Our favourite magical books! Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch

We love a good magical haunting  story to give us goosebumps  here in Cinders! Here are a few of our favourite mystical, dreamlike reads to curl up with for November!

Lips Touch  by Laini Taylor

 

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Laini Taylor writes magical stories so well she may actually be magic herself. Lips Touch Three times is one of her earlier works but it is just as beautiful. With a  collection of three stories all of which revolve around a fateful kiss you will not be disappointed. A woman who travels down into hell to rescue the man she loves, a demonic curse following a young woman and a wonderful modern adaptation of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Fruit. Goblin Fruit is a particular stand out, where we meet Kizzy, a girl who wants. Every day of Kizzy’s life she is filled with wanting and desire, so much so, that it brings a goblin to her door. A goblin who is desperate to take her heart. There is power in Laini Taylor’s magical stories. These are stories filled with power and dark desire. With nightmare and with illusion. With everything that we love about the autumn season. You will not be disappointed. 

 

Autumn Books Preview: Cathedral of Myth and Bone

If you haven’t read Kat Howard’s Roses and Rot yet you are missing out. Especially if dark, drifting, fantasy is your thing. Her stories are never saccharine and always pack a punch. That’s why we were overjoyed with A Cathedral of Myth and Bone, a series of short stories dealing with the weird and wonderful in the most magical way. With stories dealing with enchantment, joy and magic that you never have seen before.

In these stories, which are equally as beguiling and spellbinding as her novels, Howard expands into the enchanted territory of myths and saints, as well as an Arthurian novella set upon a college campus, “Once, Future,” which retells the story of King Arthur—through the eyes of the women who influenced him. This was our favourite story in the collection and we would be telling you to read it just for this!

Captivating and engrossing, and adorned in gorgeous lyrical writing, Kat Howard’s stories are a fresh and stylish take on fantasy. It is beautiful and will keep you hooked for every minute, every moment that you are reading. The best stories will take you beyond this world and right into the next. Enjoy every single second.

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A Cathedral of Myth and Bone is out on November 6

 

Book Review: The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen

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Originally released in 1975, The Transfigured Hart is a beautiful, sweet novella by Jane Yolen. Proving that the world-renowned fantasy author has nigh universal appeal, the digital re-release by Tachyon Books reads as though the book was released a week ago, sans the presence of smart phones or computer technology. 

The story centers around two young teenagers, Richard and Heather who separately come upon a unicorn, and have to decide how to work together, in order to see the unicorn once again. 

Both Heather and Richard, despite having different interests are presented as being intellectual equals, with Heather depicted as the more emotionally mature of the pair, which – for anyone who has known a thirteen year old boy – is highly accurate. 

The writing is beautifully lyrical, as we have come to expect from Yolen, but also has the refreshing rhythm of argumentative teens thrown in amid the dialogue. 

The story is a grounded and entertaining depiction of a well-worn fantasy trope, but is handled with care and finesse by Yolen. It is fascinating to see how she integrates teenagers into the magic of the Hart’s domain, and how the real magic that occurs is between two very different people solidifying an enduring friendship. 

And isn’t that the joy of fantasy? Of seeing traits you wish you had and traits you wish you didn’t reflected in people who witness magical scenes?  Jane Yolen will always be a lyrical superstar and a moment spent reading her stories is never a moment wasted. 

Book Review – The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

The Wren Hunt, you might have heard of it? Or the Wren Boys? If you’re from outside of Ireland you probably won’t have – and even if you’re living in Ireland, the chances are slim… They’re boy’s who hunt the wren the day after Christmas. Nowadays the wren boys chant and sing and parade through towns on St Stephen’s Day, a fun, if old-fashioned tradition. But for the characters of Mary Watson’s The Wren Hunt there is much more to the tradition than meets the eye.

Every St Stephen’s day Wren is tortured, because of her name and more importantly because she’s an augur. And the boys who torment her are judges. They hunt her for the sport, or so they think. Really, they are drawn to hunting her because of her magic. Wren has a secret – a big one – and it’s up to her to keep it a secret. The only way she can save her family and her people is if she turns spy among the boys who treat her like their personal plaything. If she doesn’t, her world as she knows it will never be the same. Bu the longer Wren uses her magic in secret, the looser her grip on reality becomes.

It’s rare that a story about Irish magic doesn’t involve mythology that is ancient or fairies who are benevolent. The Wren Hunt takes a sinister song and weaves a complex mythos all of its own. The characters are relatable and the Ireland feels familiar rather than a poorly drawn copy. If unusual fantasy with determined heroines is your thing  then you’ll enjoy the unique perspective of The Wren Hunt. Mary Watson will have you racing through the woods all night long.

Recommended reads: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Fans have waited eagerly for Holly Black’s return to the realms of Faerie and the fae and The Cruel Prince doesn’t disappoint. Holly Black rightfully retains her crown as the Faerie queen in this new beginning to a trilogy that presents a faerieland that is just as bloodthirsty and cruel as we remember.

