A dark fantasy Norse myth retelling for fans of Circe, The Witch’s Heart, and The Silence of the Girls
Perhaps you know the myths. Furious, benevolent Gods. A tree that binds nine realms. A hammer stronger than any weapon. And someday, the end of everything.
But few have heard of me.
Looking back, it’s easy to know what choices I might have made differently. At least it feels that way. I might have given up on my title. Told my father he was useless, king of Gods or no, and left Asgard. Made a life somewhere else.
Maybe I would never have let Loki cross my path. Never have fallen in love. But there’s no going back. We were happy once. And the price for that happiness was the end of everything.
Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to be taking part in my first blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours for The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories about Mythic Heroes by Rick Riordan, Carlos Hernandez, Roshani Chkoshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda and Graci Kim.
Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY (US only, sorry international friends)—details are at the end of my post, and don’t forget to check out the other blogs on tour in the schedule posted after my thoughts!
Special thanks to Rick Riordan Presents for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents ten new stories–including one of his own–about beloved heroes that sprang from the imaginations of some of the best middle grade authors working today.
A cave monster . . . an abandoned demon . . . a ghost who wants to erase history . . . a killer commandant . . . These are just some of the challenges confronting the young heroes in this highly entertaining anthology.
All but one of the heroes previously starred in a popular book from Rick Riordan Presents. You”ll be reunited with Aru Shah, Zane Obispo, Min the fox spirit, Sal and Gabi, Tristan Strong, Nizhoni Begay, Paola Santiago, Sikander Aziz, and Riley Oh. Who is the new hero? Read Rick Riordan”s short story to find out!
Ten bestselling and award-winning middle grade authors contributed to this collection: Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, Graci Kim, and Rick Riordan, who also served as the editor.
The cultures represented by these own-voices stories are: Indian, Mesoamerican, Korean, Cuban, Black American, African, Navajo, Mexican, Mesopotamian, and Celtic.
There’s something for everyone in this collection of fast-paced and funny adventure stories that show what it takes to be a hero in any time, setting, and universe.
TL;DR: For readers who are new to the worlds found in Rick Riordan Presents books, this will give you a wonderful taste of what lies in store when you finally dive into them head first! For those who are returning, these stories will take you on fun (mis)adventures with some of your favourite characters from your favourite stories! This was such a fun collection full of magic and it’s rich in diversity and cultural representation! Highly recommended for all readersbut especially those who love action-packed (mis)adventures, an abundance of magic, diverse mythology, most likely demons and ghouls, and lots of cheeky and witty humour!😊
I was completely immersed from the moment I set foot into this Multiverse Mansion and I was itching with eagerness to open each door to the different worlds held within. These stories are rich with diverse cultures and a wild kind of magic courses through each of the pages that hold you enthralled as the characters and their stories unfold. Honestly, these are the kind of stories that I wish had been available to younger me because it would’ve meant so much to see parts of myself in characters who look like me and have roots in parts of the world I’m from. Not to mention that it would’ve been amazing to learn about the different mythologies, too! Luckily, they’re stories that adult me can read and greatly appreciate and it makes me so happy knowing that such diverse heroic tales are available for younger generations to read and identify with!
We get small glimpses into magnificent worlds and we meet many new characters that I was eager to learn more about the minute their story ended. What makes me love a short story is when the story comes full circle, the questions are answered and it can essentially stand on its own, and the majority of stories in here did that! I often found myself going into deep(ish) dives on the interwebs to read up about the mythologies and creatures and I love when a story can pique my curiosity in that way because it makes the experience that much more unforgettable. While I enjoyed all of the stories my top three are: The Demon Drum by Rebecca Roanhorse, My Night at the Gifted Carnival by Graci Kim, and… it’s a tie between The Initiation by Yoon Ha Lee and Bruto and the Freaky Flower by Tehlor Kay Mejia(sorry, I really can’t choose)! 😜
Although I had only met the characters from one of the stories in this collection (Gum Baby forever!), I had no trouble following along with the adventures, so it’s okay to go into this without prior knowledge of the stories. I think it would be perfect for readers who want to get a taste of the worlds found in the Rick Riordan Presents books and I can guarantee that it will leave you wanting more as soon as possible!
3 WINNERS (US ONLY) WILL WIN A FINISHED COPY OF THE CURSED CARNIVAL AND OTHER CALAMITIES!
Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!
This week’s prompt is: Mythology.
I struggled to find books for this prompt today for some reason. I’m sure I have quite a few on my list since I love books based on mythology but I’ve completely blanked on it? 😂 I tried to come up with ones that were based on non-greek or norse mythology but those take up the bulk of my ‘mythology’ TBR but I’m glad that I found at least three books based on other mythology. Without further ado… Let’s get to it!
It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.
Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet. Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction
🥳 Happy Book Birthday to Maya and the Rising Dark! 🥳
I’m delighted to be taking part in a book blitz with TBR & Beyond Tours for Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron. This middle grade fantasy was pitched as Stranger Things meets Percy Jackson and seriously, how good does that sound?! Plus, this cover is just love!
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Maya and the Rising Dark Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publish Date: 22 September 2020 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.
Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams.
When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.
The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture. Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace. But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country. YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.
We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! I might’ve missed last week’s topic but I will come back to it at some point 🙂 Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: trilogies!
