My friend Rachel @ Paceamorelibri tagged me in this meme, which was created by Zuky @ The Book Bum! I hardly know anyone on here, so I won’t be tagging anyone myself, but feel free to do this if you see it!
ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK
The Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan: Choosing a single favorite book is really difficult for me. There’s so many different criteria one could go by! In the end, I decided to choose my comfort series, the one that I go to when I just want to sink into a world and not think. Obviously, that’s Harry Potter, but I didn’t want to go with Harry Poter, because, what a formulaic answer! So, I decided to go with my second favorite series: Sweep.
Sweep is a weirdly obscure YA series of fourteen very short books about a teenage girl coming into her powers and heritage as a Wiccan. This isn’t your every day Wicca, obviously – Tiernan really, really embellishes (our heroine shapeshifts at one point) but somehow maintains realism by including many factual elements of Wicca.
Why do I love this series so much? I’m not sure. It probably helps that I started reading it at twelve years old, at the height of my burgeoning obsession with magic and witches and all things supernatural. I mean, I’m still tangentially obsessed with Wicca to this day – I have two books on it on my bookshelf! So, clearly, the Wicca element was definitely a significant factor.
Otherwise…I’m not sure I can put it into words. The books are…cozy, in a way. Most of them take place in the small upstate New York town of Widow’s Vale and revolve around Morgan as she discovers her powers and heritage. There’s teen drama, instalove, a love triangle (of sorts), but there’s also some cool subversion of those tropes. There’s road trips and theological discussions and battles between good and evil…there’s a lot. I’m not sure I’m doing a great job selling these books, and I don’t even know if I would love them as much if I read them today and not as a kid. All I know is they’ve been sitting on my shelves for years, and I reach for them whenever I need to sink into something familiar.
HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER
When the Sea is Rising Red & House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen: Felicita Pelim comes from wealth and privilege – but when her best friend commits suicide to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita decides to trade privilege for freedom. She takes to the streets, joins up with a gang, and gets caught up in a plot to destroy the city. In the first book, Felicita isn’t badass so much as resilient, but in the second book, after her marriage and move to another city, her prowess grows. She is every bit a lady, with all the selfishness and pride and willfulness that comes with growing up privileged, but she’s also compassionate, sharp, and snarky as hell. In a city where her family name means little, Felicita fights fiercely to bring justice to members of an oppressed caste who are being murdered and whose human rights are soon to be stripped.
JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVOURITE DEBUT(S)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin: This was Jemisin’s debut as well as my introduction to her. I remember picking this book up at a time when I was just so, so tired of all the generic white male fantasy being recommended to me. I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Jemisin’s book, but I do remember reading that it was unusual in many ways for a fantasy novel, particularly a debut. I loved it completely – it was a totally original world, and the narrative style – though not everyone’s piece of cake – was fantastic. In this book Jemisin explored Gods and creation myths all though the first-person perspective of a young black woman, and it was mind-blowing.
ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVOURITE NON-FICTION BOOK
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: As a nerd who reads a ton of non-fiction, narrowing this down to one book was tough. Eventually, though, it came down to The New Jim Crow. Michelle Alexander’s book is incredible not only because it is written in accessible language and puts forth a resonant thesis, but also because of the sheer amount of eye-opening information it provides. If you think the United States justice system is at all fair to those who aren’t wealthy and white, read The New Jim Crow. This book will completely overturn any false narratives you hold about the United States as a champion of justice.
APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK!)
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Okay, as a YA high fantasy, I don’t know if this book is necessarily for everyone, but I absolutely love it, so I’m including it on here. Not only is Truthwitch is an absolute achievement in worldbuilding, it features two fully fleshed out female leads who love each other more than anything else in the world. Their friendship is the thread that binds the plot together, even as they struggle against coups and political machinations. The magic system is intricate and incredible, and Dennard can write action scenes like nobody’s business.
HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST
Hmm, I don’t think I have a particular book in mind for this! “Evil” is a strong word, and I tend to shy away from books I think I won’t like. I can’t recall anything I’ve read that had a terribly strong effect on me. I will, however, give a shout out to The Continent and The Black Witch, both unpublished books, both coming out of HarperTeen, which perpetuate some really horrifically racist narratives. I haven’t actually read either of them, but I’ve read other folks’ very, very detailed reviews (including a chapter-by-chapter readthrough), and that was definitely enough to convince me that I do not want these books anywhere near me.
POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: I’ve read some of Dickinson’s short stories, and he seems to be fascinated by the concept of extremely difficult choices. A Sophie’s Choice, if you will. This whole novel is one big Sophie’s Choice, but you don’t really find out until the very end, in one of the most shocking, heart-breaking twists I’ve ever come across in literature. The main character, Baru, is an accountant who has had her home colonized by a brutal empire. She grows up with the goal of dismantling said empire and winning her home back, but the choices she has to make to achieve that goal may just break her. This book is utterly devastating. It’s a truly horrifying portrait of the brutal effects imperialism and colonialism has on people.
APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER
The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin: I read a lot of YA, Genre of the Beautiful Covers, so of course I come to you with…a non-YA book cover. It’s another Jemisin book (she’s my favorite author, of course she features twice), from her oft-ignored second series. Most people nowadays praise The Fifth Season (rightly so) or her debut, but her middle series tends to be forgotten, which is such a shame. The Shadowed Sun (and its prequel) feature some truly fantastic and hella creative worldbuilding based on North African myth and culture. As a North African myself, you can bet I loved that. But The Shadowed Sun also includes one of my favorite romances ever, because it is real and raw and unexpected.
HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP
Authority by Jeff VanderMeer: I read the first book in this series and liked it well enough. I thought the second book would begin to answer some of the question posed in the first book. How wrong I was. Basically, Authority is a literary rendering of bureaucratic routine with some occasional weirdness thrown in. Pretty much nothing happens throughout this book; there’s a lot of meandering and asking questions, but nothing is answered or revealed. By the last third of the book I was truly struggling, and I began to skip significant chunks just to get to the end.
HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH
Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia: I finished this book in a day and a half. I remember very clearly that I did not sleep until nearly four am the day I started reading this book, and probably would not have slept if I didn’t have to get up for work in the morning. This book is a murder mystery/thriller, told in alternating perspectives and using flashbacks. It also features one of my favorite tropes, but I won’t say what that is so I don’t spoil the book!