Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure

I have realized that some of my favorite recent fantasy reads have featured an elaborate heist adventure at the center of the story. Heist fantasies offer the magic, action and adventure that will keep you turning pages while they also feature characters on the margins of society, grifters and scrappy survivors whose struggles and high-stakes schemes and scrapes propel the narrative. While these fantasies offer characters you will root for, they present the thrill and danger of life lived on a knife’s edge. Here are some examples of heist fantasies I enjoyed:

image of book cover for Six of CrowsLeigh Bardugo’s teen fantasy duology Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom introduce a motley cast of characters led by Kaz, a mysterious young man known as Dirtyhands who masterminds a den of thieves in Ketterdam’s Dregs. While the characters are teens, this is a dark fantasy world of deep class distinctions and the youth in Kaz’s crew have all encountered very adult, traumatic events in their lives. Their mistreatment by the world bonds them as they undergo a suicide mission trying to break out a man with valuable secrets from the most heavily guarded stronghold in the land.

Foundryside image of book cover for Foundrysideby Robert Jackson Bennett
Sancia is a crafty thief, a young woman with a troubled past and a body that has been altered for reasons unclear to her. In this world, objects are scrived with magic to do the bidding of their spells–scrivening powers carriages, warehouses and more. Powerful houses control the city and each strive to unlock secret magics that were lost to time. Sancia’s latest job sets her on a heist that may just mean her life as the underbelly of the ruling families’ machinations come closer into her view. A fast-paced, character driven and atmospheric fantasy that ends with a promise of more. The clever magic systems and headstrong heroine reminded me a lot of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire.

image of book cover for A Darker Side of MagicA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
There are four Londons, each a strange mirror of the other. One man strides through all of these worlds, even to the worlds where magic has died. Kell smuggles magical artifacts for a price, despite the fact that it is strictly forbidden. When Kell’s path crosses with the spitfire thief and aspiring pirate Lila, they find themselves both entangled in the darkness that is unleashed when a thieved object opens a veritable Pandora’s box of power. Fast-paced, dark and violent, this is a fantasy for thrill-seekers.

~posted by Misha S.

Rick Riordan Presents

In early 2017, acclaimed author Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame, announced he would be leading an imprint from Disney, with the goal of publishing “great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.”

He had been constantly asked by fans of Percy Jackson or the Kane Chronicles, “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native American? What about Chinese?” Riordan could have easily written books about those topics, but instead decided to use his privilege to lift up the voices of those he could have just as easily overshadowed. Rick Riordan Presents leverages his position and experience to help put a spotlight on writers “who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience.”

Thus far, two books have been released:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah lives with her archaeologist mom at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. She hangs out in Spider-Man pjs, dreams of spending more time with her always-traveling mom, and really wants to impress her private school classmates. After lighting a supposedly cursed lamp in the museum, Aru frees an ancient demon whose job is to awaken the God of Destruction. People start freezing in place, and things don’t look great for Aru. Clearly in over her head, Aru must locate the other reincarnations of the legendary Pandava brothers, journey into the Kingdom of Death (& Costco), acquire some magical weapons, and eventually save the world! Continue reading “Rick Riordan Presents”

A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time designated to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions – historical and ongoing – of American Indians and Alaska Natives. You can check out a booklist of novels by Native American authors published in the past five years in our catalog. Highlighted here are three outstanding novels from 2018.

Book cover image for Where the Dead Sit TalkingWhere the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson is narrated by Sequoyah as he looks back on 1989, the year he was 15. That year, after his mother is sent to jail on a drug charge, Sequoyah finds himself in foster care with the Troutts, alongside another Native American foster kid, Rosemary. He reflects back on his friendship with Rosemary, the strangeness of that time, and the way it contributed to who he became. A masterful coming-of-age novel. Shortlisted for the National Book Award. Continue reading “A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month”

New Fiction Roundup – November 2018

11/6: The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco – In 1887, Alma Rosales goes undercover as a man to hunt for an opium shipment missing from a Washington Territory outpost.

11/6: The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith – In this latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe finds herself running for office, much to her dismay.

11/6: The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem – Phoebe enlists the help of a loner with a pet possum to look for her friend’s missing daughter in California’s Inland Empire. Hailed as Lethem’s return to detective fiction. Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – November 2018”

Audiobook Narrator Spotlight: Robin Miles

Actor, audiobook director and performer Robin Miles has narrated hundreds of audiobooks. Miles has the ability to convincingly recreate a huge range of speech patterns and accents, conveying more about a character than comes across through their words alone. After an experience narrating the horror book The Good House by Tananarive Due, she realized she could leverage this ability to take on more audiobook work in the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy genres, whose stories typically require more range to portray a large diversity of character-types and voices. Robin Miles is now an industry legend, and a recent inductee of the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. Here are a few titles read by Miles in the collection:

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

In 1927 and 1931, author Zora Neale Hurston met and interviewed Cudjo Lewis, the last person alive who had been enslaved and transported from Africa as part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. A Peak Pick! Continue reading “Audiobook Narrator Spotlight: Robin Miles”