There is something about the dark, cold days of winter that makes me want to drive into the bright, vivid and eerie worlds of fantasy. Add these recently released fantasy novels to your reading list if you are feeling the same way or are just looking to get away from it all a bit.
“The theater of memory”
by Karin Tidbeck (Pantheon).
Horror, a coming-of-age saga and fantasy come together in this dark fairy tale from the award-winning author of “Amatka” and “Jagannath”. “The Memory Theater” follows a pair of friends, Thistle and Dora, as they travel through spectacular realms in search of the true nature of their identities. It’s a captivating read, as wonderful as it is dangerous, that begins in a garden untouched by time, takes you to the crossroads of worlds, and emerges in Europe on the brink of collapse.
by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor).
Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor has a plethora of sci-fi and fantasy books to choose from that have won accolades – including the Hugo, The Nebula, and the World Fantasy Awards – but his most recent release, ” Remote Control ”from 2021, is one of my favorites. Okorafor expertly weaves intricate characters and communities into this quietly moving news set in a futuristic Africa. A NPR exam of the book called it “episodic and organic, the story winds with a supple rhythm that allows every rich detail of Sankofa’s surreal world to surface.” It’s a cumulative, slow-burning narrative that creates emotional urgency even as Okorafor’s world-building scope erupts into something breathtakingly vast.
“The witch’s heart”
by Geneviève Gornichec (Ace Books).
For fans of folklore and historical fiction like “Circe”, “Lore” or “Ariadne”, this beautifully tragic tale is a reimagining of Norse mythology. “The Witch’s Heart” is told from Angrboda’s point of view and follows her after her third fire at the stake. This left her hurt and helpless, so Angrboda finds solace in the woods. Soon, however, she is discovered by a man named Loki. The couple eventually fall in love and have three children. But their peaceful and happy life is disrupted when Angrboda’s powers begin to return, turning the love story into one of a mother’s determination to do whatever it takes to protect her children. This dynamic fantasy makes it a poignant and otherworldly reading. Associated with the immersive writing of Genevieve Gornichec, “The Witch’s Heart” is easy to get lost; it made me read until late at night.
“The chosen and the beautiful”
by Nghi Vo (Tor).
A sparkling and eerie reimagining of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nghi Vo’s debut novel is gripping from start to finish. This is not told from Nick Carraway’s point of view, but from that of supporting character Jordan Baker. A Washington Post review aptly said, “Vo not only captures the timbre of Fitzgerald’s lush prose, but she follows the trajectory of the novel’s trails into another realm.” This is a version of “The Great Gatsby in which revelers drink demon blood, witchcraft distorts the rays of reality, and Jay Gatsby is a bisexual vampire.”