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Chonky Fantasy Series to Get You Through the Rest of Whatever Year It Is

Back in 2020, we put together an article to highlight some fantasy series of REALLY BIG BOOKS that we could all get lost in until upon reaching the end, finally, we would emerge into a brighter post-2020 future.

For literally absolutely no reason at all, we’ve decided to bring this list back with some additional entries!


Image Placeholder of - 88A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

Rampant demons, political intrigue, ancient rituals, living avatars of stars, long-lost royals, and the unstable future of an empire combine to create an epic fantasy series you’ll never forget.

Placeholder of  -32Wake the Dragons series by Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson is a master of the epic. In addition to co-authoring Dune’s Caladan Trilogy, he also wrote a saga of expansive and critically-lauded chonky fantasy: Wake the Dragons.

Two continents at war: the Three Kingdoms and Ishara have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy.

Image Place holder  of - 3The Caladan Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson and Frank Herbert

Hey remember in that last entry when I mentioned that Kevin J. Anderson co-authored the Caladan Trilogy, a series of novels that flesh out Frank Herbert’s massively popular Dune universe? Yeah. That’s the next series you should check out!

Any Dune fan will devour this tale of a legend coming into his own.

Dune: The Heir of Caladan is on sale 10.18.22!

Place holder  of - 29Mistborn: Wax and Wayne series by Brandon Sanderson

#1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson returns to Scadrial, world of the Mistborn, as its second era, which began with The Alloy of Law, comes to a world-breaking conclusion in this fall’s forthcoming The Lost Metal.

Wanna know what happens to the fantasy world when the hero of prophecy has failed? Ever wonder if eating cool rocks could give you special powers? At the intersection of these two time-honored philosophical quandaries lays the Wax and Wayne Series.

The Lost Metal is on sale 11.15.22!

Poster Placeholder of - 20The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archive is the latest epic fantasy from the imaginative mind of Brandon Sanderson: welcome to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

book-wheeloftimeThe Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.

book-kushielKushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

In this epic fantasy series, step into the land of Terre d’Ange, a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber–and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.

The Ascendent series by K Arsenault Rivera

K Arsenault Rivera’s epic fantasy Ascendant trilogy is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil. “Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth…simply exquisite.”—New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab (on The Tiger’s Daughter)

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$2.99 Ebook Deal: The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

Place holder  of - 81The ebook edition of The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera is on sale now for only $2.99! This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today and get ready for the release of The Warrior Moon, the final book in the Ascendant trilogy.

About The Tiger’s Daughter:

Even gods can be slain

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

A crack in the wall heralds the end…two goddesses arm themselves…K Arsenault Rivera’s The Tiger’s Daughter is an adventure for the ages.

Order Your Copy

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This sale ends September 1.

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#FearlessWomen at Left Bank Books

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Left Bank Books and Archon present an SF STL and Tor #FearlessWomen event on Thursday, May 10th at 7 PM, with authors Tessa Gratton, Sue Burke, and K. Arsenault Rivera, who will sign and discuss their new books The Queens of Innis Lear, Semiosis, and The Tiger’s DaughterFind more information about the event here.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear, dynasties battle for the crown in Tessa Gratton’s debut epic adult fantasy, a story of deposed kings and betrayed queens for fans of Red Rising and Queen of the Tearling. The Queens of Innis Lear brings to life a world that hums with ancient magic, and characters as ruthless as the tides.

Sue Burke’s Semiosis is a sweeping SF epic of first contact that spans generations of humans struggling to survive on an alien world. Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches . . . and waits.

K. Arsenault Rivera’s lush new epic historical fantasy series evokes the ambition and widespread appeal of Patrick Rothfuss and the vivid storytelling of Naomi Novik. The Tiger’s Daughter is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

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Epic Fantasy Reads for Winter

It’s February, and that means it’s still winter. Sigh. Whether there’s snow on the ground or not, this is usually when the unrelenting cold really starts to get to us. What’s our solution to winter blues? Settle in with a good fantasy read, a cup of hot cocoa, and Fireplace for Your Home on Netflix, since most of us don’t have fireplaces. Add in a warm blanket and it’s practically heaven! What are you reading to this winter?

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Placeholder of  -44 Palace intrigue, a fierce and intelligent princess, a loyal and crafty musketeer, airships…Curtis Craddock’s debut epic fantasy is a perfect book to hide under a blanket with this winter! Part traditional fantasy, part swashbuckling adventure, Brandon Sanderson called it “a great read”, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors is bound to spice things up as the snow falls.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Image Placeholder of - 36 If you want to spent your short winter days and long winter nights with a pair of badass women, try The Tiger’s Daughter. Follow the adventures of the infamous Qorin warrior Barsalayaa Shefali and her best friend, the divine warrior empress O Shizuka as they try to save their respective lands from a truly insidious evil.

Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind

Image Place holder  of - 95Book One of Terry Goodkind’s Nicci Chronicles, an epic new series focused on a fan-favorite character from the Sword of Truth series, is full of sorcery, treachery and blood and is sure to go with your hot beverage of choice. Even better, once you’ve finished Death’s Mistress you can pick up the sequel, Shroud of Eternitywithout having to wait.

The Midnight Front by David Mack

Place holder  of - 32 Sometimes the only way to get through winter is to embrace the dark and cold. There’s no better way to do that than with the first book in David Mack’s Dark Arts series. Set during World War II, The Midnight Front introduces a new front to the conflict: a magickal one. Even heroes will make a pact with the devil if it can help defeat the Nazis and their sorcerers.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Poster Placeholder of - 48 Maybe you’re looking for fantasy with a more classical feeling this winter. If so, we recommend Miranda and Caliban, Jacqueline Carey’s lyrical retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. While Shakespeare focused his tale around Prospero, the arrogant, iconic magus, Carey chooses to tell the tale from a different perspective: that of Miranda and Caliban, as they grow up together and forge a bond that endures despite knowing the relationship is both doomed and forbidden.

Child of a Mad God by R.A. Salvatore

If you prefer character-driven stories when you’re reading in front of (we hope) a cozy fire this winter, then how about R. A. Salvatore’s Child of a Mad God? Meet Aoleyn, a young woman who’s lost her family and must fend for herself among a tribe that does everything it can to beat her down. Instead of bowing to tradition, Aoleyn fights back with everything she has–including magic that both protects her and makes her a target for those around her.

The Mongrel Mage by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Are you a fan of binge watching? How about binge reading? If so, maybe try L. E. Modesitt, Jr. His latest book in the Saga of Recluce starts a brand new story arc, introducing Beltur, a man fleeing from a powerful white mage as he attempts to uncover his own power. The best part is the huge backlist of titles set on the world of Recluce, featuring 19 titles so far and multiple spin-off series. Modesitt’s immense world will keep you entertained not just for the rest of winter, but possibly the rest of the year!

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Books to Give the Fantasy Fan On Your List

Welcome to the procrastinator’s club! We know there are people out there who have already finished their Christmas shopping, but we’re honestly not sure how they do it. We’ve barely started. Luckily, we know the best last minute gift for nearly everyone: books. If you’re like us, and looking for some last minute gifts, never fear–we’re here to help. Here are some recommendations for the fantasy fans in your life. And don’t forget to check out our Science Fiction and Young Adult lists as well!

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

Image Placeholder of - 74 Do you have a friend or family member that simultaneously wants to escape our current world and resist what’s going on in it? Then give them Amberlough. As twinkling lights yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, a smuggler, a spy, and a dancer try to survive using any means necessary–including each other.
 
 
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Placeholder of  -81 For the Shakespeare fan on your list, we have Miranda and Caliban, Jacqueline Carey’s beautiful retelling of The Tempest. We know the story of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what about Miranda? What about Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero has chained to his will? Carey flips the coin on its head, showing us the rich inner lives of these neglected characters.

Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

Place holder  of - 84 We all know someone totally obsessed with Stranger Things. Hell, we’re pretty obsessed with Stranger Things. Randy Henderson’s quirky, fun series is the perfect gift for them. Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for the crime of necromancy at the age of 15, in 1986. Now he’s served his time, and is back in the modern world trying to make his way–and to figure out how things changed since his beloved 80s.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Image Place holder  of - 86 For the literary reader who’s ready for a walk on the weird side, we recommend the Nebula Award-winning All the Birds in the Sky. An ancient society of witches has gone to war with a hipster tech startup, and the result just might be the end of the world. As the battle between magic and science wages in San Francisco, childhood friends Patricia and Laurence must decide if they’re going to choose sides–or stand together and try to save the world.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Poster Placeholder of - 94 Are you looking for a gift for the feminist in your life? Look no further than the badass women in debut author K. Arsenault River’s The Tiger’s Daughter. Divine Warrior Empress O Shizuka and her best friend and partner, Qorin warrior Barsalayaa Shefali must defend the land from demons swarming from behind crumbling border walls. As the world falls apart, two goddesses arm themselves.

