Happy Sunday readers! Today’s Sunday stack prompt was Battles, Quests, and Journeys and I absolutely loved picking books for this stack. I feel like these three things can make or break an adventure novel, and when they are pulled off beautiful it often makes a book my firm favourite.
I tried to pick a range of genres but ended up with fantasy and retellings but each of these books has a very special place in my heart so I can’t wait to share them with you.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (*****) – I recently discovered this series and I am absolutely loving it. Steeped in Arabic mythology and culture, this series follows Nahri as she discovers her heritage as a daeva – a genie – as she journeys to the city of Daevabad, a beautiful city made of brass. The journey is filled with danger and hidden secrets, and when she eventually gets to Daevabad she discovers the journey has only just begun.
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for… – Good Reads
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (*****) – I think this may just be one of my favourite reads of the year. Miller retells the imfamous story of the Trojan War and the Legend of Achilles, humanising our hero and painting him in a totally new and vulnerable light. The battles series and the journeys that the two central character endure truly pulled on my heart strings and I was a messed when it finished. My full review can be found here.
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. – Good Reads
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davies (***) – If you are looking for an action packed YA dystopian that challenges social boundaries, this is the book for you. Escaping slavery and the law, the characters set off on a journey to freedom, each page so action pack that I tore through every page. You can see my full review here.
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive. – Good Reads
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (*****) – This is one the cleverest retellings I have come across. A retelling of Dracula but an origin story for Dracula’s wives, this story is steeped in gothicism, folklore, and fantasy. I read this is one day and am desperate for a reread.
They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate… – Good Reads
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (*****) – This read seemed to take the book world by storm, and rightly so. I really enjoyed this read, but it was the final chapters and the battle it involved that really wowed me. The sass and drama left me tearing through every page. You can read my full thoughts here.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it. – Good Reads
What are your favourite battles, quests, and journeys?