Wyrd & Wonder 2021: wrap-up

Thank you Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story. for hosting Wyrd & Wonder again this year!

I had a great reading month. Because of my vacation during the first two weeks of May I managed to read all books from my TBR! You can read my spoiler-free mini-review of each book from The Bone Witch trilogy below. I also shared my thoughts about each story from the amazing anthology Dragon Bike.

Mini-reviews

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1) by Rin Chupecoreread
In four words: necromantic, detailed, fascinating, slow-paced
What I liked: The world in this book is very well-written. I wish I was able to visit it! The many details and vivid descriptions made it feel real. The same can be said about the characters. Our narrator is Tea (pronounced as Tey-uh). There are two story lines. We get snippets of an older Tea who is exiled. Most of the book contains the story she tells a bard about her life. Tea starts out as a young girl who accidentally raises her brother from his grave. After that she has to leave her home to start her training to learn to control her magic. We slowly find out more about the world and the magic system. Especially interesting are the heart glasses people wear around their neck. The colour can change based on how people feel.
What I disliked: The pacing could be better. I think the writer sometimes pays too much attention to the clothing and the food. This slows down the story. I did get used to the pacing. So the more I read in the book, the fewer it bothered me.
Trigger warning for death

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch, #2) by Rin Chupeco 4 stars
In four words: intriguing, elaborated, dark fantasy
What I liked: This sequel continues where the first part ended. So it didn’t take long before I again felt totally immersed in the story. We keep switching between past and present events. It’s interesting to see how much Tea changed. For me, one of the most fascinating things about this trilogy is to slowly discover what happened. I also liked to see some side characters getting a bigger role. It was especially nice to read more about Khalad, the Heartforger’s apprentice and about Likh.
What I disliked: Due to the two story lines, there are multiple plots and subplots. It was sometimes hard to keep up with everything that happens in the book. I also thought that some (sub)plots were more interesting than others.
Trigger warnings for death, graphic violence and loss of loved ones

The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch, #3) by Rin Chupeco 4 stars
In four words: complex, satisfying, bittersweet conclusion
What I liked: It was interesting to see everything slowly coming together. For a long time I didn’t know what ending I could expect. As readers we are kept in the dark for quite long. Only in the last fifty pages we get to understand everything. The ending was bittersweet, but it fitted the story. I’m glad the book also has some romance and funny moments. Otherwise this would have been a dark and depressing story.
What I disliked: If I had to, I would have a very hard time summarizing the books from The Bone Witch trilogy. Especially in this last part, a lot happens and there are many people involved. At some points it felt like too much. I think I would have loved this trilogy even more if the plot was less complex.
Trigger warnings for death, war, graphic violence, gore and loss of loved ones

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, & Dragons by Elly Blue (editor) 4 stars
This is an anthology with fifteen short stories that each have at least one bicycle and a dragon. My two favourites are Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon and Slow Burn, Steady Flame. I also liked most of the others. Here are my thoughts about the stories:
Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon by Jennifer Lee Rossman: This amazing story made me smile! It’s about the joy of wondering in a world with barely anything new to discover. I really admired the world the writer managed to create in just a few pages.
Witchcanix by M. Lopes da Silva: I liked the scientific approach of this fantasy story. But just when it got interesting, the story suddenly ended.
The Sound of Home by Monique Cuillerier: Even though the first half of this story was a bit confusing, I enjoyed it. I liked the idea that home can mean a very different place to each person.
What Is a Girl Without a Dragon? by Gretchen Lair: This story made me think of White Oleander. But the tone of this one is more light-hearted. I like that I came to care about the main character in just a few pages.
The Mothers of Pequeño Lago by Kate Macdonald: This is quite an exciting story in which the dragons aren’t friendly. It’s a pity that the ending is a bit rushed.
Bootleg by Alice Pow: I found this story a bit boring. A character creating their own bike could be interesting, but the story wasn’t.
The Dragon’s Lake by Sarena Ulibarri: A nice twist to a classic dragon story. It wasn’t as original as the others, but an enjoyable story.
Storing Treasures by Paul Abbamondi: This is a really cute comic!
‘Til We Meet Again by Joyce Chng: I enjoyed reading about this alternative dragon race. Especially interesting is the idea that dragon racing is not just a sport, but an important cultural tradition.
Beasts of Bataranam by Taru Luojola: I didn’t expect to find this story in the anthology. Unlike the others it’s historical fiction. This story about slaves on a plantation is quite sad, but ends on a hopeful note.
Wyvern by Phil Cowhig: This is a mysterious sci-fi story that slowly unfolds itself. I liked the story, but it was left too open ended for my tastes.
Slow Burn, Steady Flame by J. Rohr: I loved the character arc in this story! It was amazing to see Eleanora taking control over her own life. This was a good story on it’s own, but I would love to read more about her.
Round by J.A. Sabangan: I really enjoyed this heart-warming feel-good story about being yourself.
Bicycle Art by C.G. Beckman: This story reads like a modern fairy-tale. It was enjoyable, but not really “my cup of tea”.
Simple Treasure by J.A. Gross: The idea is interesting, but this story is too short to fully develop it.

Wyrd & Wonder blog posts I liked

Just like every year, I loved to read the fantasy-themed posts on other blogs. The ones I liked the most:
– Sahi @ My World of Books recommended fantasy books with inspiration from around the world
– The bloggers @ The Fantasy Hive made a recommendation post on fantasy voices from around the world
– Line @ First Line Reader shared her favourite historical fantasy books
Siavahda @ Every Book a Doorway made multiple posts for Wyrd & Wonder I love to read, but my favourite is the one where she recommends fantasy standalones
Jess @ Jessticulates discussed the TIME 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time and shared her list with novels that are missing

What happened on my blog

Including the one you’re currently reading, I published six posts for Wyrd & Wonder:
Wyrd & Wonder 2021: TBR
Fantasy from Around The World
Fantasy Voices from Around the World
Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation
Who Should Win the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

Who Should Win the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

This is a fantasy-themed post as part of Wyrd & Wonder. If you want to know more, click here!

I discovered short stories through podcasts. Especially LeVar Burton Reads made me fall in love with short stories. So I loved the idea to read all the Short Story Finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards. I was inspired by this post from Jess @ Jessticulates. Here are the nominated stories and my thoughts about them:

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse by Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
As you may expect from a zombie story, this was really exciting. The writer has chosen quite an unusual perspective: our narrator is about to give birth. It’s a great story on its own, but this would also be a good first chapter of a book. I’d love to read more about these characters and the apocalypse world they live in!

A Guide for Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan, available from Solaris & Tor.com)
I like stories with a unique formatting. So I appreciated that this story is written as a chat conversation between two robots. It’s supposed to be a funny story, but I actually found it a bit boring. I didn’t care about the characters and the plot also didn’t really interest me. Not because this is a bad story; it just didn’t work for me.

Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
I was immediately drawn to this story, because I love Little Free Libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a fantasy story (I totally forgot that the Hugo Award are only given to fantasy and sci-fi stories…) So the fantasy element took me by surprise. I enjoyed reading this story, but I do think it’s left too open-ended. It felt unfinished. The ending left me with so many questions!

The Mermaid Astronaut by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
This is a beautifully written adventure story. The writer was clearly inspired by The Little Mermaid. I never really liked that fairy tale, but I did enjoy reading this story. I especially liked how mermaids, magic and space travelling are all packed in one story. Fantasy and science fiction are perfectly combined.

Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
The main characters of this space story are two robots. Although this is quite common in science fiction, it felt weird that there are so few humans. The robots were likable and interesting. I like the idea that they were able to deliberately change their body as well as their “mind”. This was a good story, but it wasn’t really my thing.

Open House on Haunted Hill by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)
This story is told from a unique perspective. The plot and most of the characters aren’t especially noteworthy. It’s the unusual narrator that makes this a remarkable story.

So which short story is the best? Every story has something I like. So I believe all of them would deserve the Hugo Award. My favourites are Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse and The Mermaid Astronaut. If I had to pick one, I would choose The Mermaid Astronaut as best short story. I think Yoon Ha Lee very successfully combined two elements you wouldn’t expect in one story.

Image credits: I used stock images from Pixabay

Wyrd & Wonder: Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation

Because I am from the Netherlands, I read many books in Dutch. If English is the original language I do choose an English edition. But sometimes a library book isn’t available in English. Then I don’t have a problem with a translated version. I also speak some Spanish and a bit of German, but not good enough to truly enjoy a book in those languages. Especially as child I read a lot of fantasy in translation. So for today’s Wyrd & Wonder prompt I listed five children’s and YA fantasy books that are originally not in English:

The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt (Dutch)
Tonke Dragt is a famous writer in the Netherlands. As child I read many of her books. The Letter for the King was my favourite and is most well-known. It’s an adventurous book about a young boy who has to spend the night silently in a chapel to become a knight the next day. But while waiting, someone knocks at the door and asks for help. I like that the book is translated, so more people can enjoy it. But I never read the translation myself. I like to stick to the original Dutch edition.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (German)
As child this was also one of my favourite books. I still like to reread the story. It’s about Bastian and a strange book set in Fantastica. This world needs a human to save it. While reading Bastian is able to go into the book. He not only becomes part of the story, but is also able to shape it with his imagination.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (German)
Another amazing children’s book by a German writer, and another book about books. I loved to read about a girl who is a bookworm like me. I also liked that each chapter starts with a bookish quote. Inkheart is the first part of a trilogy, but the other parts aren’t as good as the first book. By the way, the cover of the German edition is beautiful!

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende (Spanish)
The Dutch edition of this book was in my parent’s bookcase. For some reason the title of the book really appealed to me as child. I also loved the story. It’s about an adventurous grandmother who takes her son on an expedition to the Amazon. When I was older, I read more books written by Isabel Allende. City of the Beasts is still the one I enjoyed the most.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Norwegian)
I read this book when I was sixteen years old. The story explores philosophical questions and really got me thinking. It was basically an introduction in philosophy for me. I assumed that the original language of this book was English. Until I went looking for books I could use for this blog post, I didn’t realize the writer is actually Norwegian.

If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

Wyrd & Wonder: Fantasy Voices from Around the World

Last week I focused on the setting of books. With the Wyrd & Wonder prompt of this Friday we are going to look at authors from around the world. The books in this post are set in imaginary countries. But the authors who created them often drew inspiration from the place they were born or live in.

I divided this post in two parts: books I read and books I still want to read. Let’s start with three books I would recommend:

Philippines: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
I reread this book last week and I’m currently reading the sequel, The Heart Forger. At the end of the month I will post my thoughts about the books. But I will already share something about this trilogy. It’s not directly based on a certain country. But the asha, a kind of witches, are inspired by Japanese geisha. The main character of the story is a Dark Asha. She is able to raise the dead. Later she also learns to control undead beasts. On Goodreads, Rin Chupeco mentions that the dark asha are reminiscent of the Filipino mangkukulam.

India: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
This beautiful story is set in Shalingar, an magical kingdom with its own history and mythology. I loved how Indian folklore and historical references are woven into the story. For example, two mythical creatures from Hindu mythology, a vetala and a makara, play a role.

China: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
This is a military fantasy set in a fantasy world, but strongly inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War. That war was a very bloody and dark part of modern Chinese history. So the book also deals with dark topics like torture, rape and genocide. It’s an impressive story that really shows what becomes of characters when they have to fight in a horrific war. The Poppy War is the first part of a trilogy, but I haven’t read the other two books yet.

I also like to share three books that are on my TBR:

Puerto Rico: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
A book described as “How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch through the Ages” makes me curious!

Singapore: The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang (formerly J. Y. Yang)
This novella caught my attention because of the setting. In the Asian-inspired world children are born without a gender until they choose one. The writer is also non-binary.

Sierra Leone: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
According to reviews this is a feminist and empowering high fantasy. The book has a West African-inspired setting, but isn’t based on a particular country. I also read there’s an interesting magic system!

If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

Wyrd & Wonder: Fantasy from Around The World

With today’s Wyrd & Wonder prompt we will travel around the world in fantasy books.

This is a recurring theme on my blog. I love the idea to see the world through books! My ambitious goal is to read a fantasy or science-fiction book for every country in the world. To make it even more challenging, I try to find books written by authors of the same cultural heritage as the setting. The idea originally came from Annemieke @ A Dance With Books. She has named it the SFF Countries project. Read more about it on this page on my blog.

Now let’s start our journey!

Russia: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The first country we visit is still partly in Europe. Here we find a YA historical fantasy set in a small Russian village in medieval times. The story has an amazing, enchanting atmosphere. I also loved that the writer used Rusian folklore elements in the story.