The House of Daniel by Harry Turtledove

The master of alternative history returns with a tale that baseball fans and history fans alike will love. Set in an alternate Great Depression America full of wild magic, Harry Turtledove’s story of minor league baseball, zombies, and hotshot wizards will enchant you. The world–and baseball–will never be the same.
 
Wild Cards I: Volume One edited by George R. R. Martin

For the person eagerly awaiting the last season of Game of Thrones and the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire, we recommend Wild Cards I, edited by George R. R. Martin. An alien virus struck the Earth, and in the aftermath humanity is changed–some become Aces, with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others become Jokers–cursed with bizarre abilities and physical deformities. A shared world, the Wild Cards series features stories from a wide variety of authors, from Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, and of course, George R. R. Martin himself.

From the Two Rivers by Robert Jordan

Trying to get someone on your list into epic fantasy? From the Two Rivers is the perfect entry point. This sleek new edition is perfect for fans of the Wheel of Time series as well as newbies to the series. And after you start reading the adventures of Rand and his friends, you won’t want to stop. Luckily, the series clocks in at 14 books, so there’s plenty of adventure ahead! Love the look of this new mini-edition? There are five more of them!

A Darker Shade of Magic Collector’s Edition by V. E. Schwab

Know someone who loves magic? London? Portals to parallel worlds? Characters you can’t help but ship? Then V. E. Schwab is perfect for you! And this new collector’s edition of A Darker Shade of Magic is perfect for newbies to Schwab’s worlds, but even more perfect for her superfans, who will jump for joy at the sight of the new short stories and gorgeous fan art in this edition.

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

Know someone who loves the worldbuilding aspect of fantasy? Look no further than Elizabeth Bear. In The Stone in the Skull, Bear returns to the world she created in her Eternal Sky trilogy, expanding it to even greater breadth and scope. Even as she explores the new territory of the Lotus Kingdoms, a contested territory of warring states, she delves into the close-knit and complex relationships between her vividly realized characters, anchoring epic fantasy in humor and humanity.

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4 Latinx Authors That Inspire K. Arsenault Rivera

Image Placeholder of - 25Written by K. Arsenault Rivera

So much of literature over the past hundred years has been forged by Latinx authors. We hear Latinx voices in the rise of Magical Realism, often emulated but rarely mastered; in the long, rambling lines of postmodern authors unafraid to take their time. Certainly, these stories have left their mark on me, as well. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, here are four authors to whom I return again and again.
 
 
 
 
Place holder  of - 1You’ve probably encountered a lot of hyperbole about Gabriel García Márquez, considered by many the father of Magical Realism. I’m here to tell you every word of it—like every word of his stories—is true. That, I think, is the real magic of them; I doubt anyone can read “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and fail to see their own hometown reflected within. One Hundred Years of Solitude is of course his most famous work, but for me personally, I find myself reading and re-reading his short stories every few months—particularly the aforementioned story of the Old Man. His short stories also have the benefit of being a bit more portable than the always-gigantic Solitude. To enjoy the beautiful rise and fall of his prose, try “Eyes of a Blue Dog”; to satisfy your Modern tastes, “The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship”, a story told within a single sentence.

Image Place holder  of - 45I was in middle school the first time I read Isabel Allende. It was a bit of good timing—she’d just released her first Young Adult novel, and I’d just become a Young Adult. My mother bought me City of the Beasts (in English, which I imagine pained her just a little), and would not stop asking me if I’d finished it. I didn’t understand why until the answer was “yes, when is the next book out?”. City of the Beasts isn’t Allende’s best work—but it did immediately suck me in like no other young adult novel I’d read at the time. To this day whenever I hear her name I imagine myself in the jungle of City, staring at a jaguar in a cage.

Poster Placeholder of - 42René Marqués wrote La Carreta (The Oxcart) in 1953, during the first great wave of Puerto Rican Immigration to New York City. The play follows a family of rural farmers who, after the death of their patriarch, move to San Juan to find their fortune. When that doesn’t work out as planned they move—as so many do—to New York. Though it shows its age in some places and occasionally falls into the trap of “you can write this, but you can’t say it”, I find it’s still relevant today. So much of Puerto Rican identity is wrapped up in our land and the way we leave it, the way we return to it, the pieces of ourselves that, like morivivi, are both alive and dead. Are we Americans, or aren’t we? And if we are Americans—what happens to the old parts of ourselves? What do we have to give up in pursuit of a dream that may not want us to dream it?

