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Wishing for Fantasy with Endless Legends?: Wish Granted with The Last Wish

16 Dec

In a world of magic spells, mythical creatures and fantasy lands you would think nothing could go wrong, right? In the world of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher, nature was filled with life until the humans came and wiped out sacred elf lands and the homes of other races. Eventually they began to use magic to alter the chemistry of a human to enhance themselves in order to kill stronger creatures. The ritual extracts emotions from the person and gives them great power. The rest of the world does not see these people as humans anymore, but instead as “witchers.” Vagabonds who roam the lands seeking for work, give the Witcher money and the Witcher will slay your village monster. You are introduced to “Geralts of Rivia” the most famous witcher known for slaying the most impossible of creatures. If you love fantasy and adventure then this is the book for you.

I found this book interesting seeing that it feels more like a collection of short stories with the same main character than a single narrative, which to me gives a new twist and feel to the world. You get to meet many fascinating characters. Although the Witcher encounters some people, and some monsters, if Andrzej Sapkowski were to take away the description of their physical attributes you could not tell whether or not the Witcher is talking to a person or beast.

Though the Witcher walks the path in-between, in this world the ugly may be fair and the beautiful may be foul. All people and monsters alike fear and hate the witchers. This makes Geralts life more difficult, yet he seems to be different from the other witchers. Geralts has been shown to have some emotions which are unheard of in the world of the witcher. If you are interested in fantasy adventures with a great detailed world filled with mystery and endless legends then the Last Wish might just be your first wish. Available now at eLibraryNJ and eBCCLS as ebooks and digital audiobooks.

Written by:
Andre Lebron
Circulation Assistant

Fantasy Romances Inspired by Classic Literature: Without a Summer and Defy or Defend

4 Nov

Although mashups of classic literature with monsters such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Emma and the Vampires had a moment, some authors rather than simply splicing in elements of fantasy, instead take the source material as a place for inspiration, weaving in their own unique characters. In her afterword for Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal thanks Jane Austen from who she says, she “stole three sentences and the essential character arc of Emma.”  In her Author Afterthoughts, Gail Carriger notes, “Before you ask, Defy or Defend is indeed an ode to the fantastic Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.”  Both stories may have been inspired by classic works, but they have their own unique twists and I highly recommend them.

Without A Summer
I was intrigued by Without a Summer first because of its setting during an unusually cold year in 1815 during which crops failed worldwide and snow even fell in New York in June.  This was notable for keeping Mary Shelly inside during a house party when she wrote her novel Frankenstein.  The cause is suspected to have been from the eruption of Mount Tambora in April in what is now Indonesia and another smaller eruption that had happened the year before in the Philippines. 

In Without A Summer though Cold Mongers who can use ether to provide cooling breezes and sometimes even make ice are suspected of a nefarious plot which is causing the climate change.  A match making sister, Jane, who along with her husband have been hired to create a Glamural in a ballroom for a wealthy family becomes caught up in this political intrigue.  Unlike regular murals a glamural is not simple painted, but magically comes to life.  I thought the fantasy elements were well integrated into the historic setting.  The book is third in The Glamourist Histories.  You can check it and the first novel in the series Shades of Milk and Honey out from eBCCLS.

Defy or Defend  
Gail Carriger is one of my favorite authors and I’d say this rates amongst the whimsical best of hers that I have read.  Defy or Defend is the second novella in her Delightfully Deadly Series set in the 1860s, which are a spinoff of her Finishing School Series, all of which takes place in the Parasolverse an whimsical gaslight fantasy look at the past that merges humor, romance, and often a bit of mystery. The Finishing School Series unlike the rest of her work was written for Young Adults and was set at school for spies.  Although Defy or Defend follows up with an adult version of Dimity, it is not necessary to have read The Finishing School Series beforehand (though you should read them since they are enjoyable for adults as well as teens). 

In Defy or Defend Dimity’s mission is to find out why a vampire hive has gone “Goth” and to see if she can turn things around before it is necessary to exterminate the problem.  The romance between Dimity and Crispin is sweet. Dmity’s efforts to bring some color in to the lives of the dark and gloomy vampires is a fun romp and if you enjoyed the book or terrific film version of Cold Comfort Farm as I did, you will want to check this out. 

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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