Fantasy Books

clovertree71

Rinkside
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Oct 19, 2019
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I knew I would regret looking at this thread--now I have so many more books on my list. Also books to go back and re-read. Fantasy is hard, because there are so many types of fantasy stories too (quests, urban, alternate history, etc).

I have recently read "flintlock fantasy"--about fantasy empires and wars with quasi-historic weapons and battle tactics. The battles are extensive and move the plot and characters forward. Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but different and interesting. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler is a good examples--excellent characters, action, mystery & magic).

I would read anything by Naomi Novik. I love Uprooted--dark, romantic. Her Temeraire series is excellent, I love the dragons (now that I think about it, it is also about empires and wars... hmm, maybe I am a more bloodthirsty person than I thought, if these are my recommendations).

I also recommend The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (not about war, it's a lovely, intense, quiet book about a young goblin who suddenly finds himself on the throne).
 

Edwin

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Anybody hear read Philip Pullman's Book of Dust, vol 1 and the new vol 2 and wanting to give his/her opinion?
 

skylark

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Hello, everyone!

In another thread, another poster, Batsuchan, and I found we mutually enjoyed Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver. We thought we'd talk about it here and invite anyone to join in. Questions:

1. Did you have a favorite character? Do you have a character that you relate to the most? Are they the same one, or two or three different ones? My favorite, and also the one I relate to the most, is Irina, the duke's daughter who grew up enduring her father's disapproval, and was brutally made to know that her only value was as a marriage offer. Then she discovers that she has magic from the fairy silver, which gives her an opportunity to use her actual magic: her brains, her courage, and her love and compassion.

2. There are lots of surprises in the story. Did you have a favorite one?

3. Some think the book is based on Rumpelstiltskin. I see the parallel, but the fairy tale it makes me think of is about the Ice Queen, which frightened me as a child. But Spinning Silver puts the story in a new light, and the "frozen heart" idea is shown to be everyday. Thoughts?

4. I love how Wanda discovers different kinds of "magic" as she learns about the world. One of the first: the magic of numbers. What everyday magic did you find enchanting?


Final Question: should we take this discussion to the defunct book discussion thread, or stay here and hope others will respond? We can use the spoiler caution.




Naomi Novik - Spinning Silver.

Novik weaves traditional myths and fairy tales through the dark lens of Polish mythology. This one's my favorite.

Sixteen-year-old Miryem takes on her too-gentle father's duties as the village money-lender, learning to turn silver into gold the hard-earned way. But the Staryk, the magical winter elven people, are watching ....

Wanda barely keeps herself, her brothers, and their abusive alcoholic father alive on a hard-scrabble farm. Until one day her fortunes change: Miryem agrees to let Wanda work off her father's drinking debt.

Irina, the plain daughter of a duke, is undervalued and unnoticed her whole life. (No marriage-market value.) But she turns these handicaps into assets when some fairy silver makes its way into the duke's home.
 

Batsuchan

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Mar 8, 2014
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Hello, everyone!

In another thread, another poster, Batsuchan, and I found we mutually enjoyed Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver. We thought we'd talk about it here and invite anyone to join in. Questions:

1. Did you have a favorite character? Do you have a character that you relate to the most? Are they the same one, or two or three different ones? My favorite, and also the one I relate to the most, is Irina, the duke's daughter who grew up enduring her father's disapproval, and was brutally made to know that her only value was as a marriage offer. Then she discovers that she has magic from the fairy silver, which gives her an opportunity to use her actual magic: her brains, her courage, and her love and compassion.

2. There are lots of surprises in the story. Did you have a favorite one?

3. Some think the book is based on Rumpelstiltskin. I see the parallel, but the fairy tale it makes me think of is about the Ice Queen, which frightened me as a child. But Spinning Silver puts the story in a new light, and the "frozen heart" idea is shown to be everyday. Thoughts?

4. I love how Wanda discovers different kinds of "magic" as she learns about the world. One of the first: the magic of numbers. What everyday magic did you find enchanting?

Final Question: should we take this discussion to the defunct book discussion thread, or stay here and hope others will respond? We can use the spoiler caution.

Thanks for starting this discussion, skylark! I've never read any of Naomi Novik's books before I read this one, so now I'm quite curious to check out her other novels! :yes:

1) I also enjoyed the character of Irina a lot!

2) Hmm, this is a hard one. Also, I don't want to give away to much for those who'd like to read the book!

3) I agree with you that there were parts that reminded me of Snow Queen. Since the novel was based on fairy tales, I felt like it felt somewhat familiar, but also not quite--like a dream you can't quite remember.