I’m surprised to learn that a lot of the series on my TBR and ‘need-to-finish’ lists are trilogies! I like trilogies. I think three books is a good number because it’s just long enough for those who like reading series but it’s also “short” enough for those who don’t like long series. Or simply for those who don’t have the patience to wait even longer for the next book to come out 😅 Lucky for me, almost all the series mentioned below are complete so there’s no waiting time between books and that’s really the most perfect scenario! I’m really looking forward to starting/finishing these series!
First up is the Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness. I still haven’t read anything by Ness although I have five of his books (including this full series) sitting on my physical shelf. I got really cool copies too!
I’ve been wanting to read more by Amie Kaufman and when I saw the covers for the Starbound SeriesI knew there was no way I would be passing these up. Totally cover judging here–they’re STUNNING!
Ah, The Kingkiller Chronicles. I don’t know whether I’m dreaming but THERE IS A COVER FOR BOOK THREE. Is it the actual? I don’t know. There’s still no official release date but there are 2020 whispers and if it happens I’ll be deceased (kidding… But I might actually pass out from shock LOL)!
I have been meaning to finish His Dark Materials for a while now. I enjoyed the first book but didn’t continue with the rest of the series because I wanted to find matching books. Anyone else do that? 😂
I loved The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it last year but I was waiting for the rest of the Winternight Trilogy to deliver (which obvi took forever). Planning to re-read and finish this year!
We’re back with another Top 5 Saturday! I might’ve missed last week’s topic but I will come back to it at some point 🙂 Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is: books inspired by mythology!
I have to be honest and say that while I know of many of the popular myths, specifically Greek and Norse, I don’t really know them in great detail. But Mythology is a topic that has always sparked my interest and I’m always up for getting my hands on more books inspired by myths! I have quite a few on my TBR that I’m hoping to read sometime in the… near future? *so many books, so little time*
I adore these Big Ideas Simply Explained books! I randomly found The Mythology Book when I was actually looking for The Literature Book but the shiny gold cover held me captive. Obviously, I left the bookstore with it in tow! This is a ‘coffee table’ book that I’d happily flip through over time.
We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!
I’ve spent this Sunday wishing I were in bed reading Wicked As You Wish! I’m at about 35% and things have escalated very quickly. I had a prediction about one of the characters and the reveal just happened in the part I’m at. Although I “called it” I still found myself a little shocked but I also felt sorry for our MC. It already wasn’t the best way to learn about it and it’s a pretty big your-life-will-never-be-the-same kind of revelation! Looking forward to what happens next…
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends. And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….
Goodreads: The Bone Houses Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror Panda Rating:
Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.
I was expecting to be terrified reading this ‘historical fantasy horror’, especially considering the title and it’s basically about zombies, but it had just the right amount of spook that even a chicken like me could read it alone at night! What a treat of a read this was 😍 Even before picking it up, I knew I’d enjoy it but I didn’t expect to not want to leave it for even a second!
“The anticipation of the loss hurts nearly as much as the loss itself. You find yourself trying to hold on to every detail, because you’ll never have them again.”
The writing was simple, atmospheric and the story read a little bit like a fairytale. I liked how things were so simply but vividly described but mostly I loved the magic in the story. It’s woven through so naturally it was almost difficult to picture the world differently. Although this is a fantasy, I was wondering what country inspired the story, and it’s Welsh folklore/mythology! I haven’t read anything Welsh inspired before (at least not to my knowledge) so that was pretty cool. The plot was fast paced and well paced. There were some ‘quieter’ moments towards the end of the book, but it didn’t slow the story down. There wasn’t much surprising in the plot though–it was quite linear which made it easy to predict what would happen in the end, but that’s OK. There were still some unique elements to the story that made it enjoyable!
What really made the story for me were the characters. Rynis incredibly fierce, loyal and stubborn. She has a temper that gets the best of her at times, and while she does make some stupid decisions without thinking of the consequences, you can’t help but love her anyway. She’s hanging on to the past in the hopes that one day her father will return and it broke my heart a little bit. She’s the character that makes you feel safe and like everything’s going to be okay because they’re around. We don’t learn or spend a lot of time with her siblings but I loved Ceri! She’s a bright light in a dark story and her bubbly personality and love for baking and animals had me smiling from ear-to-ear.
“She was half a wild creature that loved a graveyard, the first taste of misty night air, and the heft of a shovel. She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live.”
Then we have Ellis, the mapmaker who comes into town. Little is known about him at first, but it was pretty easy to figure out his story as we learn more about the curse. I loved Ellis’ character a lot! He had a certain innocence about him that stemmed from his questions about his pastbut he also had some great dry/sarcastic humor! I even liked the romance that bloomed! It’s progression felt natural and I liked the easy banter that flowed between them. Although they’re opposites in so many respects, they share a keen understanding in their loneliness, losses and grief, and as such complemented each other quite well. Opposites definitely attracted here!
Also, did I mention the amazing goat yet?! Because it definitely might have stolen the show! I loved it as much as everyone told me I would and I know that sounds weird AF but trust me, when you read this, you’ll love the goat too! I pre-ordered the book just so I could get that extra story about the goat! Overall, I’m so glad that I finally read this book. I enjoyed so much about it and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fantastical zombie fairytale-esque story that’s just a little on the spooky side!
Have you read The Wicked King or is it on your TBR?