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Mystified by magic? Love to marvel at the magnificence of new realms? Or maybe you love to read about wars fought by strange beings in strange lands… Head off on an adventure with our specially selected fantasy books.
Jean lives in an America in which women have been forced to surrender all freedoms and are restricted to speaking 100 words a day, for the new government has decreed that women need to be Pure. They need to learn a lesson, as do gays and lesbians, who’ve been herded into camps. As to how this happened, the novel is sharp on collective collusion, and also shows the consequences of the coward’s sidestepping “I was only following orders” excuse. Indeed, the excruciating personal repercussions of the new regime are piercingly portrayed. Jean doesn’t have enough words to read bedtime stories to her daughter. One of her sons spouts patriarchal propaganda he’s picked up in class. Quite simply, it’s hard for her not to hate her male kin at times. Then, Jean’s constraints in this censorious new world loosen a little when she’s told that the President’s brother has sustained a brain injury and her seminal aphasia research means she’s called on to cure him. As this powerful debut unfolds, undulating with personal conflicts and the discovery of sinister political programs, it also explores the essentialness of speech. It serves as a potent reminder to speak out when you’re able, for speech deprivation, whether due to force or illness, is a painful state of existence. Shocking, suspenseful and compulsive, this is a formidable cautionary tale for our time.
Stephen Leeds, also known as 'Legion', has a unique mental condition. He can become an expert on any subject in hours . . . and with every new area of expertise a new 'aspect' of Stephen is created. Is he schizophrenic? Possibly. Does that make him an incredible intelligence agent? Definitely. And this is his final, and perhaps his strangest, adventure. It begins with two unrelated events: the disappearance of Armando, one of Stephen's many aspects, and an unexpected cry for help from Sandra, the woman who, many years before, helped him learn to live with his condition . . . and the combination of the two leads to a sinister high-tech firm specializing in advanced methods of human incarceration. An original, challenging, and utterly absorbing story, this unmissable novella showcases Stephen Leeds at his best: a compelling hero, and a man constantly struggling to understand and control his own divided nature.
Welcome to the dark decadence of Dhonielle Clayton's sharp tale of beauty, obsession and magic. . . I AM A BELLE. I CONTROL BEAUTY. In the opulent world of Orleans, beauty is power. And only through a Belle's abilities can perfection be achieved . . . though the results always fade. Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle - the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family. But behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater - and far deadlier - than she ever imagined. When the queen asks Camellia to use her powers to save the life of the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: refuse the queen to protect herself and the lives of her Belle sisters, or obey, and change their world forever. Because there's a reason such magic is forbidden . . . The Belles asks powerful questions about the price we put on our bodies - and holds up a mirror to our obsession with perfection
WINNER- AUTHOR OF THE YEAR, BRITISH BOOK AWARDS Philip Pullman's magnificent bestseller is now in paperback, with new additional illustrations. A coming of age story like no other . . . Malcolm Polstead's Oxford life has been one of routine, ordinary even. He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage. But now as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta is, it seems, set to become increasingly far from ordinary. Finding himself linked to a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra for ever . . .
Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a passing stage coach into the deep snow at the side of the road. And none of them are drawn into a fight to protect her. One of the others might have realised she was manipulating him all along . . . A powerful story about beginnings, coming of age, and the way choosing to take one step towards violence can lead to a slippery and dangerous slope, this is an accomplished fantasy series driven by strong characters and fast-paced action.
In a beautiful compound hidden away from the world, Emeline Sanchez tries to blunt the pain that has wracked her body ever since her terrifying ordeal in the labyrinth beneath the city - when she was forced to exchange blood with an evil master vampire. Now, it's his voice that haunts her... that calls to her in the dark... that never lets her rest. And while the children that she helped to free from his clutches struggle to heal, watched over by their Carpathian protectors, Emeline knows one thing: she must sacrifice herself to keep them all from harm... For her beauty is irresistible to the vampires, her psychic ability like a drug. Whipped into a frenzy, they'll never stop coming for her. And only the taste of one Carpathian warrior - the rush of his blood - can save her...
At first it is a nightmare. When the invaders arrive, the world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed. Then it is a dream. With no adults left to run things, Violet and the others who have escaped capture are truly free for the first time. They can do whatever they want to do. They can be whoever they want to be. But the invaders won't leave them alone for long... This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of a young trans girl who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over her city.
The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel-the opening installment in a thrilling quartet-a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope. A dark power known as the Talisman has risen in the land. Born of ignorance and persecution, it is led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher. A superstitious patriarchy, cruel and terrifying, the Talisman suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing. But there are those who seek to stop the oppressive spread of the Talisman. A resistance formed of the Companions of Hira - a group of rebels versed in the power of ancient scripture, a magic known as the Claim - believe they have discovered the key to destroying the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint.
Lud-in-the-Mist - a prosperous country town situated where two rivers meet: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie, is a great trial to Lud, which had long rejected anything 'other', preferring to believe only in what is known, what is solid. Nathaniel Chanticleer is a somewhat dreamy, slightly melancholy man, not one for making waves, who is deliberately ignoring a vital part of his own past; a secret he refuses even to acknowledge. But with the disappearance of his own daughter, and a long-overdue desire to protect his young son, he realises that something is changing in Lud - and something must be done. Lud-in-the-Mist is a true classic, an adult fairy tale exploring the need to embrace what we fear and to come to terms with 'the shadows' - those sweet and dark impulses that our public selves ignore or repress.
Simon Spanton, formerly Associate Publisher of Gollancz, the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK, joined the editorial team of Lovereading in 2016 with a brief to select and review the very best titles in the fields of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror including those he believes may become the stars of tomorrow.
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: