With Christmas and the end of the year looming (eek!), we here at Christchurch City Libraries have been pondering our favourite reads of the year. As a dedicated mystery reader, I was a little surprised when, on reflection, I noticed that many of my favourite books of the year were fantasy
Call me a convert! The fantasy books I've read this year, whether they were new in 2019 or just new to me, were sublime. My particular poison of choice within fantasy are fairytale retellings (check out our Fantasy Reading Guides for a break-down of the genre), but there's so much out there!
Yet, I've been finding that it can sometimes be quite tricky to find fantasy as physical Large Print books. Why is this? Short answer: I don't really know. The more helpful answer: there are a few ways around it. The main one that comes to mind is to try the audiobook, and the other is to give an eBook a go.
Lots of books come in eBook format now, especially within libraries, and the beauty of it is, you can change the font size (check out my previous blog to find out how). This opens up whole new worlds of possibilities for books to read if you can't find a physical copy, especially for harder-to-find genres, like fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
Without further ado, I have a list of a few fantasy reads that fit across the genre, and can make for some great holiday reading.
With this being the last Little Blog of Large Print for 2019, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
A selection of Fantasy fiction in accessible formats including Large Print (hard copy fantasies can be hard to find, it seems), digital and CD Audiobooks, and eBooks.
Despite the surge of Christianity in ‘Rus, the old demons (some good, some not-so-good) still roam. When dark forces threaten her tiny village on the edge of the forest, Vasilisa, must embark on an epic journey to save her family, her home, and find her freedom. This awesome tale is the first of a trilogy that draws from Russian folklore with elements of magic, superstition and a church that firmly disapproves of any progressive thinkers. Be prepared to read all three books- they’re enthralling and magical, and the story is continuous throughout the trilogy.
This one was my absolute favourite read this year! From author Naomi Novik, this one was the 2016 Nebula winner. I was so impressed by Spinning Silver, that I dived into this one a few months later. Agnieszka loves her village in the valley, though they have a Dragon who regularly takes a girl for tribute. The catch: he isn't a real dragon, but an immortal wizard. The story takes so many different turns, and unfolds beautifully with a gripping plot, and stunning characters.
The world is ending, all the portents are indicating that time is up for humanity and the human world. Two angels (one fallen) have a long connection with humanity and don't really want to see the end. Together they cooperate in an attempt to stave off the apocalypse in a rollicking adventure of good vs evil.
The first of the new Firemane Saga by epic fantasy king, Raymond E. Feist. Set in the world of Garn, four kingdoms are on the brink of war. There were once five kingdoms, but the King of Ithrace was defeated by the ruthless King of Sandura, who has plans of world domination. All of the Ithracian royals were killed in the process. Or so they thought. This book marks the start of another promising series from Feist, featuring smuggled-away newborn princes, intrigue, and adventure. A good one for fans of 'Magician'.
Part of Pratchett's Discworld series, Going Postal is a hilarious Monty Python-esque fantasy. Moist von Lipwig is a fraud and conman who's been caught and faces a choice: the noose, or get Ankh-Morpork's decrepit and failing postal service going again. the choice may seem obvious, but with the new clacks (something like a light-beacon-telegram) trying to put the postal service out of business permanently, and a golem as a parole officer, Moist has his work cut out for him.
A combination of fantasy and non-fiction, Neil Gaiman's retelling of stories from Norse mythologies make for a fascinating and highly entertaining read, that are both captivating and informative, for fans who enjoy non-fiction and/or folklore fantasy.
In a world where books are met with fear and stigma, Emmett Farmer is torn from his father's farm to become a binder's apprentice. Only this is not normal book binding; here people have their memories and secrets bound into books, to be stored away forever or sold by unscrupulous binders. All goes relatively smoothly until Emmett meets Lucian Darnay, a young aristocrat who comes to Emmett's teacher for a binding, and then discovers a book in his teacher's storehouse with his own name on it. A fantastic piece of romantic historical-fantasy that pulls you into it.
Neverwhere takes place mostly in a magical, unseen version of the London Underground. When Richard Mayhew stops to save a wounded homeless girl on the streets of London, he is plunged out of his pleasant, ordinary life and into London Below. Below is a darker London, a city of the people who have fallen through the cracks, a city of monsters and angels, knights in armour, pockets of lost time, powerful magical families, and pale girls in black velvet. One of my personal favourites of Gaiman's.
A captivating fantasy set in eighteenth-century Cairo, the new world of bustling markets and the outcasts swindling the rich exists alongside the old world- a world full of magic, and stories of djinn and spirits. Nahri isn't like most others, who wish their lives were filled with this magic. She uses tricks and sleight of hand. not magic. Her only wish is to leave Cairo. When Nahri accidentally summons a djinn, her wish comes true, and is forced into this world of magic and adventure.
A fascinating mix of supernatural, Victorian, steampunk and romance, this first of a series is a treat for those who like something funny and a bit different. Alexia Tarabotti is a preternatural- a 'soulless' who can neutralise supernatural powers. In an alternate England, Vampires and Werewolves are part of Victorian civilised society. Expect large doses of wit, drama, adventure and some great humour. (First in a series)