2021 ONTD Reading Challenge discussion

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2018 ♦️ARCHIVES♦️ May > MAY - Men are Weak!

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message 2: by Jamie (last edited Apr 11, 2018 09:47AM) (new)

Jamie Zaccaria | 101 comments I'd like to let everyone know how much I adore the author Libba Bray. Her two main series, A Great and Terrible Beauty (completed trilogy) and The Diviners (trilogy so far but more coming) are fantasy and both are amazing.


message 3: by Sheneve (new)

Sheneve Butler | 12 comments I have a few of these authors are on my to read list, so I'll make sure to read a few in May.


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim | 65 comments If you like space stories check out The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. The sequel is good too


message 5: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
That's sci-fi!!


message 6: by Kim (new)

Kim | 65 comments Lea wrote: "That's sci-fi!!"

I thought it leaned toward fantasy as well. 💁🏼


message 7: by Kat (new)

Kat | 54 comments Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series (https://amzn.to/2Gnlkxo) is fantasy/paranormal. It has Valkyrie, lykaes, vamps, gods & goddesses, demons, nymphs, centaurs, witches, etc. The female characters kick ass. There is lots of smut but plenty of plot too.


message 8: by l. (last edited Apr 14, 2018 04:21PM) (new)

l. Jy yang
Angela carter
Caitlin sweet
Patricia Mckillip
Sherwood smith
Rachel swirsky
Jo walton
Nicola griffith
Katherine Addison
Ellen galford
Kate Elliott
Nisi shawl
Nalo Hopkinson
hiromi goto
SA Chakraborthy
Emily skrutskie
Laura lam
Pamela dean
Jewelle gomez
Melissa bashardoust
Carmen Maria machado
Naomi mitchison
Zen cho
Laurie j marks
Karen lord
Monica furlong
Malinda lo
Robin mckinley
Alyssa Wong
Karen Russell
As byatt
Kameron Hurley
Candas Jane dorsey
Kristin cashore
Barbara Ann Wright
Sarah monette
T kingfisher
Ellen kushner
CSE cooney
Shira glassman
Helen oyeyemi


message 9: by Cathryn (new)

Cathryn (esmenoir) | 32 comments MNLO wrote: "I just downloaded Hobb's Assassin's Fate, look at me and book club finally align!

I love the LiveShip Traders and dragon stories better of that world, but am basically just here for everything Hob..."


8 of the 10 books I've read so far this year are by female authors and I'm totally with you.

I normally never read fantasy, but I've already started reading the Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin and at only 4 chapters in, I'm completely blown away. I think I'll probably try and read the whole trilogy before May is over, but we'll see how it goes.


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 327 comments Mod
Jamie wrote: "Would Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children count?"

No, although it's fantasy it is written by a man :)


message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 327 comments Mod
I'm probably going to read Robin Hobb, I've been meaning to read her for a while.


message 13: by Eve (new)

Eve (eveofrevolution) | 123 comments So far, I have these possibilities:

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
And I Darken
The Abyss Surrounds Us
Children of Blood and Bone

I also had these in mind, but I have a hard time telling where fantasy ends and sci-fi/dystopia begins. Would any of these be satisfactory for the challenge, or are they too far out of the realm of fantasy?

Leia: Princess of Alderaan
The Giver
Dread Nation


message 14: by Undine (new)

Undine | 84 comments I’m gonna go with Valente’s Deathless and Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon.


message 15: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
Eve wrote: "So far, I have these possibilities:"

Ok, so, the first 4 you listed are definitely fantasy. There is apparently some debate about whether Star Wars is fantasy or sci-fi, but I'm calling it sci-fi. The Giver is sci-fi. And Dread Nation is more on the horror side of speculative fiction.


message 16: by Eve (new)

Eve (eveofrevolution) | 123 comments Lea wrote: "Ok, so, the first 4 you listed are definitely fantasy. There is apparently some debate about whether Star Wars is fantasy or sci-fi, but I'm callin..."

Very helpful, and about what I expected! I also decided to check out some of N.K. Jemisin's work as well so I think I have a good list to pull from this month!

