I’m gearing up for my Halloween reading frenzy by reading some fantasy novels that really tug at the heartstrings. Before I get to the blood and guts horror of my usual October reads, I thought it might be nice to share these three books you are sure to find moving, though not always in pleasant directions.
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (eAudio only)
Scafloc is stolen as a child and raised by elves, while a half-troll half-elf changeling is left in his place to be raised by humans. Thus begins a Shakespearean tale of family, love, revenge and conquest. Poul Anderson is often considered on the greats of science fiction and there are more than a few who claim his early fantasies are superior to Tolkein’s which were written at roughly the same time. What isn’t up for debate is that Anderson’s fantasies are much darker than his contemporaries and have a dreamy, bewitching atmosphere that others like Michael Moorcock would go on to explore.
The Forgotten Beast of Eld by Patricia McKillip
A powerful woman slowly learns that her heart is not as icy and incapable of love as she once believed. Sybel is a wizard with the ability to control various animals, but she finds herself at a loss after she is given a young child to care for and must deal with the consequences of her love for him. Lyrical, devastating and featuring characters that offer some beautiful insight into the human condition. Fans of Le Guin’s fantasy writings will weep with joy after finding this hidden gem.
The Cloud Road by Martha Well
Moon is a lonely shape shifter with the ability to turn into a great winged demon who must hide his true identity from the humans he lives with. But all of that changes when he encounters another like himself who offers him a place in a tribe of his own, though all is not as it seems. The author is known for her adventurous fantasy writings and this book does not disappoint. Great world-building that feels like a travel guide through a beautifully decaying world. But don’t think it’s all pretty scenery. This story is the perfect balance of character and character-disemboweling!