ve wanted to read more by Kate Elliott since I loved her Spiritwalker trilogy (Cold Magic, Cold Fire, Cold Steel). The Very Best of Kate Elliott contains an introduction by the author, twelve short stories, and four essays previously published online. Two short stories are set in the same world as the Crown of Stars series, one is set in the same world as Crossroads trilogy, two are set in the same world as the Jaran series, and one is set in the same world as the Spiritwalker trilogy.

Although I appreciated some of the themes and elements that went into the short stories, I didn’t find any of them to be particularly compelling. The only one I found at all memorable was the Jaran story “My Voice Is in My Sword” and that was only because of the darkly humorous ending; until that point, I thought that story was okay but not great. However, I did very much enjoy reading the four essays, especially the two on the portrayal of women in fiction (“The Omniscient Breasts” and “The Narrative of Women in Fear and Pain”) and the one on immigration (“And Pharaoh’s Heart Hardened”), a topic close to the author’s own heart as the child of immigrants.

My Rating: 5/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher.

In November, I launched the Fantasy Café Patreon account. One of the reward tiers allows voting on blog content for the following month. The first of these polls took place in December, determining one book to be read and reviewed in January. The theme of the month was fantasy books at least 15 years old and the January book is…

The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip

The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip

Since the day her father’s fishing boat returned without him, Peri and her mother have mourned his loss. Her mother sinks into a deep depression and spends her days gazing out at the sea. Unable to control her anger and sadness any longer, Peri uses the small magic she knows to hex the sea. And suddenly into her drab life come the King’s sons—changelings with strange ties to the underwater kingdom—a young magician, and, finally, love.

I’ll be reading it next since I just finished reading Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night. In February, I’ll be announcing the book selected in this month’s poll, which is a book not published by one of the large publishers. If you’d like to vote on the February poll determining a book to be read and reviewed in March, there’s still time to sign up before the end of January!

Book Description from Goodreads:

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It’s time to learn the truth.

Seanan McGuire’s debut Rosemary and Rue was an intriguing start to the October Daye series, and it became one of my favorite urban fantasies after reading the first few installments: there’s darkness and difficult choices, but endearing characters and amusing narrative and dialogue keep it from becoming overwhelmingly gloomy. Although I do find it annoying that Toby often misses the obvious, this does fit her character since she’s not really the reflective type. She’s the type to jump into the action feet-first and do whatever it takes to make things right, and she’s admirable because of her determination and heart. The books in the series kept getting better and better, and I was hooked.

Although I still enjoy the series and plan to keep reading it, I did not think The Winter Long was as good as most of the earlier books (and I thought the previous book ended the streak of the books continuing to get better as well). It’s possible that my expectations for this particular volume were much too high since the book description promised that Toby would learn the truth about her past, and the acknowledgments discuss that events in this book have been planned since the very beginning. While it’s true there are a lot of revelations, none of them were as surprising as I’d been expecting nor did they change much for Toby as a character. They certainly tie into her past in earlier books and some of what is learned will probably be more important to her story in future books, but I thought the new knowledge gained in this book was a letdown compared to the revelations about Amandine and therefore Toby’s magic in Late Eclipses. It seemed like the first half of the book mostly consisted of Toby being upset about learning the truth about one situation, wandering around to check on everyone, and then searching for answers that are rather conveniently found by simply showing up in the right place at the right time.

Earlier books in the series could be dark with terrible, lasting consequences, and another issue I had with this book was how easily anything potentially bad was resolved, often as a result of Toby’s magic. It’s beginning to seem like a rather convenient way to reset everything back to normal like it never even happened, which is making it difficult for me to be concerned about the characters being in danger anymore. (At the same time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I were being intentionally lulled into a false sense of security before everything awful in the universe happens in a later book.)

Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as most of the other books in the series, The Winter Long is an entertaining book with some high points. Despite her abilities becoming a solution to so many potential problems, I did like reading about Toby’s magic and what she discovers she can do with it. Her relationships with the other characters are also great, and it’s fun to read the conversations she has with them. Also, some of the new information learned in this book is interesting even if it’s not quite as earth-shattering or compelling as I’d been hoping.

