Wyrd & Wonder 2022 wrap-up

It’s already the last day of Wyrd & Wonder. Just like the previous years I want to thank all the hosts! I enjoyed participating and loved to read everyone’s contributions. On this blog I posted my reviews of the Hugo Award Short Story Finalists, a Top Five Bookish Characters from Fantasy Books and Five Forest Fantasy Books I read. I also finished two books and I’m currently still reading The Shadowed Sun. The Dream Blood duology by N.K. Jemisin is interesting, but not as easy to read as I expected. In this blog post you will find my thoughts about the books I read, some podcasts I liked and my favourite Wyrd & Wonder blog posts of the month.

Books I Read
Wyrd & Wonder 2022 - wrap-up

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – 4 stars
In four words: modern, dark fairy tale
What I liked: For this book the writer rearranged some fairy tale elements in a new and interesting way. There are faeries and there is a boy with horns in a glass coffin. He is surrounded by broken bottles and crushed tin cans and regularly tourists are gaping at him. The modern setting and the casual way the fearies are treated made the story feel almost real. I also liked the way the book is written. The writer doesn’t tell why something happens, she shows it. The characters are interesting as well. All of them have secrets and we slowly find out more about them.
What I disliked: I actually liked this book more than I expected. I’m not a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, but I enjoyed reading this book.

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood, #1) by N.K. Jemisin – 3 stars
In four words: fascinating setting, complex story
What I liked: One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was the setting. The world is inspired by Ancient Egypt and as fascinating as I hoped. The most memorable characters in the story are Gatherers. They are priests who harvest dream magic. This can be used to either heal sick people or give corrupt people a peaceful death. But who decides who has to be killed? And what if the people in whose decision you trust are corrupt themselves? These interesting questions are explored. The book doesn’t simply give the answers; you have to figure it out yourself. I like the idea of puzzling everything together.
What I disliked: We are thrown in the middle of a complex story with many strange names. Very little is explained. That’s why this book was at the beginning hard to follow. Throughout the story I slowly started to understand it. But in the end I can’t say I totally comprehended it. More information would have helped me to care more about the plot and the characters.
Trigger warning for murder

Podcasts I liked
  • Curses and consent – with Heather Walter at Breaking the Glass Slipper was an interesting podcast episode about fairy tales. They discuss why some fairy tales are actually quite problematic, but are still inspiring and fascinating.
  • The Marie Forleo Podcast is a (very American) self help podcast. Not all episodes are my thing, but I love the positivity of Marie and her guests. Recently I listened to episode 205: Rediscover Your Wild, Untamed Heart with Glennon Doyle. I sometimes struggle with being myself and this episode reminded me why it’s important to stay true to yourself.
The Good Stuff of Wyrd & Wonder 2022

2022 Hugo Award Short Story Finalists Reviewed

Today I tag along with the Wyrd & Wonder prompt ‘Bite-size delight’. I share my thoughts on the short stories that are nominated to win a Hugo Award. With some of them, I purposely stayed a bit vague. Because the stories are so short, I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. If a story sounds interesting, definitively read it yourself! All of them can be find online.

Mr. Death by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2021)
In this story reaper is a job you can get after you die. We get to explore this fascinating idea with an interesting main character and see his character develop during the story. This story about death is a bit heart-breaking, but also heart-warming and even has some humour. I admire the writer for being able to convey so many emotions in just five thousand words.

Proof by Induction by José Pablo Iriarte (Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2021)
The main character of this story is able to talk with his father after he died. The idea is interesting, but the conversations they have are quite boring. There were so much mathematical terms! For me all the math they talk about overshadows the better part of the story.

The Sin of America by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine, March/April 2021)
I just didn’t get this story. It’s about an American woman who had a life full of pain and disappointments. Her dinner at Blue Bison Diner & Souvenir Shoppe is meticulously described. The many details obscured the plot for me. In the end I’m not sure what the writer wanted to tell. This is the kind of story you have to read three of even four times to get. But I couldn’t find anything in the story that makes it worth rereading.

Tangles by Seanan McGuire (Magicthegathering.com: Magic Story, September 2021)
This short story tells about a meeting between a dryad and a mage. They live in a fascinating world with magic and trees that walk. We just get a small insight in this world and I would love to read more about it if possible. The story is also beautifully written.

Unknown Number by Azure (Twitter, July 2021)
If short stories could win prizes for originality, this one would probably get one. This story has the most unique format of all the finalists. It’s a SMS conversation between the main character and theirself from another universe. Their lives have many similarities, but there’s one big difference. The format made the story feel very real. I do think this story has the potential to have more depth. The writer spends quite a lot of time on setting up the story.

Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, March/April 2021)
Another story with an unusual format. This one is formatted like a kind of website about a song called ‘Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather’. Various commenters discuss the phrasing and history of the song. Sadly it felt like a huge info dump. I didn’t really like the song, so I had no reason to be interested in its fictional history. The story may have worked if the characters were more relatable.

There were three short stories I enjoyed reading. My favourite was definitively Mr. Death by Alix E. Harrow. It’s based on an original idea that is well executed, and the story is beautifully written. Which one do you think should win?

Top Five Bookish Characters from Fantasy Books

Time for Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. I love today’s topic: Bookish characters! Since it’s also Wyrd & Wonder this month, I decided to focus on bookish character from fantasy books.