Placeholder of  -20Before I sit down to write, I read poetry. Lately it’s been Heian court poetry, but before that, it was Neruda. I’ve always been an absolute sucker for love poems, especially those that sweep you up in the everyday divinity of falling in love. Every time one of my high school crushes went unfulfilled I sighed and wrote out “Tonight I Write the Saddest Lines” in the margins, right next to Evanescence lyrics. Of course, not all of his poems are about love: “Ode to Broken Things” is as eminently quotable as it is morose; “The Dictators” is full of vivid, repugnant imagery; he even makes a napping cat a thing of wonder in “Cat’s Dream”.

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New Releases: 10/3/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Image Placeholder of - 96 The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

NEW FROM TOR.COM

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Place holder  of - 75 The rule is simple: don’t bleed.

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.

Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

NEW IN PAPERBACK

An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea by Patrick Taylor

Apes and Angels by Ben Bova

Home for Christmas by Andrew M. Greeley

Strong Cold Dead by Jon Land

Treachery’s Tools by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Whiteout by Sage Walker

NEW IN MANGA

Masamune-kun’s Revenge Vol. 6 Story by Takeoka Hazuki; Art by Tiv

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Personal Failures in Fiction

Image Placeholder of - 42Written by K. Arsenault Rivera

If you’ve watched a shoujo anime within the past decade, the odds are strong you’ve come into (at least) second hand contact with Revolutionary Girl Utena. The phenomenal cult classic show from famed anime director Ikuhara—now nearing its twentieth anniversary—has even left its mark on the current fan-favorite cartoon Steven Universe. And for good reason! With its striking visuals, powerful themes, vibrant characters, and subversive fairy-tale trappings, there’s a lot to love.

Set in an enigmatic and flamboyant private academy, the core of this school is the Student Council. “Smash the World’s Shell!” is a thing you’ll hear more than once in Revolutionary Girl Utena, as the absurdly powerful and stylish youths obsessed with dueling parrot this line ad nauseum. It’s a little funny how obsessed they are with breaking eggshells, considering not a single one of them ever breaks their own.

Personal failures are a big part of Utena. The Council know exactly what they’ve got to do if they want to improve their lives, they never make the choice to follow through. They could be free whenever they wanted—but they just don’t want to…at least not yet.

And that’s what makes Utena so compelling to me. So often in epic stories the hero always makes the right decision, so often they act in the interest of the greater good. To me, it’s always been far more interesting—more human—when they choose to wallow a little instead. We might all like to imagine ourselves winning duels and pulling swords out of our loved ones, but we can all relate to making bad decisions. Part of the reason I so deeply love Juri, the intimidating captain of the Academy’s fencing team, is because I’ve also found myself frozen by my own loyalties, unable to sever myself from even the most toxic relationships.

It’s also why, in The Tiger’s Daughter, I chose to juxtapose O-Shizuka and Shefali’s divine antics with their own personal failings.

Convinced she’s a god from childhood, O-Shizuka drags Shefali into all sorts of dangerous situations—and not once does Shefali escape unscathed. By all rights, Shefali should probably strike out for a nice, safe life of her own. But here’s the thing—Shefali loves O-Shizuka too much to abandon her. And so a tiger tries to fly like a phoenix, time and time again, even when she knows it’s only going to end in pain.

O-Shizuka’s got to deal with the ramifications of her actions, too. When we first meet her in The Tiger’s Daughter, she’s already taken the throne. We meet an empress at the height of her power, surrounded on all sides by splendor—and yet more miserable than she’s ever been. Whatever happened to her, between Shefali’s letter and now, O-Shizuka is wallowing in it. And she is alone.

Have the horrible decisions of her youth finally come back to haunt her? Will the Empress smash this eggshell she’s put herself in, the way Shefali’s seemed to smash her own?

O-Shizuka will have to choose to do so herself, and there’s no telling if that choice will even be the right one. That’s the trouble with being a hero. Even gods can be slain, after all, and so certainly—even gods can fail.

Order Your Copy

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Follow K. Arsenault Rivera on Twitter and on her website.

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Interview with K. Arsenault Rivera, Author of The Tiger’s Daughter

Placeholder of  -13Welcome back to Fantasy Firsts. Today we’re featuring an interview with K. Arsenault Rivera on language barriers, outsider heroes, and why epic fantasy loves prophecies so much. Her first novel, The Tiger’s Daughter, is the story of a pair of exceptional women who are destined to face the evil forces rising out of myth. Read the first chapter here!

The frame narrative of The Tiger’s Daughter involves an epistolary unfurling leading to the main conflict. Does the format of handwritten letters hold any particular significance to you?