While a couple of momentous events happened, I didn’t feel like The Winter Long advanced the series very much. It had the amusing dialogue that I’ve come to expect from these books, but Toby and her friends did not evolve as characters and any major obstacles thrown at them were quickly resolved with only temporary costs. It’s possible more will be done with the new knowledge gained in this book in future installments, but there wasn’t much in this book that surprised me—and I didn’t feel like most of what was revealed changed anything other than making Toby more knowledgeable about what had happened in the past.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher/author.

My Reviews of Other Books in the October Daye Series:

  1. Rosemary and Rue
  2. A Local Habitation
  3. An Artificial Night
  4. Late Eclipses
  5. One Salt Sea
  6. Ashes of Honor
  7. Chimes at Midnight

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

A book I am very excited about reading showed up last week, but first, my favorite books of 2015 list went up last week in case you missed it.

Now, the book that showed up that sounds fantastic!

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis

Masks and Shadows will be released on April 12 (trade paperback, ebook). It sounds like a book I would enjoy and was on my recent 16 Most Anticipated Books of 2016 list.

 

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

Additional Books:

2015 was not the best year for me due to several factors, including but not limited to moving with very little notice (after having just moved to a new state 6 months before) and fun health issues that made it difficult for me to eat anything for most of the month of December (just in time for the holidays!). These types of things definitely impacted the amount of reading and reviewing I did last year. I read fewer books than usual during the year, and unfortunately, I haven’t yet read many of the 2015 releases I really wanted to read.

However, I have read some of those 2015 releases I really wanted to read as well as a few books published before then—certainly enough to have found excellent books that I want to highlight! My favorite books read in 2015 are below, divided by 2015 releases and books released prior to last year.

 

Favorite Books Released in 2015

Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb

1. Fool’s Quest (Fitz and the Fool #2) by Robin Hobb
My Review

Robin Hobb is a phenomenal writer who is particularly skilled at creating memorable characters. Her Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies are among my favorite fantasy series of all time, and I was thrilled to hear she was writing more about the main character from the first and third of those in this latest trilogy. I was impressed by how immersive Fool’s Assassin was, especially considering it largely seemed to be set up for the rest of the trilogy, and a lot more did indeed happen in Fool’s Quest than in the first volume. It was an immensely satisfying book as a longtime fan of the series, and even though it was a massive book, I did not want it to end. It’s easily my absolute favorite book read in 2015 regardless of publication year (which is quite a feat considering how much I loved some of the other books on this list!), and I can hardly wait for the next book.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My Review

Uprooted drew me in from the very first paragraph and kept me captivated until the last. It’s a fairy tale in which the main character, Agnieszka, must contend with the creepy Wood, an ill-tempered wizard, a crisis involving her dearest friend, and the discovery of her own magic. I particularly loved that Agnieszka herself is the driving force for change in this story. Much of her success is not just because of the great power she finds she has but because she is persistent and willing to think about and do things differently than others. I also very much enjoyed the emphasis on the friendship between her and Kasia and the romance (which was secondary to the friendship in this story).

Ash and Silver by Carol Berg

3. Ash and Silver (Sanctuary #2) by Carol Berg
(Not Yet Reviewed)

Technically, I finished this book four days after 2016 began but I’m including it anyway since it is a late 2015 release! Carol Berg is one of my favorite fantasy authors due to her tendency to write excellent books containing rich themes and characters—and this conclusion to the Sanctuary Duet certainly met these expectations. I particularly enjoyed its exploration of memory, identity, and personality, and of course, I also enjoyed finding out what happened to Lucian after the end of Dust and Light!

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

4. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K. Jemisin
(Not Yet Reviewed)

N. K. Jemisin’s novels keep ending up on my year-end favorites lists because she consistently writes amazing books. The Fifth Season has a lot in common with her other novels—it’s a smart, wonderfully written story set in a fascinating world with complex, thoughtfully designed societies—but it’s also very unique and very unlike any of her other novels I’ve read. Her compelling narratives are another reason I appreciate her work so very much, and that’s also excellently done in this novel.

