I can’t even today. Every time I think that a certain political candidate could not possibly make me angrier, I somehow get more incensed. It’s at the point now where I know I have to disengage or give myself an aneurism from all the angstyness that people are STILL supporting this – I don’t even feel like there’s a word bad enough to call him – candidate. My only consolation is that it will all be over in about 4 weeks (for better or worse).
I was thinking about doing a post about all the feminist reasons to abhor this man, but I realized that all that info is out there in spades on the internet. And this isn’t a political blog, it’s a book/writing blog.
So, escapism it is!
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my politics with a heavy dose of magic and/or the supernatural. So instead of a rant, I present to you 4 Fantasy books in which the government plays an active character. But don’t worry, it’s not anything like your government today. Have at them and try and forget that America is such a mess right now.
Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell: There’s a new big box store going into the sleepy hamlet of Lychford. Local crank Judith doesn’t care a bit about jobs or modernization, but she does care about the site plan. Lychford lies on the boundary of two worlds. If the supermarket is built it will destroy all wards forever, unleashing demonic destruction on the world. Judith has to convince the town to stop construction, but she’ll need some unlikely allies to make it happen…
The book is spunky and hilarious, with a few serious moments to make it really a good book. It’s a novella, which means it’s a quick read, and it’s everything you ever wanted in a Walmart fight, with actual demons, witches dancing under the moonlight, fae in the forests, and magic markings on the doors.
Chalice by Robin McKinley: The last Master and Chalice died in a horrible fire after doing unspeakable things to the land. Now it is up to beekeeper Marisol (the new Chalice) and the old Master’s brother (a priest of fire who may not be quite human anymore) to heal the land and stabilize the country, before the Overlord can launch a coup for power that will certainly damage the land irreparably.
This book is one in which nothing happens and everything happens all at once, like McKinley does best. It’s so internal, so based on looks and gestures, or subtle power plays. But you still feel the seriousness of it as you fall in love with the land. I never put this book down without wanting to move to the middle of nowhere and keep bees with the man I’m in love with.
The Lives of Christopher Chant by Dianna Wynne Jones: Christopher’s parents are both powerful enchanters who hate each other. But Christopher himself doesn’t appear to be magical at all, unless you count the marvelous lands he visits in his dreams. His only friend is his Uncle Ralph, who sends him on missions to bring back things from those strange lands as a game. But when Christopher is told that he’s supposed to train to become the next Chrestomanci, the president of all magic in the land, his loyalties are thrown out of whack and he isn’t sure who to trust anymore. Or that he’ll even want to become the next Chrestomanci at all.
I just can’t say enough about this book. It turns all fantasy tropes on its heels and features one of those perfect Dianna Wynne Jones plots where everything is absolutely nuts, random, and up in the air, but somehow it resolves into a plot that was always perfectly right and organized by the end. You just didn’t know it. My favorite person in the book is the priestess Asheth. She always wants Christopher to bring her “exotic” books featuring Millie and her boarding school adventures. It’s technically a children’s book, but it’s definitely complex and fun for adults, too.
Voices: Memer is a daughter of the Oracle House, a place the conquerors and occupiers of the town Ansul are sure is filled with demons. Reading and writing are punishable by death, and Oracle House is the only place that books now exist in the town, locked up in a secret room. When the famous traveling minstrel, Orrec, arrives with his wife Gry to tell stories to the soldiers, Memer begins to see how important story really is. Important enough that it could give Ansul back it’s peace and freedom, could give the people enough bravery to rebel against their oppressors.
I don’t know why I’m in love with this book so much, because it’s a serious read that deals with grave topics that surround war. Memer herself is the daughter of a rape. But Memer is so beloved, and the world so vibrant, that you root for the townsfolk and their freedom wholeheartedly. It’s got a magic to it that’s hard to define, partly (I think) because it feels so real. This could be a history of somewhere you’ve never heard of, and it ends with so much hope.
So that’s my recommendation. As always, happy reading! And together maybe we can avoid imploding from election drama… Maybe.