I'm excited to share with you a few of my favorite books, books that captured my imagination and that I’ve read over and over again.
Synopsis: Elantris was the beautiful, powerful capital of Arelon, filled with magical demigods who were once normal people until they were transformed by the Shaod. But ten years ago, the magic failed, and those beings turned into leper-like creatures who couldn’t die but who also felt constant pain from every injury. Being transformed by the Shaod became a curse, and the Elantrians were locked in their city, which is now crumbling and dark. The book opens with Princess Sarene of Teod arriving for her marriage to Crown Prince Raoden, hoping, based off of their correspondence, to find love but instead finding that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell, so Sarene decides to use her new status to counter Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Arelon to convert its people. But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. He has actually been transformed by the Shaod and secretly exiled by his father to Elantris, where he tries to help the others trapped there and unravel the mystery of the failed magic.
I love this book because, like most of Brandon Sanderson’s books, the story is complex, with multiple subplots and a very well-fleshed out magic system. I also admire Sarene, who stands up to her bully father-in-law and champions the women of the court. As a woman, a widow, and a foreigner, she has very little power, but she seizes it and uses her considerable wits to bring about change. I also have to admire Raoden, who doesn’t just give up when he is thrown into Elantris. And even Hrathen becomes human and admirable for sticking to his beliefs.
Synopsis: When a young woman vanishes without a trace, her parents turn to the last prospect they can find for hope: Autumn Rain. Autumn reads imprints—emotions left behind on certain objects. Only she can shed light on their daughter’s last thoughts. Reading imprints takes a toll on Autumn and it doesn’t help that Detective Shannon Martin, the detective on the case, usually treats her more like a suspect than a consultant. Then Private Detective Ethan McConnell, whose widowed sister has gone missing under similar circumstances, also comes to Autumn for help. Are the cases connected? Autumn’s involvement sets in motion a series of events that risk not only her own life, but the lives of those she cares about most.
This book is, at its core, a mystery, but it also has paranormal elements and a touch of romance. I loved the interactions between Autumn and Shannon, and I also liked learning more about Autumn’s strange ability and how she uses it to solve cases. I also loved that this isn’t a simple mystery; there are a lot of threads that come together in an unexpected and satisfying way. This book is the start of a series, and throughout it and the rest of the series, Autumn’s ability, her character, and her relationships develop.
Synopsis: Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, grew up listening to her aunt's stories and learning the language of the birds. She can talk to animals, but she has never felt comfortable speaking with people, unlike her her best friend and lady-in-waiting, Selia, who has the power of people-speaking. When Ani is sent away to be married in a foreign land, Selia engineers a mutiny on the way there, stealing Ani’s identity so Selia can have a life of luxury. Ani, barely surviving and fleeing for her life, is left destitute, and to survive, she takes on work as a royal goose girl. Of course, she ends up meeting, and liking, the prince, but there is nothing she can do. If she ever came forward, Selia would have her killed immediately, and besides, who would believe the words of a clumsy-tongued goose girl over the words of the silver-tongued princess and her loyal servants?
This book has a nice blend of magic and romance, along with a lot of character growth for Ani, who is likeable to begin with but not at all strong or confident. I enjoyed watching her character and her magic develop. She at first resigns herself to her fate as a goose girl, but as she makes friends, grows, and learns about this new land, she come to realize that the country, and the prince, need her.
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of the fantasy and paranormal genres. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite books are in the comments below!