Dark Ascension by M. L. Brennan

5. Dark Ascension (Generation V #4) by M. L. Brennan
My Review

The Generation V series is one of the best urban fantasy series I’ve read, and I enjoyed the fourth installment every bit as much as the previous ones. The vampire mythology is different, and M. L. Brennan doesn’t shy away from examining the darker (or stranger!) aspects of being a vampire as Fort learns more about what it means to be one. Most of all, I love reading about these characters and found Fort’s complicated relationship with his sister Prudence particularly fascinating to read.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

6. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman
My Review

Genevieve Cogman’s debut novel, which is about a woman who travels to alternate worlds collecting books for an organization existing outside of time and space, is a strong start to a new series and so much fun. Irene, the main protagonist, is an extremely competent Librarian Spy due to her ability to think and act quickly, and her practicality and sense of humor shine through her narrative voice.

The Best of Nancy Kress

7. The Best of Nancy Kress
My Review

This collection of 21 short stories, novelettes, and novellas selected by the author is impressive, and I’m in awe of her ability to pack so much into shorter fiction. Nancy Kress is fantastic with both concepts and characters, and even the most succinct stories contain more intriguing ideas and stronger characterization than many novels I’ve read. Her protagonists aren’t always completely likable people, but I thought they were compelling and real due to their complications and flaws.

 

Favorite Books Published Before 2015

Two of my three favorites are previous books in two of the series mentioned above (Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb and Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan) so I’m just going to highlight the one that’s not in one of those previously mentioned series.

Cagebird by Karin Lowachee

Cagebird (Warchild Universe #3) by Karin Lowachee
My Review

The Warchild series is excellent character-driven science fiction comprised of three interconnected tales that build on each other while telling completely separate stories from three different viewpoints. It is unflinchingly brutal in its focus on the effects of war on young people, and Yuri’s tale is the most horrific of the three as he’s quite candid about his more painful experiences (unlike Jos in Warchild). Although character is a large part of each book, I thought this one was more about the main protagonist than the other two as it delves into Yuri’s past and present—how he became trapped in his life and his attempts to free himself and find his own place in the universe. It was extremely difficult to put down and is one of my very favorite books I’ve read this year.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

It’s been a few weeks since I did one of these posts since I spent a lot of December dealing with some health issues. For now, they seem to be getting better so I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging.

I’ve tried to cover all the books that have come in since I last did one of these posts, but due to the number of books, there are a few in the additional books section that I would normally feature (the first 5, which are all books I received for Christmas and am quite interested in reading!). This post features 2 review copies, 1 Kickstarter book, and half of the books I received for Christmas (the last 5).

It has been quiet here between the health issues and the holidays, but I did put up one post last week: 16 Most Anticipated Books of 2016. I should be posting my favorite books of 2015 list this week, and I will probably be doing mini reviews of a lot of the books I’ve read but not yet reviewed as I try to get caught up.

On to the books of December!

Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda

Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda

This comic book, released in November, has gorgeous artwork! I’ve been excited about this one ever since seeing some of the art and reading an article in which Marjorie M. Liu discussed it.

 

Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow writer MARJORIE LIU returns to comics with artist SANA TAKEDA (X-23) for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. The adventure begins in a spectacular TRIPLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE, with SIXTY-SIX pages of story and no ads.

The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer

The Labyrinth of Flame (Shattered Sigil #3) by Courtney Schafer

Since there are so many books this time, I wasn’t going to discuss books I’ve already talked about here but I couldn’t resist including this one because I got my paperback copy from backing the Kickstarter and the trade paperback edition is lovely! The print edition isn’t yet available for purchase, although the ebook is. It’s signed and personalized and it’s a book to treasure forever!

 

Dev’s never been a man afraid of a challenge. Not only has he kept his vow to his dead mentor, rescuing a child in the face of impossible odds, but he’s freed his mage friend Kiran from both the sadistic master who seeks to enslave him and the foreign Council that wants to kill him.

But Kiran’s master Ruslan is planning a brutal revenge, one that will raze an entire country to blood and ashes. Kiran is the key to stopping Ruslan; yet Kiran is dying by inches, victim of the Alathian Council’s attempt to chain him. Worse yet, Dev and Kiran have drawn the attention of demons from the darkest of ancient legends. Demons whose power Dev knows is all too real, and that he has every reason to fear.

