So Jean of Jean Bookishthoughts is hosting a fantasy readathon from March 2nd to March 10th. The theme is fantasy books written by women, which speaks to my goddamn soul. I have actually never participated in a readathon before, so I have little to no expectations of myself. However, I do know there’s no way in hell that I will all these books in eight days, especially since I have to work full-time for five of those eight days! So, since I’ve been meaning to dedicate some time to fantasy anyway, I figure this is a good time to designate March as fantasy month, so whatever I don’t finish during the readathon (probably like 80% of these books lmao), I will read during the rest of March!
I really cannot overstate how absolutely excited I am for this! Adult fantasy is my favorite genre, but it takes a lot of wading through mediocre crap written by white men to get to the real gems. It’s not a guarantee that a book written by a woman is going to be good, of course, but the chances are certainly much higher that it will at least be free of all the weird sexist crap that men tend to bring with them. Fingers crossed, anyway!
So, you don’t technically have to hit everything on the bingo board; I think that’s just there as a kind of inspiration. But I’ve tried to include at least one book that fits into each category, and it worked out pretty well.
The Tethered Mage
I’d been wholly under the impression that this book was YA, but the author describes it as adult fantasy, so that’s what I’m going with! There’s a really weird tendency to class any fantasy written by a woman about a woman as YA, but considering this is published by Orbit, that definitely makes it adult fantasy, no matter what Goodreads readers think. I’ve seen this author around on Twitter but this book first came on my radar when Madi (The Book Pusher on YouTube) praised it to high heaven. I adore Madi and we have similar taste in fantasy books so I think I’ll like this! I’ve also heard it describeD as Venetian fantasy, and I adore fantasy with canals, so!
Funnily enough, this was a book I’d thought was adult, but is actually YA! I think this was a really popular book when it first came out back in…2012, I think? But I haven’t really heard much about it these days, though the author just released another book. It’s about a world where humans and dragons live side by side, and the heroine is a musician, I think, thrust into a murder mystery at court. Sounds cool!
Ilana C. Meyer
I read this author’s debut and liked it well enough, but gave it a rather lukewarm three stars. I kind of thought it was uninspired. Still, I liked it enough to give her second book a shot. Plus it’s the only standalone fantasy I could find that’s a reasonable length! I really love the cover, which makes this seems like it’s going to be a blend of fantasy and sci-fi, but the summary seems like traditional fantasy, so I don’t know. I’m excited!
Jean really enjoys this book, but I’d seen it floating around Goodreads even before she talked about it. I’m not usually a fan of romance, but I am a fan of the arranged marriage trope! This is also the type of fantasy that’s normally out of my wheelhouse; it’s kind of niche and a little obscure, and I think it’s also self-published! I’ve only ever read a self-published book once in my life and it was a horrendous experience, but I’m hoping this book will change my mind, since I’ve heard good things.
Laurie J. Marks
This is where I’m cheating a little bit, because I’m also counting this as a “published pre-2000” book even though it was actually published in 2002. But I mean, hey, close enough, right? It’s definitely got the look of a 90s antasy book. I first heard about this book at the Sirens Conference a few years back, when there were so few sapphic books on the market that there were only, like, three recommendations of mainstream books featuring sapphic relationships, and this is one of them. It sounds like the type of fantasy that will take some effort to get into but that I will end up loving.
This is a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and will also be my first Juliet Marillier read. It could probably also fit into the romance and historical categories. I know virtually nothing else about this book, but I’m excited to finally give Juliet Marillier’s writing a shot!
Sorcerer to the Crown
I just bought this book like a week ago! And the sequel has finally come out after, what, four years or something? This is a much beloved historical fantasy set in England that I always tended to confuse with V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. It’s something to do with sorcerers in historical England. That’s all I know; I don’t even know what century it’s supposed to take place in. But England and magic? Count me in.
Inspired by Myth
Under the Pendulum Sun
I’ve had this book for ages, since I purchased it at the Sirens Conference a couple of years ago. Honestly? It was entirely a cover buy. I literally saw the cover, snatched it up, and bought it. Didn’t even read the summary, to be totally honest with you. Don’t think I’ve ever done that in my life. But it turned out well, since this is apparently a Gothic, Victorian-inspired tale of faerie. All I’ve heard is that it’s beautifully written and creepy. I’m so excited!
Empire of Sand
This book came out late last year and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it ever since, even though it hasn’t been very hyped up. I’m really intrigued by the summary and the setting (desert fantasy! inspired by Mughal history!) and the arranged marriage trope features here again. And honestly I’m just really in the mood for some good old high fantasy; the fact that it’s written by a POC author is just an added bonus!
Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Julia Meitov Hersey (Translator)
I’m kind of apprehensive about this one. I don’t usually read translated lit, and everything I’ve heard about this book from friends who’ve read it makes it seem impenetrable, confusing, and just plain weird. But those same friends have also rated it very highly, and perhaps it’ll be the kind of weird I’m into.