On The Shelf: Lose yourself in new adult fantasy books
Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 20, 2023
This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.
This week we are featuring fantasy titles from our New Young Adult Collection.
“Wildblood” is by Lauren Blackwood. Victoria was kidnapped at the age of six, manipulated, and conditioned by the Exotic Lands Touring Company. Now eighteen, she and her fellow Wildbloods use magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle full of ghostly monsters. When she is denied a promotion to team leader in favor of her backstabbing ex, Dean, she doubles her efforts to prove herself. Though Victoria is the most powerful member of the team, she’s not the image the boss wants to project to their new client. Thorn is a renowned gold miner who is determined to reach untouched gold veins deep in the jungle. He decides to entrust the mission to Victoria and their mutual connection eventually turns to love. The jungle is a treacherous place, however, and the two lovers will have to navigate hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and Victoria’s vengeful ex. Ultimately, Victoria will have to decide if a promotion at a corrupt company is what she really wants.
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“House of Salt and Sorrows” by Erin A. Craig tells the story of 12 sisters who live in a manor by the sea and are cursed. Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once, there were 12 sisters, but four tragically lost their lives. Each death was more tragic than the last — the plague, a horrific fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge — and the people of the surrounding villages whisper that the family is cursed by the gods. Annaleigh grows more and more suspicious that her sisters’ deaths were not just tragic accidents after having a series of ghostly visions. The sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls wearing silk gowns and shimmering slippers. Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try and stop them or join in their forbidden antics. Who or what are the sisters really dancing with? Annaleigh becomes involved with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own. She will have to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family — before the curse claims her.
The latest by Melissa De La Cruz is titled “Snow & Poison.” Lady Sophie — known as Snow White — has led a sheltered life in the mountains of Bavaria. But her widowed father Duke Maximilian has decided to remarry, and on the day of this historic wedding, Sophie is making her societal debut. At the ball, she charms the handsome Prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne, but as the two young people fall in love, Philip’s father the king, loses his temper because he wants his son to marry a princess. So, the king commands Sophie’s death and she must flee to the home of seven orphans and seek the counsel of a witch. With the looming threat of war upon her duchy, Sophie asks herself: Can she do right by her home and honor her heart’s desire as well?
In “The Library of Broken Worlds” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, a girl matches wits with a war god. In the winding underground tunnels of the Library — the great peacekeeper of the three systems — a horrific secret lies buried. As the daughter of a Library god, Freida has spent her whole life exploring the Library’s constantly changing passages and conversing with the gods. Her unusual access makes her both unique and dangerous. When Freida meets Joshua, a Tierran boy on a mission to save his people, and Nergui, a disciple from a persecuted religious minority, Freida feels compelled to help them. To do so, she must venture deeper into the Library than she has ever gone. She will discover the barbarity of the past, the truth about her origins, and the possibilities of her future. Freida’s journey will pit her against an ancient war god who she must destroy before he can rain hellfire upon thousands of innocent lives.
Tehlor Kay Mejia delivers a gripping fantasy in her novel “Lucha of the Night Forest.” Lucha is a girl who will do anything to protect her sister, even if she must strike a dangerous bargain. Dark forces, forgotten magic, and a little romance will befall Lucha along the way. She encounters a scorned god, a mysterious acolyte, a forgetting drug, and of course a dangerous forest on her journey. Lucha seems to be caught between the freedom she has longed for and a sister she can’t bear to leave behind. To succeed, Lucha will need to embrace her own power, or she will be consumed by it.
“Six of Crows” is the first of a series by Leigh Bardugo. Ketterdam is a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price. No one knows this better than young criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a deadly heist job that could bring him wealth beyond his wildest dreams, but he won’t be able to pull off this job on his own. His team consists of a convict hellbent on revenge, a sharpshooter with a gambling problem, a runaway who has a privileged past, a spy known only as the Wraith, a heartrender who uses her magic to survive the slums, and a thief with a knack for slippery escapes. These six outcasts are embarking on one impossible mission. But Kaz’s crew is the only thing that could stand between the world and its destruction — if they don’t kill one another first.
Finally, we have “A Crown of Ivy and Glass” by Claire Legrand. Lady Gemma Ashbourne seems to have it all — youth, beauty and wealth. Her family has been anointed by the gods and blessed with incredible abilities. Underneath her glittering façade, however, Gemma is deeply sad and lonely. Years ago, her sister Mara was taken to the Middlemist to guard against dangerous magic. Her mother abandoned the family, and her father and eldest sister, Farrin are fighting a deadly blood feud with the mysterious Bask family. They often forget that Gemma exists. Worst of all, she is the only Ashbourne who does not possess any magic — instead her body fights it like a poison. Her loneliness is abated when she meets the handsome Talan d’Astier who is on a mission to restore his family’s honor. The two strike a deal: she’ll help him navigate high society, if he’ll help her destroy the Basks. Together they set out to slay the demon that is behind the families’ blood feud, but things begin to spiral out of control and Gemma will either fall victim to her own passions or learn the full strength of her power at last.