Caturday Reads: Wintery Fantasy & Folklore Fiction

In two and a half weeks, we shall officially be in a new year! Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m excited 2021 is going to be over or if I’m more frightened of the chaos that 2022 will potentially bring with it. Ever since 2019, each new year has been far more hectic and unlikably unpredictable than the last. I don’t know about you, but my mind, body, and spirit are exhausted as all the Seven Hells. Even with the mixture of feels floating through my body as I try my best to prepare for the next chapter of Life, there is one thing I know I can count on to always bring me joy and help me relax: reading (of course!). And cats.

With that I welcome you to my last Caturday Reads post for 2021! The goal for the rest of December and for January is to dive into wintery fantasy and folklore fiction type novels, especially the ones I wanted to get through this year, but simply didn’t have the time nor energy to do so yet. I even asked a couple friends for recommendations that I may have missed out on and they were more than happy to share their favourite seasonal titles.

I have eight total books in this list today that I’m hoping shall keep me thoroughly engaged and entertained for the next six or seven weeks. A few are familiars from previous Caturday Reads posts. Check ‘em all out below!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: This is a Gaslamp fantasy novel, with four different London’s, and it’s the first in a trilogy. Aside from that, I don’t know anything else, and I don’t want to know anything else about this book! I feel like that will be the best way for me make the most out of reading this incredibly hyped pick. If you want more info on it, check out the publisher’s site here.

Dendera by Yuya Sato: A Japanese folklore satirical fantasy story about a character named Kayu Saitō who was taken to a snowy mountainside and abandoned there by her family and village, according to a sacrificial tradition. Kayu was supposed to have passed away rather quickly and headed straight into the afterlife. Instead, she awakes in an unfamiliar place called Dendera, a utopian community built across decades by old ladies that were abandoned to their doom, just like her. Now these women must band together and face a brand-new threat: a hungry mommy bear.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin: A first contact sci-fi—a pivotal work of the genre—about a long human ambassador that’s sent to an icy ass planet called Winter. This place doesn’t have any sexual prejudice and the inhabitants’ gender is fluid. His goal on Winter is to facilitate the planet’s inclusiveness into a growing intergalactic civilisation. Yet, in order to accomplish this goal, he’ll first have to bridge the chasm between his own views and the ones that are utterly strange for him to digest.

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick: An epic dark fantasy that follows a lying, thieving daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums, she flees her world in order to save a sibling. The only way she can do that is by sneaking her way into a noble house, and then securing fortunes for her and the sibling. Yet, the city of dreams that she has slithered into is rich with nightmare magic, corruption, feuding aristocrats, and plenty of mysterious danger lingering in the shadows.

Near the Bone by Christina Henry: A horror suspense thriller about a woman that gets trapped on a dark, snowy mountain and tries to survive for her dear life, especially after she realises that there are monsters in the woods hunting her.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: A folk fantasy novel that follows a young woman who comes from a family of moneylenders that has been devastated due to the father’s inability to collect owed debts. So, the woman rolls up her floofy sleeves and heads off to do what her daddy couldn’t: get what’s owed. Along the way she ends up developing a reputation for turning silver into gold. The novel is essentially a re-telling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale.

Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier: An epic political dark fantasy following two kings. There’s the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east. Enter Kehara Raeheme, who knows that her country is in a terribly vulnerable place. Never expecting to give up everything she has and loves to save her people, that’s exactly what she’s forced to do when the Mad King places her lands in horrible danger. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, the ruthless Wolf Duke of Pohorir, Innisth Eanete, dreams of freeing his people and province from the king he despises most but has no method of actually doing so. That is until a desperate Kehara ends up on his doorstep, at his mercy.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec: A Nordic folklore romance fantasy about a banished witch that was burned by Odin when she refuses to give up information he desperately seeks. Being horridly injured and powerless in the wake of the fire, Angrboda flees into the farthest reaches of a forest where she is rescued by a dude named Loki (pardon me while I grin like a maniac). Initially overcome with intense distrust and suspicion, the two end up slowly formulating a relationship that will develop into an epic love of the ages. As they build a family, Angrboda recovers her powers and realises that her children’s future and her own are tied to an ominous fate. It will be up to her to decide whether she’s going to accept this shady ass fate, or say, “Fuck it,” and build a new one for her and her family.

Beyond the book shenanigans, my other goals for the month include working on some stories and working on some Buddhist spiritual stuff (it’s been helping me manage my stress and heart-health). I also bought this roguelike game called Pawnbarian that I’m Loki (mwahaha) obsessed with, so that will also occupy most of my weekend.

Anyhoo, with all of that, I wish you a lovely weekend and a kind, comforting holiday season ahead for all who celebrate in their own ways. If you don’t celebrate (like me), then I wish you a gentle and relaxing rest of the month. Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing.

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3 thoughts on “Caturday Reads: Wintery Fantasy & Folklore Fiction

  1. Pingback: The Modern-Day Christmas Song Book Tag – Narrative Paradise

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