Fantasy isn't my usual genre, if you couldn't tell :P


message 17: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Zaccaria | 101 comments Rachel wrote: "Jamie wrote: "Would Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children count?"

No, although it's fantasy it is written by a man :)"


oops, I read the author of the screenplay by mistake. My bad.


message 18: by Susan (last edited Apr 17, 2018 05:18PM) (new)

Susan | 53 comments This is DEFINITELY my month hahaha. I was considering rereading Tales from Earthsea in honour of le Guin this year, this would be the perfect month. And I also have had a gorgeous edition of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell on my shelves for a while, this would be very very good timing. And Jemisin's The Fifth Season looks fantastic. And for audiobooks, I'm still addicted to Bujold's Penric novellas..... but I may end up finishing them in April the rate I'm going haha. Sooooooo many options, there are so many fantastic female authors in this genre <3


message 19: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
If anyone is interested in trying Eastern European/Slavic inspired fantasy:

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente mixes traditional folklore with the Russian Revolution. The result is stunning. Standalone

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is set in a fantasy Poland. The author is Polish-American. One of my absolute faves, it starts as a Beauty and the Beast retelling but turns into its own thing. Standalone

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is set in a fantasy medieval Russia. It's gorgeous and fairytale-like, also includes lots of local folklore. First of a series, but can be read as standalone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I haven't read this, but it's popular with the youths. It's YA and the first of a series


message 20: by Lea (last edited Apr 18, 2018 04:17PM) (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
For Asian inspired fantasy:

The Ghost Bride by Yangzse Choo. Set in colonial Malaya (but the characters are ethnically Chinese), this is a gorgeously written book based on the mythology of the Chinese afterlife. Very unique. I'm a big fan. Standalone

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. This is a new YA release, very popular right now (I'm afraid it's going to be difficult to get a library hold). It's an East Asian fantasy retelling of the Evil Queen legend. YA

Jade City by Fonda Lee. It has been described as a gangster fantasy saga and got great reviews, besides being nominated for a Nebula Award (a very big deal).

Huntress by Malinda Lo. Lesbian YA fantasy with Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon. Inspired by Chinese mythology. YA

Castle in the Air by Dianna Wynne Jones. A fun and cute Aladdin-like story. A sequel of sorts to Howl's Moving Castle, but can be read as standalone.

Black Wolves by Kate Elliott. I haven't read this, but the author is an established fantasy writer. It's epic fantasy with an East Asian setting.

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear. Mongolian setting. The author is an established fantasy writer.

OBS.: I noticed that L. mentioned JY Yang but I don't think they would qualify because they don't identify as a woman. In their website they specifically say they are "non-binary" and only use they/them pronouns.

OBS. 2: If anyone is thinking of picking up The City of Brass (set in 18th century Egypt) by S.A. Chakraborty because they want to read a book by a WOC, she is white. Chakraborty is her married name. However the book did get good reviews.


message 21: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Zaccaria | 101 comments Lea wrote: "If anyone is interested in trying Eastern European/Slavic inspired fantasy:

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente mixes traditional folklore with the Russian Revolution. The result is ..."


thank you for this list!


message 22: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 327 comments Mod
omg thank you Lea!


message 23: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
No problem guys. Hopefully these themed lists will make it easier for people who aren't usually into fantasy to pick something.

For African inspired fantasy:

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor - YA about an albino girl in Nigeria. It got GREAT reviews, and Okorafor also has other famous books including Who Fears Death which is going to be made into an HBO tv series by George RR Martin. While I'm not entirely sure Who Fears Death would qualify here (apparently some people consider it sci-fi) it IS post-apocalyptic, so you could always save it for our post-apocalyptic challenge.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi - this is the YA book that's everywhere right now, it's based on the Orishas. The author, who is Nigerian-American, studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil.

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord - based on a Senegalese folk tale.

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar - this was a Nebula nominee. It was critically acclaimed. I haven't read it, but reviewers mention African, Middle-Eastern, South Asian and South-East Asian influences in the setting.