A fear that grows, as he and Kiran struggle to outmaneuver Ruslan and uncover the secrets locked in Kiran’s forgotten childhood. For the demons are playing their own deadly game – and the price of survival may be too terrible to bear.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

I enjoyed Alison Goodman’s Eon and LOVED the sequel Eona so I’m curious about her upcoming book, which will be available on January 26 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

 

New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells

The Wizard Hunters (The Fall of Ile-Rien #1) by Martha Wells

Since discovering the fantastic Books of the Raksura, I’ve wanted to read more by Martha Wells. I’ve heard that this book is a particularly good one and was glad to see the paperback was available again.

 

Ile-Rien is in peril. A mysterious army known only as the Gardier has surrounded the country, attacking in ominous black airships. Hope is not lost though, for a magical sphere created by Ile-Rien’s greatest sorcerer may hold the key to defeating the faceless enemy. But the sphere is unpredictable and has already claimed several lives. When a magical spell goes disastrously awry, young Tremaine Valiarde and a brave band are transported to another world. A world of rough magics, evil mages, honorable warriors — and a secret Gardier base.

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

This book is out of print (although there is an ebook edition) so I was thrilled that I got a copy for Christmas! Reading the new books set in the Realm of the Elderlings this year made me want to read everything Robin Hobb has ever written in this setting.

 

One of the darkest legends in the Realm of the Elderlings recounts the tale of the so-called Piebald Prince, a Witted pretender to the throne unseated by the actions of brave nobles so that the Farseer line could continue untainted. Now the truth behind the story is revealed through the account of Felicity, a low-born companion of the Princess Caution at Buckkeep.

With Felicity by her side, Caution grows into a headstrong Queen-in-Waiting. But when Caution gives birth to a bastard son who shares the piebald markings of his father s horse, Felicity is the one who raises him. And as the prince comes to power, political intrigue sparks dangerous whispers about the Wit that will change the kingdom forever…

The Madness Season by C. S. Friedman

The Madness Season by C. S. Friedman

C. S. Friedman is an excellent writer and I was quite happy to get a signed copy of this for Christmas!

 

For hundreds of years, Earth has suffered under the yoke of alien conquerors: the dreaded Tyr, a reptilian race in which all individuality is submerged into a single, overarching consciousness. Determined to keep humanity cowed, the Tyr have culled from the captive population the most intelligent, the most curious, the most likely to foment rebellion, and banished them from Earth. As the memory of freedom recedes, humanity sinks into a lethargic subservience. Daetrin, the hero of this tale, is a vampire–not a monster, however, but a man, nearly immortal, who embodies the vanished virtues of a once-sovereign Earth. When his existence is exposed by the Tyr, who are appalled to find a human who witnessed the Conquest, they immediately ship him offworld. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery as Daetrin is forced by adversity to come to grips with the long-suppressed side of his nature and to confront the ancient horror of a bloody heritage.

Ad Eternum by Elizabeth Bear

Ad Eternum (New Amsterdam #4) by Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear is one of my favorite authors so a signed copy of this limited edition was an excellent Christmas gift.

 

For centuries, the wampyr has drifted from one place to another. From one life to another. It’s 1962, and he’s returned to New Amsterdam for the first time since he fled it on pain of death some sixty years before. On the eve of social revolution, on the cusp of a new way of life, he’s nevertheless surrounded by inescapable reminders of who he used to be.

For a thousand years, he’s chosen to change rather than to die. Now, at last, he faces a different future….

Castle Waiting: Volume 1 by Linda Medley

Castle Waiting: Volume 1 by Linda Medley

During this year’s Women in SF&F Month, Memory from In the Forest of Stories discussed some SFF comics by women, including this one. It immediately went on my wish list.

 

This (wildly popular) graphic novel, a feminist fairy tale, is now in paperback.

Castle Waiting is the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, it is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil ― but about being a hero in your own home. The opening chapter tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun. Linda Medley lavishly illustrates Castle Waiting in a classic visual style reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson. Blending elements from a variety of sources ― fairy tales, folklore, nursery rhymes ― Medley tells the story of the everyday lives of fantastic characters with humor, intelligence, and insight into human nature.Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, especially young girls.

Additional Books: