I just read this post by Kameron Hurley on the gruesome truth of publishing numbers.
So it’s time for some book recs!
Hild: A Novel, by Nicola Griffith.
This is the detailed historical fiction of my dreams. If what you want is a close look at Anglo-Saxon life in the 600s CE, this is the book for you. It does slow a bit, pacing-wise, in the middle third, and I know a few folks have stalled out at that point. But the end picks back up. One note — the book ends with Hild still in her late teens, and we are nowhere NEAR her becoming abbess of anything! So much more of Hild’s life to read about, should Ms. Griffith continue writing about her …
Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell.
While set in his Fallen London universe, this novella requires no prior knowledge or reading. In fact, I consider this to be a great lure to get folks to read the other novels! What I particularly loved are the protagonists. It’s not often that we get to see women past the age of twenty-five in urban fantasy or crime fiction, and I found it DELIGHTFUL. The older I get, the more I enjoy reading about crones. Makes me so pleased!
A Red-Rose Chain, by Seanan McGuire.
It’s hard to rec the umpteenth book in a series. Readers of the series probably already have it, and new readers are going be like, “um, how many do I have to read? Really?” But this is a great place to jump in. It’s very embedded in the world of October Daye, yes. But the adventure is a solid one, the plot straightforward. If you can pick up an ongoing comic book, you can read this novel.
Here’s my specific recommendation — if you read the first couple Toby books and fell away from them, jump back in HERE. Grab A Red-Rose Chain and get re-acquainted. Toby has really grown, her life has changed. She has acknowledged a number of things she was denying before, she has learned a lot. So have her various allies. This, this is how you Level Up an urban fantasy series.
Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon.
Oh, this book is a delight. More to the point, it takes a long, hard look at adolescent relationships. Not romantic relationships, but friends and family. So much of our fiction provides maps for romance, and so little gives us ideas and options for handling the difficulties of friends. And, yet, we are all far more likely to have friends in our teens than romantics partners. How does one learn to recognize when a friend isn’t very good? How can one make mistakes, apologize, and learn to do better? This book addresses those concerns.
Probably the best thing *I* enjoyed, though, is the sheer bloody-minded practicality of the protagonist. I LOVE that about Urusla’s characters. Love. It. I love how PRACTICAL they all are. Just … Yes. This is fiction that makes me giggle with delight.
Also, I like the gardening.
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