The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin - Jemisin is one of the most acclaimed fantasy writers today, having won the Hugo Award for Best Novel twice (in a row). This book (first of a duology) is based on Egyptian mythology.


message 24: by l. (new)

l. Jy yang I think says she understands if people group her with women for the purpose of bringing attention to a marginalized group in sff.

Re castle in the air, though I love DWJ, I remember thinking it was old school orientalist.


message 25: by l. (new)

l. Ftr JY Yang identifies as a non binary lesbian iirc.


message 26: by Sasha (new)

Sasha | 104 comments Susan wrote: "This is DEFINITELY my month hahaha. I was considering rereading Tales from Earthsea in honour of le Guin this year, this would be the perfect month. And I also have had a gorgeous edit..."

Same! I have so many fantasy novels written by women on my TBR list. Although, I have started quite a few series recently, so maybe I'll try for a standalone.


message 27: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 327 comments Mod
I bought Assassin's Apprentice after finding it at a used bookstore yesterday. I wanted to read it for this challenge so that worked out well :) I'm going to get some other books too.


message 28: by Andi (new)

Andi (nautiluscapt) | 5 comments For all of you choosing to read Assassins Apprentice. I hope you will soon commit to all sixteen books and love them as much as I love to read. <3 Never have a read such a fantasy series with such scope, world building, friendship (and romance?). <3


message 29: by Rubal (new)

Rubal | 3 comments i think i'll read Dark Things
by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. it looks like fantasy and i want to read more indian authors. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...


message 30: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
I was thinking about how so many fantasy books are part of a series, something not everyone would like to commit to, so I decided to make a list of standalone books that would fit this challenge:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (apparently the author is going to release a sequel, but this was considered standalone for a long time and can be read as such)
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Sunshine by Robin McKinley (she has a lot of standalones)
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (also Ombria in Shadow is standalone)
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones (also Castle in the Air)


message 31: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
Hey everyone, I just found this list of speculative fiction with non-white protagonists. It includes male authors but there are a lot of titles which would apply for this challenge, all helpfully organized by genre, with a few lines about the book itself.

https://theillustratedpage.wordpress....


message 32: by l. (new)

l. Lea wrote: "I was thinking about how so many fantasy books are part of a series, something not everyone would like to commit to, so I decided to make a list of standalone books that would fit this challenge:

..."


it really bums me out that the goblin emperor is stand alone. i needed more.


message 33: by l. (new)

l. re: overlooked women in fantasy, i'd really recommend reading this article on naomi mitchison's 'travel light' by amal el-mohtar (who i love, and you should all check out, her short stories are incredible)

https://www.npr.org/2014/01/01/258384...

I had never encountered Mitchison's work before reading Travel Light. A cursory Googling revealed, to my astonishment, that there were good reasons for me to think of this book and The Hobbit as two sides of my heart's coin: Mitchison and Tolkien were good friends, and Mitchison was among the first readers of The Lord of the Rings before it was published (Travel Light was published in 1952, Lord of the Rings in 1954). Reading further I discovered, to my astonishment, that Mitchison had written more than 90 books, that she died in 1999 at the age of 101, that she had led a spectacular life full of travel and social activism, that she had written science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction and poetry — and that she was nowhere to be found in the canon of genre fiction. Here was a woman who had, in Travel Light, almost certainly written certain points in conversation with The Hobbit, and more: In her Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962), she wrote in the voice of a character who pursued space exploration that privileged communication over conquest; looked at free love, birth control and child-rearing with delight; and seriously considered Islam as a viable religious choice for herself. Naomi Mitchison was imaginative, progressive and astonishing, but in the course of three English degrees — almost 10 years of studying literature — I had never even heard of her.

That Mitchison's life and works should have been so unfairly relegated to secret history drove home my feeling of books as points of divergence to alternate timelines; that having read The Hobbit rather than Travel Light at that fragile, formative moment of being a child in Lebanon standing at a crossroads of languages, religions and literary traditions nudged me into a different life. Who might I have been if I had met Halla Bearsbairn before Bilbo Baggins? How different might my attitude toward dragons have been if I'd met Uggi before Smaug? How different would the spiritual landscapes of fantasy and science fiction be if they had accepted as antecedents works that showed a corrupt Byzantine Christianity and sympathy toward Islam?

But, most crucially for me, I wonder: Where might I have gone if, instead of a middle-aged Hobbit enamored of his pantry, I had embraced a girl who lost three homes before choosing the open road?

I don't regret, at all, having The Hobbit at the core of me, and will defend its songs and riddles and elves and spiders to the end of my days. But reading Travel Light unseamed something in me, made me feel that my certainties needed revisiting, and assured me that somewhere within me was, still, a 7-year-old girl waiting to be beckoned onto a path of luggage-less travel, of dragons and Valkyries, languages and air — and that with Travel Light, she'd taken the first step in their direction.



message 34: by l. (new)

l. Rubal wrote: "i think i'll read Dark Things
by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. it looks like fantasy and i want to read more indian authors. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2..."


vandana singh does fantasy and she's great from the shorts i've read by her. i have one of her short story collections but haven't gotten around to it yet.


message 35: by Lea (new)


message 36: by Tejal (new)

Tejal (ohsodebonair) | 78 comments I had initially earmarked The Salt Line for this month but I think it's much better suited for October's dystopia challenge so I'll save it for then.

Not sure yet what I'll be reading for May but I'm loving all the suggestions so far.


message 37: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Zaccaria | 101 comments Lea wrote: "I was thinking about how so many fantasy books are part of a series, something not everyone would like to commit to, so I decided to make a list of standalone books that would fit this challenge:

..."


thank you! I hate having to commit to a series lol


message 38: by Lucie (last edited Apr 25, 2018 11:13AM) (new)

Lucie | 26 comments Thanks for all the recommendations so far.

I would recommend the 'Sweep' series by Cate Tiernan, it has witches so I think it counts as fantasy?! It's YA, I read and loved the series aged 12-14, in fact I might have a little re-read.

I've been meaning to read The Golem and the Jinni for a while so I'll probably give that a go, and maybe something by Ursula K. Le Guin and/or Diane Wynne Jones.

Otherwise, does anyone know any decent YA vampire-centric fiction? Preferably a series? I've been reading a lot of hard-core classics (Heart of Darkness - brilliant writing, but heck, never again!) so I fancy something a bit fun.


message 39: by Cecil (new)

Cecil | 24 comments Going to read The Goblin Emperor for this month because I loved Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet (see Mélusine) back in the day, but I never really kept up with her after she finished it.

Lucie wrote: "Otherwise, does anyone know any decent YA vampire-centric fiction? Preferably a series?"

Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules might be what you're looking for. I haven't read the other two in the trilogy yet, but the first was very good.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 53 comments Cecilia wrote: "Going to read The Goblin Emperor for this month because I loved Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet (see Mélusine) back in the day, but I never really kept up wit..."

Oh I looooooooveeeeeeeed The Goblin Emperor. And the Doctrine of Labyrinths series. I hate that they're so inaccessible to read because I would absolutely be recommending them to everyone.


message 41: by Tejal (last edited Apr 26, 2018 01:27AM) (new)

Tejal (ohsodebonair) | 78 comments Some years ago I began the Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini. I realised that I still haven't read the final book of the trilogy, Goddess, so I might use this month to complete that since it fits the challenge.


message 42: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (inmybookcase) I'm gonna read A Wizard of Earthsea for this challenge, but I also ordered Assassin's Apprentice and if it arrives before the end of the month, I'll read that as a part of the challenge as well.


message 43: by Sam (new)

Sam (samjunipero) | 41 comments I'm gonna read The Ghost Bride


message 44: by l. (new)

l. I just read Gossamer Axe by Gael Baudino. Essentially, this woman's girlfriend is captured by the Sidh and she finds that she can get her back thru music, specifically thru forming an all metal band, lol. It could have been campy fun, but instead it dealt (poorly) with csa and substance abuse and hiv/aids, and I ended up feeling bitter about it.


message 45: by phoenix_singing (last edited May 09, 2018 06:53AM) (new)

phoenix_singing (icanhasbooksplease) | 6 comments Lea wrote: "If anyone is interested in trying Eastern European/Slavic inspired fantasy:

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente mixes traditional folklore with the Russian Revolution. The result is ..."


Oh snap! This reminded me that I've had Uprooted on my Kindle for months and haven't actually gotten around to reading it. So I've found my book for the month!

(Also hello hi I'm a few months late to the challenge but here I am!)

Also, I'm going to grab The Ghost Bride, and I'm phoenix_singing (she of the cornkitty icon) on ONTD.


message 46: by Errlee (new)

Errlee | 3 comments Would Carry On by Rainbow Rowell count? So many of the suggestions seem like "hard core" fantasy. I tried The Fifth Season but just could not get into it ... felt like I needed to take notes to keep up.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Harry Potter, or books in that ilk. Or do they not qualify as fantasy?


message 47: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (inmybookcase) Errlee wrote: "Would Carry On by Rainbow Rowell count? So many of the suggestions seem like "hard core" fantasy. I tried The Fifth Season but just could not get into it ... felt like I needed to take notes to kee..."

I would say HP is fantasy, but I think it's not mentioned because of how popular it is, or because most of us probably read it, and it's a good opportunity to discover other female fantasy authors.


message 48: by Cecil (last edited May 17, 2018 06:31PM) (new)

Cecil | 24 comments Errlee wrote: "Would Carry On by Rainbow Rowell count? So many of the suggestions seem like "hard core" fantasy. I tried The Fifth Season but just could not get into it ... felt like I needed to take notes to kee..."

uhhh...isn't that like just YA realistic fiction? Probably not.

As for HP, JKR is literally the first recommendation link in the thread. If you're like specifically looking for YA fantasy though, there are several mentioned throughout this thread. Shadow and Bone, Huntress, Akata Witch, etc.

And in regards to Jemisin's work, you may have been better off trying The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms first.


message 49: by Errlee (new)

Errlee | 3 comments From what my son tells me, Carry On is basically Harry Potter so no I don’t think it’s realistic YA fiction...

And I think I didn’t get my point across exactly ... I wasn’t referring to Harry Potter specifically as a recommendation, but just books in that vein. As in a different genre of fantasy than the creation of a whole different world/planet with its own vocabulary and sets of rules etc. For some reason, although I used to read Tolkien and Marion Zimmerman Bradley, Piers Anthony etc. I don’t enjoy them like I used to.

So I was just wondering about other types of books ... like Levi Grossman’s The Magician series (male I know) or The Discovery of Witches trilogy... I think Dr.Strange and Mr. Norell has been mentioned but was curious about other suggestions.

And no, not a big YA reader actually - Carry On was just a bit of a desperation pick since it’s sitting on my teen’s shelf and also ticks an LGBTQ+ box for another challenge :]


message 50: by Lea (new)

Lea | 326 comments Mod
I think Carry On would probably count, it's Harry Potter fanfiction so it at least ought to have some fantasy elements to it, though I never read it.

Other than that, I'm not entirely sure of the kind of recs you're looking for, Errlee, maybe you can be more specific? Is it fantasy books that are set on Earth, like a parallel reality? Or fantasy books set on contemporary Earth? Because technically, Harry Potter does have its own vocabulary and set of rules, even though it's set in contemporary UK. So does Jonathan Strange, and that story takes place in the Regency period (or whereabouts, haven't read it).

So in the lists posted above you can find books that are set "on Earth" but are sort of "historical" like Jonathan Strange, like The Ghost Bride, Uprooted, The Bear and the Nightingale, The Golem and the Djinni...

If you want fantasy set "on Earth" with a contemporary setting, maybe try the Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater? There's Akata Witch, Vicious by VE Schwab, many vampire books like Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series and Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, The Mediator series by Meg Cabot...


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