Malaysia: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
The newest addition to my SFF Countries Project; I read this book last month. It has the perfect balance between historical fiction and fantasy. The story is set in 1893 in Malaya (the historic name of Malaysia before independence). Many historical details are interwoven in the story. It also gives an interesting insight in the Chinese afterlife.

Nigeria: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Our next destination is in Africa. This YA book is set in contemporary Nigeria. When the main character learns that she is a Leopard, she discovers a secret magical society. The magic system is inspired by Nigerian folklore. I also loved the idea that someone’s weakness becomes their greatest magical power.

Mexico: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
We move on to Latin America. This historical fantasy book is inspired by Maya mythology, but set in the 1920s. So we get an interesting mix of ancient gods and demons in automobiles and fancy hotels. The book combines amazing world-building with a couple of well-written characters.

Bolivia: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
This book is actually set in the imaginative country Inkasisa. However, Inkasisa as well as the plot are based on Bolivian history and politics. That’s why this book deserves a place on this list. The story has an amazing magic system. Some characters are gifted with a kind of magic that comes from the night sky.

My list isn’t very long yet. A couple of books are still on my TBR:
– Congo: Everfair by Nisi Shawl
– Nigeria: David Mogo Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
– Pakistan: Fire Boy by Sami Shah

I would also love recommendations. Do you know another good fantasy book from around the world? Tell me in the comments! And if want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

Wyrd & Wonder 2021: TBR

This will be my third year of Wyrd & Wonder! During May I’m going to celebrate all things fantasy: from book and movies to podcasts. Wyrd & Wonder is a challenge hosted by Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story.

There’s a list of prompts we can use. I especially like that we are challenged to focus on fantasy from around the world! You can definitively expect a post from me about fantasy inspired by non-European cultures. I also have some reading goals. Here are the books I hope to read:

The Bone Witch trilogy by Rin Chupeco
I read the first part two years ago. In my opinion the pacing was a bit too slow, but the world building was amazing. Wyrd & Wonder seemed a good opportunity to continue the trilogy. I already have The Heart Forger at home. If I like it I will also buy The Shadowglass.

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, & Dragons edited by Elly Blue
Bikes in Space is a short story collection about feminism and bicycles. The idea to combine these things in a story is really creative and original. So I was immediately curious when I heard about the Bike in Spaces series! Most books in the series are science fiction, but the book I’m going to read this month is of course fantasy.

Wyrd & Wonder 2020: Wrap-up

Thank you Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story for organizing Wyrd & Wonder! Bloggers wrote amazing fantasy-themed posts. I like to highlight a couple of them. On The Bookwyrm’s Den I found this fun list with Fantasy World Elements We Need in the Real World. I can’t agree more! Jessticulates wrote an interesting post about the lack of centaurs in fantasy books. And Annemieke from A Dance with Books discussed The Norm of Gender Constructs in Fantasy.

What happened on my blog during Wyrd & Wonder:
Wyrd & Wonder 2020: TBR
Fantasy Bucket List Book Tag
5 fantasy books in five words
Three myths and legends I love
Five reasons why I love the Strange the Dreamer duology
Top four fantasy stand-alones

And of course I read fantasy in May. Here are my thoughts about the books I read.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found - Moïra Fowley-DoyleSpellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle4 stars
What connects the characters in this book is the fact that they all lost something. First Olive and Rose only lose small things, but soon it’s clear that Rose lost something bigger. Then they meet three mysterious strangers who seem to be a little lost themselves. When they find an ancient spellbook, it may be their chance to set everything right. During the whole story the characters, and also me as reader, are wondering: Is the magic of the spellbook real? The story really is an interesting mix of contemporary and fantasy with a touch of mystery. Almost all characters seem to have their secrets. The beautiful, lyrical writing style also really helped to create a mysterious, uncanny atmosphere. First the big cast of characters was a bit confusing, but everyone adds something and is necessary to tell the story. It was very interesting to read how the theme of loss is thoroughly explored. I loved that it even can be found in the details: each chapter starts with a list of things that were lost or found.

