Books to Encourage Flights of Fancy

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Books to Encourage Flights of Fancy

It’s summer, which usually entails plans for fun and travel -- unless you cannot think of setting foot outside to face the heat. This season, therefore, calls for books that magically transport you away by the use of your imagination. Here are a number of choices that promise to do just that and more.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco opens with the death of the protagonist’s brother – and her subsequent raising of him from the dead. Gifted with the power of necromancy, Tea is a witch who is different from others. Featuring an unreliable narrator and a lush landscape that is reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, this book paints a fascinating portrayal of a country poised for battle and one woman who must embrace her own demons in order to embrace the future. 

Fans of Holly Black or Leigh Bardguo will have to wait until later this fall and into 2018 for their latest releases. But in the meantime, Laini Taylor’s book Strange the Dreamer is a beguiling mixture of fantasy and myth. Side note – who doesn’t love a book about a librarian? More than just a romantic idealist, Lazlo's dreams have always called him to find the mythic lost city, Weep. But this journey is more than a childhood adventure, as Lazlo will be swept up into an undertaking fraught with lost gods, love, and most of all, danger.

Similarly, now that the The Raven Boys quartet by Maggie Steifvater has finished, her latest release is not due to hit shelves until October 2017. Bearing that in mind, novels such as Half Bad by Sally Green and Carry On by Rainbow Rowel are excellent choices; both novels feature male magicians, although a bit different from Harry Potter. Green’s book is bold and dark, imagining a world where witchcraft is used as a way to speak about larger issues such as identity and a character’s sense of place. Carry On, the companion novel to Fangirl, is a witty, sweet read that pokes subtle fun at the type of scenarios that J.K. Rowling made famous. After all, what is a hero supposed to do when he starts to develop feelings for the villain he has sworn to vanquish?

Having read Roshani Chokshi’s novel The Star Touched Queen, which touches upon Hindu mythology, I have been looking forward to its companion piece, A Crown of WishesGauri – both a princess and a prisoner of war – faces an uncertain future that comes with exile. She is promised by Prince Vikhram that should they win a competition entitled “The Tournament of Wishes”, she will have a chance for a new future. But risk surrounds Gauri in a myriad of forms, not the least of which is her new companion.

Anna Marie Mclemore’s novel When the Moon Was Ours is at heart a tender romance, but Mclemore’s infusion of magical realism creates a world populated with acts that defy explanation. Describing the relationship between Sam and Miel would reveal some of the most critical points of the book. However, the author’s writing style is a beautiful combination of raw emotion and lyrical prose that makes for a read that lingers in the reader’s heart.

Mclemore’s book takes place in a world where fantasy and reality heighten these differences, but several novels approach the idea of magic from an indirect perspective, forcing the reader to re-think what is ordinary versus extraordinary. In The Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black for example, the author pays homage to the legend of Robert Johnson (if you believe the story, that is). Blue Riley is in a desperate race against time to save her sister’s soul. But music may be the key to Blue finding a way to move forward from her mother’s tragic death. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough features other unworldly characters as well; it utilizes love and death as personified characters that fight a centuries old wager through human contestants. A love story that pulls in the tapestry of human history, Brockenbrough’s work is an epic read.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi describes Fabiola’s journey to a strange new world – America. Leaving Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by immigration officials, leaving her to fend for herself among her extended family in Detroit. Paralleling Haitian culture with American, Zoboi’s book is an excellent examination of the issues associated with assimilation and more importantly, current social politics.

While a walk through our own Narnia inspired wardrobe is not possible right now, hopefully these books will give you a brief respite from summertime sun.