THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY
The Winternight Trilogy, which includes The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch, is one of those rare beasts where each installment is as glorious as the last.
The story revolves around Vasilisa, or Vasya, who is born as the youngest child of a lord in Russia during a time when the old traditions of honoring the spirits have begun to fade in favor of Christianity. Yet, she is one who can still see the spirits, who understands the need to continue offerings to them in order to retain their protection and support in times of strife.
The Bear and the Nightingale is told in a beautiful, sedate style, traveling through Vasya’s youth, her encounters with the spirits and her struggles with a newly-come priest who begins to hear a voice that he thinks of as the voice of God. She is also introduced to Morozko, the demon of Frost and Death, who has unknown goals of his own for interacting with her, and threatened by the coming of the Bear, another of the great demon spirits who thrives in chaos and life. Continue reading
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Tagged book, fantasy, fiction, historical, historical fiction, katherine arden, mythology, novel, reading, russia, slavic, trilogy
THE KINGDOM OF BACK
This is the story of the other Mozart, the sister of the famed musician who was a talented and impressive musician herself.
Nannerl Mozart, desiring to be remembered and not to fall into the heavy shadow of her younger brother, seeks out that chance within a parallel fantasy world that the two of them call the Kingdom of Back, a fairy-tale-like place of dreams and music with a young man there who needs their help to take back his world. And who, in return, would grant Nannerl’s wish.
The story spans Nannerl and Wolfgang’s childhood, their tour across the European landscape in order to perform for the higher classes, and Nannerl’s realization of both her father and the public’s disinterest in her over her brother. This is contrasted with her being the focal within the Kingdom of Back, where she must perform tasks in order to achieve her dreams.
But those dreams will come at a cost, and the further Nannerl goes along this path, the more she questions what she sees and what she’s been told and even what she truly desires above all else.
This story has a clear feminist bent, shedding some attention and light on the amazing and talented historical women who are often forgotten, shadowed by their male counterparts. I recommend this book to anyone, especially young women, who have questioned their own dreams at some point, weighing the costs, but also, to those who feel as if they are the ones who have stood in the shadows behind someone else, despite being just as talented or skilled. And, of course, for those who adore music in their fiction and all the ways that music can stir the soul.
WEAVE THE LIGHTNING
by Corry L. Lee
This debut novel weaves together political intrigue and a circus with an interesting magical element. The characters in this story see double, literally, for in order to access the power to enhance items in their world, they must allow themselves to be immersed into the power of the storms that help draw out an intensity in their emotions. It’s a power that is illegal to use unless one is part of the government’s military, allowing them to be controlled and used.
Celka is a performer in the high wire act in a traveling circus along with the rest of her family, all of whom are also part of a resistance. On the other side is Gerrit, a young man trained within a specialized branch of the military and expected to produce enhanced weapons as part of his duty. But there are costs to enhancing, dire ones that may destroy him and all those who’ve trained beside him. The two of them come together in a meeting that might help them both or lead to their destruction.
There’s romance, betrayal, and secrets all at the core of this resistance novel. With a Russian backdrop and a brand-new set of magical rules, this is a fun story hiding much more sinister issues under its big top.