Shadow of Night - Deborah HarknessShadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness3 stars
No spoilers for A Discovery of Witches
Last month I loved to reread A Discovery of Witches. I was looking forward to finally reading the sequel. Sadly Shadow of Night disappointed me. Most of the story is set in the sixteenth century. Again it’s clear that the writer is a passionate historian who put a lot of research into the book. But I have the feeling she got a bit carried away. I did like to meet the many historical figures. And the book does give a vivid image of the sixteenth century. Yet, there were so many descriptions of clothes, the outside and the inside of buildings and all objects found there. It was too much. The detailed descriptions would have been very interesting if the writer wouldn’t have overdone them. A lot of characters and things that happen are not even important for the plot. The book is quite long (more than 500 pages), but plot wise few happens in this story. At some points I thought about DNF’ing the book. I kept reading, because there were still parts I enjoyed (especially the second part and when we meet a certain character near the end of the book). I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next book. I’d like to finish the trilogy, but I’m afraid that the last part will also disappoint me.

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylorreread
Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor Muse of Nightmares - Laini Taylor
It was amazing to re-visit these books! I dedicated a whole post to this duology with reasons why I love it. But I would like to add the way in which Laini Taylor explores different themes, especially dreams and hate. I also love the fact that there are some “easter eggs” for readers of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. And the ending of the story is absolutely perfect!

A non-fantasy book I read this month:

The Moon Sister - Lucinda RileyThe Moon Sister (The Seven Sisters, #5)  by Lucinda Riley4 stars
I waited months to get this book from the library. So I really wanted to read it this month, even though it’s not fantasy. This part tells the story of Tiggy. I immediately liked her, she is kind and has a strong intuition. At the start of the books she gets a new job as a wildlife consultant on an isolated estate. There Tiggy meets Chilly, a Spanish gitano (also known as a gypsy). He tells her that it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home. At the same time we read about the Spanish Lucía living in the twentieth century. She is born as a poor gitano, but with an unprecedented talent for dancing. Lucía isn’t a very likable characters, but I did admire her ambition. It was also interesting to read about the culture and history of the gitanos. Just like the other books in the series, the characters are well-written and I enjoyed reading the story.

Top four fantasy stand-alones

Today’s Wyrd and Wonder theme is mic drop, we are encouraged to talk about stand-alones or books you wish didn’t have a sequel. Most fantasy books are part of series. It’s great to be able to read more about well-loved characters when I have finished a good book. But I also love it when the whole story is wrapped up in one book. The advantage of a standalone is that you get one story from beginning to end. No disappointed sequels or waiting for the next book! Here are some fantasy stand-alones I loved to read.

Top four fantasy stand-alones

1. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
This is a childhood favourite and a book I still love to re-visit. It’s about a boy named Bastian and a strange book set in Fantastica. This world needs a human to save it. While reading Bastian is able to go into the book. He not only becomes part of the story, but is also able to shape it with his imagination. That’s probably a dream of many bookworms!

2. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This book is a wonderful historical fantasy. In 1920s Mexico Casiopea is forced to work for her grandfather and cousin. She desperately wishes to go away and have her own life. It’s seems impossible, until she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. By opening it Casiopea accidentally frees the Mayan god of death. This is the start of a journey through Mexico, but with deamons and magic.

3. Circe by Madeline Miller
This is a retelling about the witch Circe from Greek mythology. She is a strong, interesting and complex woman. I loved that the focus is entirely on the character development of Circe. The story is also beautifully told. I have a basic knowledge of Greek mythology, and I am not particularly familair with it, but it was interesting to learn more about the Greek myths with this book!

4. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
This book explores the theme of loss. It’s about characters losing small and big things and characters who seem to be a little lost themselves. When they find an ancient spellbook, it may be a chance to get everything back. I loved how the beautiful writing style in this story helps to create a mysterious atmosphere in which we are never sure if the magic is real or not…

What is your favourite fantasy stand-alone? Tell me in the comments!

Five reasons why I love the Strange the Dreamer duology

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme managed by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s theme is ‘Reasons why I love [insert your favourite book title, genre, author, etc. here]’. I immediatelly thought about Laini Taylor. She is my favourite writer since I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy six years ago. I loved the Strange the Dreamer duology even more when I read them a few years later. I regularly write about her books on my blog. But I never dedicated a whole post to them. Since these are fantasy books, Wyrd & Wonder seems the perfect moment for this post. So here I am talking about my all-time favourites and why I love them!

Indigo - Strange the Dreamer Muse of Nightmares - Laini Taylor

1. The beautiful writing style

Laini Taylor’s writing style is wonderfully poetic and dreamy, but it never slows down the story.  She manages to perfectly capture feelings of despair, loss and happiness. And there is also some humour. I really admire the way she writes.

