Nita Basu is a Publicity Assistant for Berkley/NAL; namely for Ace, Roc, and DAW. You can find out more about her thoughts on books, Doctor Who, video games, and cats on Twitter @nita_basu.
There are many well-written and entertaining books that tackle the age-old story of Beauty and the Beast. But not many incorporate 12th Century Irish history with a touch of gothic mystery. An 18-year old scribe, Caitrin fled to Whistling Tor with no money or prospects where she meets Anluan, the disfigured chieftain. Caitrin helps Anluan overcome his debilitating despair and apathy to finally step up and deal with the Anglo-Norman invasion that is a prevalent threat in the book. If you like Gothic romances, fairy tale fantasy, or just riveting historical fiction novels, you definitely have to check out Heart’s Blood.
You can’t talk about fantasy epics without mentioning Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. The once-legendary hero Kvothe is now living incognito as a small-town tavern keeper when Chronicler, a travelling scribe, happens upon his inn. After agreeing to dictate his story over the course of three days, Kvothe takes us on a journey beginning with his humble upbringing as a child of the Edema Ruh, a traveling troupe of performers, and his struggle to find his way to the University to learn more about magic. Name of the Wind is just day one of Kvothe’s sweeping autobiography, and will grab your attention and wonder from the first page.
Immortal Muse is a brilliant historical fantasy that follows the French alchemist Nicolas Flamel, and his wife, Perenelle. After discovering the elixir to bestow immortal life, the two become locked in war with one another; while Perenelle feeds off of the creativity of the most successful artists and musicians of all time, Nicolas thrives on the suffering of others. The book features fictionalized versions of real historical figures, like Klimt, Vivaldi, and Robespierre, and skillfully immerses the reader into each era. Besides being a terrific story, it’s also a thoughtful way to view some of the most influential historical events in human history.
What if when the Europeans came to the Americas for the first time, they didn’t encounter the Native Americans, but instead they come across the terra indigene, creatures that are almost as old as the world they live in? Creatures like shapeshifters, and vampires that see humans as just another “kind of meat”? This is the alternate North America that Anne Bishop creates as readers are introduced to Meg Corbyn, a human and blood prophet, who escapes her life in servitude to go seek asylum in the Lakeside Courtyard, a district run by the terra indigene where human does not apply. Written in Red features compelling and intricate worldbuilding, and the readers will be fascinated by the complex relationships and politics between humans and the different types of terra indigene. If you love dark fantasy or alternative history, you can’t go wrong with the first in Bishop’s Others series.
Werewolves, vampires, and ghosts are all well and good, but Keri Arthur features a relatively unexplored supernatural being—the phoenix. In Fireborn, phoenixes have three forms: human, bird, and pure flame, and also go through a “rebirth” every hundred years. It’s not all fun and games though, as an age-old curse makes true love with another phoenix utterly impossible. The book also involves fire fae and a new take on vampires. If you’re looking for a sexy, urban fantasy with an innovative and fun twist on supernatural lore, look no further!
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