Recommended reading: Katherine Arden, Image Comics, Ursula, K. Le Guin

 

The Girl in the Tower By Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower is the sequel to the amazing Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. We reviewed The Bear and the Nightingale in Cinders Says in our very first issue, and we were delighted with the dark, wintery Russian fairy tale. The story continues with this year’s offering, the second in a promised trilogy. The Girl in the Tower is exceptional, a beautiful story that envelops you just as well as the Bear and the Nightingale did before it. Once again we are immersed in Vasya’s world full of stories and adventures. This time she is forced to pose as a male monk with her brother Sasha in order to survive. Vasya has to escape the people’s scrutiny having been thought a witch by her community when she left. She has new challenges to face in this installment and Arden leads us through the winter with her usual blend of lyricism and beauty. You’ll want to curl up with  it on a cold evening with a cup of hot chocolate.

Twisted Romance by Image Comics

Any regular readers of Cinders know just how much we love a good comic book. Back in Volume One  Issue One we raved about Ms Marvel, Fresh Romance, Nimona and Saga. We’ve since raved even more about Saga, and talked about Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s turn on Marvel’s Runaways (Runaways is excellent by the way – you should absolutely check out the collected edition in April). However this month, with romance back on the brain, we’ve taken to Image Comic’s one off weekly publication, Twisted Romance. This takes two love stories in each of its four issues, with different artists and writers and offers them up to the reader. If comics are your thing then you’ll really enjoy this foray into the fantastic and the very weird, with it’s ‘through the wrong side of a looking glass’ look at love, and romantic entanglements. It’s an unusual addition to the comic book pile, but one you’ll be glad you sunk your teeth into.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin is one of the most celebrated fantasy and science fiction authors of this century, filling the world with truly beautiful tales about women, men and what it means to deconstruct gender. She died earlier this year and it has made us take another look at her most famous works. This month we’ve returned to one of Le Guin’s classics, namely The Left Hand of Darkness, a sci-fi classic that takes us to a world known as ‘Winter’ where there are no men and no women – it’s an entirely genderless society and lets us see what that might look like. Frequently described as one of the books that ‘everyone should read’ we enjoyed being able to return to The Left Hand of Darkness and see just what a visionary Le Guin was.

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