2. Lazlo

The main character of this duology is a soft-hearted, dreamy, but determined librarian. I loved him from the first page! Lazlo is obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep. He read every book that mentioned it. His biggest dream is to go there himself. I really enjoyed reading how his character develops throughout the story.

3. Muse of Nightmares is just as good as the first part

When a book is really good, I often have high expectations for the sequel. Often the second book doesn’t meet my expectations or simply disappoints me. Yet, Muse of Nightmares was possibly even better than Strange the Dreamer! The story continues where the first book ended and many things are clarified. The second book is crucial for the story. Only after reading it, I truly realized how brilliant the story is.

4. The amazing side characters

Every character in this duology feels real, because they all have their own story. Most of them also go through some character development. I especially loved how Laini Taylor wrote the “villains.” No evil for the sake of evil in this story. I actually don’t want to use the word villain for Thyon or Minya. Their motivation is so well-explained, that I felt truly sorry for them in the end.

5. The pretty covers

You really shouldn’t judge books by their covers… but these are so pretty! The covers fit the book perfectly and are just as beautiful as the story itself.

These are the reasons I love the Strange the Dreamer duology. And I haven’t even talked about the plot and the world-building yet…!

Three myths and legends I love

Today’s theme in the Wyrd & Wonder challenge is myths and legends. There are a lot to choose from! Although some of them are very weird…  But it’s also wonderful that some stories are so memorable that they survived thousands of years! Here are some myths and legends I find interesting. Because I know many of them from adaptations, I also tried to find a modern book based on the myth or legend.

1. Mulan

As child Mulan was always my favourite Disney movie. When the Huns invade China, Mulan’s father is called to war. Because he is old and suffers from old war injuries, Mulan is afraid he won’t survive. So Mulan secretly disguises herself as man, takes her father’s weapons and goes in his place. I love how courageous and selfless Mulan is! It was very interesting to hear on the Myths and Legends podcast that the Disney version is based on an actual legend. It turns out that Disney stayed quite close to the original. One of the most important differences is that Mulan originally went to war with approval of her family. Her father actually trained her!

Reflection by Elizabeth LimOn my TBR: Reflection by Elizabeth Lim
If you have seen the movie, you probably remember the scene where captain Shang and his army fight Shan Yu in the mountain pass. What if Captain Shang was mortally wounded in this battle, and Mulan had to travel to the Underworld to save him? This sounds like a story I would love to read!

2. Atlantis

The legend of Atlantis was originally told by Plato. The island had a wealthy population that lived in a technologically advances civilization. But the people became greedy and corrupt. This made the gods angry. As a punishment they sent earthquakes that caused Atlantis to sink in the ocean. Most fascinating to me about this legend is that it may be based on real events. It also really sparks my imagination. I could totally image people living on the bottom of the ocean.

The Last Sun by K.D. EdwardsOn my TBR: The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards
This book is set on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home. It’s an urban fantasy, because the world resembles ours. The biggest difference is the existence of magical beings. I’m not sure which role the setting plays, but this does sound like a good book.

3. The story of Isis and Osiris

Ancient Egypt has always interested me. I especially like this story about the goddess Isis and her husband Osiris. Here is a short version. Osiris successfully ruled over Egypt. His brother Seth was jealous of his success and wanted to kill him. On a party Seth tricked Osiris into lying in a box. He sealed the box and threw it in the Nile. At that moment, Isis was away. She immediately knew about her husband’s death and started to search for his body. After a long journey she finally recovered Osiris’ body. Yet, Seth discovered them. He cut the body into pieces and spread them all over Egypt. Isis again decided to find her husband. She collected all the pieces and reassembled them. With her magical powers she breathed life in Osiris and resurrected him. He lived long enough to make Isis pregnant. Then Osiris became ruler of the Underworld.

The Red Pyramid by Rick RiordanReading recommendation: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
You probably know this writer from the Percy Jackson series (which I haven’t read). He also wrote a trilogy featuring the gods of Ancient Egypt. I only read the first part, but I like this take on Egyptian mythology.  The main characters are Carter and Sadie. Carter travelled the world with his father, a brilliant Egyptologist. His sister lived with their grandparents in London. Everything goes wrong when their father tries to bring back Osiris to our world.