Jude is a girl who was stolen away to faerie as a child and raised by her parent’s murderer. She was raised in Faerie, with her twin sister Taryn, a cruel and intolerant place for a human. But her redcap, parent murdering, father, Madoc, has raised them in his home, as members of the faerie court.

Jude is a character caught between two worlds, not Fae enough to be faerie but not human enough to want to escape to the human world with her Fae sister Vivi. But not everyone in Elfhame is accepting of Jude, in fact, some would much rather see her dead.

Among Jude’s enemies is Cardan, prince of Elfhame and all around mean guy. And willing to make Jude’s life hell whenever he has the opportunity. And he has the opportunity quite a lot.  Cardan is a wonderfully horrid boy, who seems to literally define  the phrase ‘love to hate’.

Jude has to battle court intrigue, murderous royals, and use her skills as a human to her advantage in the Fae court. A Fae court that frequently is becoming less safe for a human…

Holly Black has spent years and frequent books developing her bloodthirsty, special world of Faerie. The Cruel Prince has cameo’s from characters that fans of her books will recognise.

Holly Black takes us into new territory with the kingdom of Elfhame, a different court to the ones that have been already and welcomes us inside of it far more than any of the previous ones. We are immersed, like Jude, into the world of Faerie. Holly Black’s fae are crueller and more untrustworthy than ever before – and  it’s delicious.

The cruelty and pain of Faerie is rich and decadent. Holly Black has filled this world full of anger and betrayal. and language that is rich and lyrical.

It’s a world that feels like you were meant to turn around at the first step and run away home to safety. But instead you take a step closer, and further into the quagmire and find yourself in the most horrible, trouble, imaginable.

But it’s the kind of trouble you can’t wait to find your way out of. We are barely able to breathe waiting for the next despicable installment.

Faerie Queen – An Interview with Holly Black

Over the last ten years, bestselling author Holly Black has rightly earned the title of ‘Faerie Queen’. She weaves a Faerie world that is dangerous and bloodthirsty, far from being a dream come true, these worlds are more like your darkest nightmares brought to life. Méabh McDonnell spoke to Holly about her experience writing her new novel The Cruel Prince and her writing life.

 

A veteran of urban fantasy, Holly Black has delighted readers with her previous ventures into a dark and twisted Faerie world overlapping modern day America.  Her stories are gritty, compelling, and surprisingly realistic for stories about faeries.  Her previous ventures into this Faerie world, have unearthed a collection of brave and strong characters, in Tithe, Valiant, Ironside and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

I started with the idea of this girl being raised by the her parents murderer

The Cruel Prince is a fresh journey into this, cruel world of Faerie. It tells the story of Jude Duarte, kidnapped into Faerie as a child with her twin Taryn, and sister Vivi. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were kidnapped and raised by their parent’s murderer, redcap general Madoc. Jude grows up in their faerie world of Elfhame, and is forced to make this place her home. It isn’t a particularly welcoming place for a human girl to grow up. Even less welcoming because of her enemies in the court, none worse than prince of the realm, Cardan. Prince Cardan takes vicious delight in tormenting Jude, making her life hell. Despite all of this, Jude is determined to make a life for herself within the Faerie kingdom. And she is willing to do almost anything to make it a reality…

Speaking to Holly Black, we found out what she enjoyed about revisiting her world of fairy.

Continue reading Faerie Queen – An Interview with Holly Black

Recommended Reads: Frances Hardinge, Seanan Maguire, Joanne M Harris

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A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

Following on from the success of The Lie Tree, A Skinful of Shadows is Frances Hardinge’s next big hit. A Skinful of Shadows is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War. Makepeace is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and because of this, she shares their unique gift: she is able to be possessed by ghosts. But Makepeace is reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, so she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear. You won’t be sorry you checked this one out.

Beaneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan Maguire

If you like your outcasts confident and your heroines unique then you can’t go wrong with Seanan Maguire’s beautiful trio of novellas about  Eleanor’s West’s Home for Wayward Children. Beginning with Every Heart a Doorway and continuing on to Down Among the Sticks and Bones, it continues with Beneath the Sugar Sky which is released in January 2018. Maguire combines beautiful, lyrical writing with fantastic stories and settings. Beneath the Sugar Sky follows Rini, a girl who lands with a  literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, and discovers that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived.  If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. The whole series is a brilliant read and the newest installment will really brighten up your weekends.

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M Harris

Modern magical realist Joanne M Harris takes another foray into fantasy with A Pocketful of Crows. Following the months of the year, A Pocketful of Crows draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl who grows up around the wild and nature. It isn’t until she falls in love that she takes her first steps into the world of man but she isn’t certain that she fits in there either. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape. Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a gorgeous modern fairytale.