Hello, my lovely lemons! 🍋 I hope you’re doing well. I missed my post last week because I was on holiday! It was lovely – my first full week off this year, and I spent it at the coast with my partner. We stayed at my family’s caravan and it was so nice to get away from my everyday life for a whole week. We walked on the beach, played Mario Kart (I hate to admit it but I lost every time), and visited an aquarium! I didn’t do much reading (though I finally finished The Song of Achilles!) but I have been since I got back. Because… my new reading glasses arrived!
I went for my regular eye test a couple of weeks ago, and found out my eyes have gotten a little worse. I already wear glasses for computer work, but this time when I got my prescription I decided to order a pair of reading glasses too. And what a difference! I’ve always struggled with maintaining focus on a book unless I’m really into it, with my eyes skipping around the page or unfocusing. I usually have to reread sentences a couple of times to find where I’m supposed to be on the page. And I’ve only had them for a couple of days, but I haven’t done that since I’ve been reading with my glasses on? So maybe it was my eyesight all along…
Anyway! Today it’s time for a post I don’t do nearly as often as I would like – a tag! I was tagged for this one by the wonderful Caro @ The Bookcheshire Cat and I am very excited. I feel like I don’t talk about fantasy as much as the other genres I read, which is off because it’s totally the foundation for my love of reading. So – let’s get to know the fantasy reader!
This tag was originally created by Bree Hill.
What is your fantasy origin story? (The first fantasy you read)
Hmm, it depends what kind of fantasy we’re talking about here. If I really think back, I guess it was Knife?? It’s a Middle Grade faerie story by R.J. Anderson that’s a bit darker than your typical fairy story for kids. Although if we’re going for full-on fantasy, that would be Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. It still forms the foundations of what I look for in fantasy novels today.
If you could be the hero in a fantasy novel, who would be the author, and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?
Tamsyn Muir?? Rachel Caine?? Maria V. Snyder?? It has to be Rachel. She became my favourite author the first time I read one of her books, and that hasn’t changed in the almost decade since. The way she writes smart protagonists, compelling villains, and loveable side characters guarantees every one of her books is a favourite. As for tropes, it has to be found family. Rachel’s found family casts are legendary and there’s no way I’m missing out on the chance to be included in one.
What is a fantasy series you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?
The Guild Codex! This is an action-packed, spunky, hilarious urban fantasy. It’s set in Toronto and has huge magical scope. There’s several spin-off series that all tie together, with characters crossing over between the books. The original series, Spellbound, follows non-magical human Tori after she accidentally takes a bartending job at a magical guild and is thrown headfirst into the supernatural. She’s a fiery redhead who takes no one’s shit, and I love watching her get caught up in all manner of magical shenanigans. (An honorary mention goes to A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation for being a fun, underrated manga.)
What is your favourite fantasy subgenre?
Urban!! There’s something so comforting about urban fantasy. It’s usually just fun, light, romantic, and easy to get into. There’s rarely much worldbuilding needed, since the premise is just “modern day setting but with magic/supernatural creatures”, so that frees up the story to get straight to the action. All of the urban fantasies I love follow a very simple formula: strong, sarcastic female protagonist, swoon-worthy love interest, and a good dose of magical trouble to defeat. Plus they have a tendency to run for long series, and I looooove a long series.
What subgenre have you not read much from?
Historical fantasy, I guess? I won’t lie, I usually struggle telling different fantasy subgenres apart. What’s the difference between epic and high fantasy? Does having knights mean it counts as historical? How “dark” does it have to be to class as dark fantasy? Questions I will probably never know the answers to. But I can definitely say I haven’t read anything that I’d class as historical – no King Arthur retellings or anything of the like.
Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?
Annette Marie! After how fast I’ve fallen in love with her Guild Codex series, and the way it ticks every single box I have for urban fantasy, I’m happy to buy anything new she puts out without even reading the description. There’s a special kind of trust between a reader and their auto-buy authors. Also, I would’ve answered Rachel Caine for this question but since I’ve already bought virtually every book she’s ever published I thought someone new deserved this spot.
How do you typically find fantasy recommendations?
Through my wonderful fellow bloggers, of course! Also Piera Forde on BookTube. And if I’m honest, the “Recommended for you” section on Kindle throws a lot of titles my way. I don’t have a specific place I go to when I’m looking for new books. I tend to just absorb book recommendations wherever I go, and they’re always waiting for me when I need them.
What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?
NONA THE NINTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😫😫😫 Enough said. Seriously though, wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this book when it releases. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for an entire year waiting for more story about these fantastical weird space lesbians. I’ve preordered a physical copy from my local queer bookshop, but I’ve also preordered on Kindle so I can start reading the very minute it releases. I am feral for this book.
What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?
That it’s only for nerdy white men. Fantasy is and should be available to everyone. Whether that’s chunky epic fantasies with swords, battles, and dragons, or fantastical romances with magic and faeries. Anyone can read it. Certainly no one should be judged for it. I remember picking up A Game of Thrones in high school, and thinking I was “special” for being a young girl reading this chunky high fantasy novel. I shouldn’t have felt like I was special, or weird, or anything of note. I was just a girl reading a book. But it felt like I was breaking the mould and doing something I wasn’t supposed to do, by reading this book that clearly wasn’t targeted at me. And I don’t think anyone should feel like they’re not allowed to read a certain genre. If you do – do it anyway.
If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind, what would those recommendations be?
I didn’t exactly go with the very first three that came into my head, but I picked the first three that I thought a beginner to fantasy would enjoy. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. All three have worldbuilding and magic systems that are easy to sink into, a wonderful cast of funny and entertaining characters to draw you in, and fantastical plots that get you easily invested in the fantasy world. I think when you’re delving into a new genre it’s important to choose a book that has strong elements that would work in any genre – like well-formed characters and a compelling plot. These books nail those aspects, and each have a rich fantasy world that weaves into and enhances the story. They’re also all books I would gladly reread any day.
Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?
The absolutely lovely Anoushka @ Dipped in Ink is a dragon-loving devourer of fantasy and magic and can be found screaming about books and writing and other wonderful things. Go visit her blog for relatable bookworm ramblings!
It feels good to be back! It was nice getting some time away, but I also love sitting at my keyboard and sending my thoughts out into the world. This was so much fun to do, and reminded me that I need to seek out tags more often. I love finding answers to questions or prompts. It makes me think about more books than just what I’ve been reading recently. (And wanting to join in answering tags was literally the reason I created my own blog!)