***SPOILER ALERT****

4) Perhaps this is not "everyday magic," but I liked that the Wanda mother's spirit tried to protect her children/helped them. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, and how Harry's mother's love/sacrifice was the most powerful kind of magic...
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Since the novel was based on fairy tales, I felt like it felt somewhat familiar, but also not quite--like a dream you can't quite remember.
.

That's a beautiful thought, and it describes exactly how I felt reading the book.

In fact, you've just helped me see another reason I love Spinning Silver so much. A filmmaker said that when you watch a movie (especially in a theater, where you're immersed in the experience, and seeing the movie with other audience members ... it's the same feeling, the same brain experience, as dreaming. It's something I love about movies.

And I do get that same feeling reading some books. Total immersion. It's interesting that Novik uses such down-to-earth language and creates voices that make me believe everything that happens. She makes her characters accessible to people today, while they're completely grounded in an old setting.

5. Did you like the multiple voices, or did you find the switches less than desirable?
 

Batsuchan

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That's a beautiful thought, and it describes exactly how I felt reading the book.

In fact, you've just helped me see another reason I love Spinning Silver so much. A filmmaker said that when you watch a movie (especially in a theater, where you're immersed in the experience, and seeing the movie with other audience members ... it's the same feeling, the same brain experience, as dreaming. It's something I love about movies.

And I do get that same feeling reading some books. Total immersion. It's interesting that Novik uses such down-to-earth language and creates voices that make me believe everything that happens. She makes her characters accessible to people today, while they're completely grounded in an old setting.

5. Did you like the multiple voices, or did you find the switches less than desirable?

I did like the multiple voices very much! :yes: I liked that we were presented with three women who at first seemed unconnected, but then all three of their stories converged.

Thanks for sharing that interesting information about the experience of watching a film. :)
Are there any other books that gave you that total immersion feeling that you would recommend?
 

skylark

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I did like the multiple voices very much! :yes: I liked that we were presented with three women who at first seemed unconnected, but then all three of their stories converged.

Thanks for sharing that interesting information about the experience of watching a film. :)
Are there any other books that gave you that total immersion feeling that you would recommend?

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. That's the first one that came to my mind when I read your post a week ago, and then I drove to North Carolina and spent a week at U.S. Nationals and came to GS very sparingly. So that's the cause for the delay in my answer to your question. Your question itself fascinates me. I think what I need for total immersion is a narrative voice I like, and a vivid vision of a place, so I'm in the dream immediately. (the place in TKaM is Scout's neighborhood.)

So the second one I'm thinking of is Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. It's got two voices, Inman's ... and it starts with him looking out the glass French doors of a house (mansion?) converted to a Confederate hospital. The author's wife told him about the place and the French doors. It was turned into a convalescent home for soldiers after the Civil War. So it's again that combination of a narrative voice and a place that drew me in. But I wasn't sure if I'd like Cold Mountain till I got to the second chapter, which was in Ada's voice, who's a woman living on the mountain. (I'm telling you this in case you had the same feeling I had about the first chapter.)

Same with Body and Soul, by Frank Conroy. In this case the place is an apartment in New York City (or Brooklyn? can't remember) and the voice is that of a child.

thanks for your question! It's interesting to have a conversation with you!
 

Ducky

On the Ice
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Feb 14, 2018
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I did like the multiple voices very much! :yes: I liked that we were presented with three women who at first seemed unconnected, but then all three of their stories converged.

Thanks for sharing that interesting information about the experience of watching a film. :)
Are there any other books that gave you that total immersion feeling that you would recommend?

For me the first two books of Christelle Dabos's The Mirror Visitor Quartet are easily one of my favorites, and I might just reread them while I impatiently wait for the English translation of book 3. (My French isn't good enough to read book 3 in it yet...)

Recently finished Erin Morgenstern's STARLESS SEA which is both too precious and contrived and still a bunch of lovely set pieces. I really loved one of the secondary relationships was Kat going off in search of her friend Zachary because it reminds me a lot of a fierce friendship I have with this guy.

Trying to make my way through 10,000 DOORS OF JANUARY and I just can't. It's gotten some great reviews but for me it's trying too much to be profound and the main viewpoint character is so annoying.
 

LRK

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Catherine Fisher: "The Snow-Walker Trilogy" (Re-read) - Omnibus containing "The Snow-Walker's Son", "The Empty Hand" & "The Soul Thieves". Fantasy in a Nordic style setting.
 
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