Lazlo from Strange the Dreamer

“His nose was broken by a falling volume of fairy tales his first day on the job, and that, they said, told you everything you needed to know about strange Lazlo Strange: head in the clouds, world of his own, fairy tales and fancy.”

My favourite fictional bookworm! Lazlo is a kind-hearted librarian. Since childhood he is obsessed with a mythic lost city called Weep. He collects all the information he can find about it. Lazlo’s dream is finding this city and solving all the mysteries surrounding it. When he gets the opportunity, Lazlo has to seize his change or lose his dream forever.

Meggie from Inkheart

“There was another reason [she] took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarelled with her, clever, powerful friends – daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored.”

Meggie lives with her father Mo. He is a book binder and they both love reading. One night she overhears a conversation her father has. Next morning, they suddenly have to go to aunt Elinor. After a while, Meggie finally finds out her father’s secret. He is able to bring things from a book to our world when he reads the story aloud. But this talent comes with a price…

Bastian from The Neverending Story

“Bastian liked books that were exciting or funny, or that made him dream. Books where made-up characters had marvelous adventures, books that made him imagine all sorts of things. Because one thing he was good at, possibly the only thing, was imagining things so clearly that he almost saw and heard them.”

The Neverending Story is one of my favourite books from childhood. It’s about a boy reading a book about Fantastica. This world needs a human to save it. While Bastian is reading, he goes into the book. The best thing is: he doesn’t only become part of the story, Bastian is also able to shape it with his imagination.

Charley from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

“… I really have no circle of acquaintances outside work. None nonfictional or unrelated to me, anyway. I’m busy. There are a lot of books to read.”

Charley has the magical ability to bring a character from a book into the real world. His brother Rob thinks this family secret causes mostly problems. But I would love to have this power! Not only the characters, but also the plot of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is really interesting.

Tilly from Tilly and the Bookwanderers

“With very few exceptions Tilly found that she much preferred the company of characters in her books to most of the people she knew in real life.”

Tilly is a young girl wo lives above her grandparents’ bookshop. One day a character from the book she’s reading appears in the shop. That’s when she learns about `book wandering.’ This magic works both ways: Tilly can bring characters from books into our world and she can get in the book herself.

Five Forest Fantasy Books I read

This post is inspired by the Wyrd & Wonder prompt ‘Top Five Forest Fantasy Recs’. I actually have read exactly five forest fantasy books. So I decided to just make a list of the books I read. In of all them there is some kind of enchanted wood. I’m currently reading a sixth forest fantasy book: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The forest in this book is evil and powerful. It takes people who enter it. The ones who survive, come out different and just as dangerous as the forest itself. Agnieszka lives in a village close to this forest. Her people rely on a wizard known as the Dragon to protect them. Once every ten years the Dragon demands a young woman to serve him.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This atmospheric book is set in a small village close to the cold Russian wilderness. During the nights people nestle around the fire and tell each other chilling stories about strange creatures. Vasya loves to hear them. She also knows the stories are more than fairy tales, because she can see the spirits. Better than anyone else, she realizes the importance of honouring the spirits who protect them against evil creatures lurking in the forest.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
I didn’t give this book all the stars, but I did like the out-of-this-world vibe. Alice and her mother always have bad luck. It gets even worse when Alice’s mother is kidnapped. She left behind a message: ‘Stay away from the Hazel Wood’. This is the secret estate of Alice’s grandmother, a woman Alice has never met. Hazel Wood is of course the place Alice has to find.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy
I received this book as a present and I keep it for the beautiful illustrations made by Carson Ellis. Wildwood is an enchanted forest in the middle of Portland. It’s inhabited by talking animals. When Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows, she has to save him. With the help of Collin, she follows her brother into the forest. I wouldn’t recommend this book for the plot, but I liked the world the story is set in.

The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb
These books are about ships fashioned from wizardwood. The special wood for these ships comes from the Rain Wilds, an area with enormous trees. Settlements are built high in the trees. The forest plays a bigger role in The Rain Wild Chronicles, but I haven’t read those books yet.

Wyrd & Wonder 2022 TBR

In May I will again participate in Wyrd & Wonder! A yearly celebration of all things fantasy. This year it’s the fifth anniversary of Wyrd & Wonder. Forest fantasy will be the theme of this special edition. Wyrd & Wonder is hosted by a team of five bloggers: Imryl from One More, Lisa of Dear Geek Place, Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story, Ariana at The Book Nook and Annemieke of A Dance With Books. Read here about everything that is planned during the month.

On my blog you are going to find fantasy-themed posts next month. I also hope to read at least three fantasy books. I’m going to participate in the read-along hosted by Lisa of Dear Geek Place. And there is a great duology I want to read. This is my TBR-list:

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1) & The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood #2) by N.K. Jemisin
I’m looking forward to finally reading something from N.K. Jemisin! I decided to start with this duology, because it sounds amazing. The first thing I like is that the world in the books is based on Ancient Egypt. It’s also interesting that dreams play a big role. The main character is a priest of the dream-goddess. It’s his duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal. However, someone uses this magic to kill people…

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
This book is chosen by Lisa for the read-along. Following the theme, it’s a forest fantasy. The story sounds like a dark fairy tale. It’s about Hazel and her brother Ben who live in a town where humans and fae live side by side. There’s also a glass coffin in the woods with a sleeping boy in it. I’ve never read anything else by Holly Black. So I’m curious what I will think of this book.

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!