There’s just something so Romantic about long letters! I read a lot of Victorian lit in the year or two before I wrote The Tiger’s Daughter, and I think the most obvious bleed through is in the epistolary structure. Letter-writing in those novels was always something swoon-worthy and grand, and I wanted to capture that feeling between Shefali and Shizuka—especially given how shy Shefali normally is. The letter allows us to really see into her head, and to see Shizuka through her eyes.

How does the native language barrier and learned exchange between Shefali and Shizuka reflect their characterization? What made you decide to go that route, from a plot-based angle? Did it pose a particular challenge concerning plot structure or did it act as a guide?

Shefali’s inability to read Hokkaran reflects how she feels about Hokkaro as a whole: she understands what they’re saying but not how or why they’re saying it. That she spends so much time within the Empire proper is only for Shizuka’s sake; it’s not a place that will ever fully accept her. In a way, Shefali’s known that since she figured out she’d never be able to read Hokkaran.

Shizuka, on the other hand, has great talent with calligraphy from a very young age. She learns the simple Qorin letters easily enough but never bothers to learn the language itself. Of course, learning to speak the language would mean floundering in front of native speakers and opening herself up to mockery—so it’s not something that interests her. I don’t think that’s a conscious thought she has, but it’s there all the same. Actually trying at things is as foreign to her as the Qorin—but if she bothered, she might find a warmer welcome than she thinks.

Another important point is that most people in the Empire at least understand Hokkaran even if they can’t speak it, whereas Hokkarans only bother learning their own language. Sort of like how English is the presumed language of the Western world, but English speakers get uppity when wandering into a neighborhood that doesn’t cater to them.

Though O Shizuka and Shefali (and their mothers) are incredibly close, both are outsiders within their respective communities–communities that also happen to be at odds with each other. How does that dichotomy resonate with you?

I think that when you’re writing a hero, most of the time they’re an outcast in one way or another. Heroes are (usually, but not always) exceptional people, after all.

For me the interesting contrast is between the girls and their mothers in this regard: Burqila and O-Shizuru both made the conscious decision to break with their communities. Burqila murdered her own brothers to seize power and strike back at the Hokkarans; O-Shizuru decided to put her prized bloodline to use as a pleasure house guard. Both women eventually settle into mundane lives, and both women want the same for their girls.

But the girls didn’t get to make those choices. O-Shizuka is born into a life of politics and caution when  she really wants to do is duel people all day and spoon Shefali all night. Shefali’s got to rule the Qorin some day, and she doesn’t seem to care about that as much as she probably should. By breaking with tradition, Burqila and O-Shizuru provided their daughters with much more stable, safe lives, and yet neither daughter wants to take advantage.

What was the process of creating these incredibly complex and strong relationships while integrating the cultural and societal conflict the characters go through as individuals?

The characters of The Tiger’s Daughter came before the setting. I always knew that Shizuka would be a headstrong firebrand, and I always knew that Shefali was her much quieter counterpart. While pantsing my way through the first draft of the novel I kept the characters at the forefront and let them react to the world around them. Shefali can’t quite make sense of Hokkaran society—and so she cannot read the language. Shizuru lived a violent life, and so she wants the opposite for her daughter, no matter what Shizuka actually wants for herself. Burqila married Oshiro Yuichi as part of a peace treaty—so of course she doesn’t care much for her Hokkaran raised son.

There seems to be a great emphasis on destiny, a predetermination of belonging to a certain path or person. I’m curious about your feelings on the permanence or self-fulfilling nature of prophecies.

Every fantasy fan loves a good prophecy, and I’m no exception to this. They’re a lot like magic tricks, I think, in that you know what’s coming but still get that tingly sense of awe when the inevitable occurs. Like a good magic trick, though, it’s all in the delivery and the execution.

Let’s talk weapons. O Shizuka’s, the duelist, weapon of choice is a sword. Shefali’s a bow and arrow. In what ways do these weapons reflect each characters personalities?

Shizuka is as brash and overconfident as she is actually talented. Her decision to use a sword in a world where, for safety’s sake, most people use polearms or bows and arrows, reflects that. She doesn’t mind getting in close because she doesn’t really believe she’ll be hurt. And of course there’s the family history aspect of it. Shizuka is, again, a product of old Hokkaro—and she’s using a weapon from a time that isn’t quite relevant anymore. Who wants to duel when there’s demons coming through the northern border?

That ties into Shefali’s bow and arrow well. She made it herself, as her mother and family made their bows themselves. To the Qorin a bow and arrow are more than a weapon—they’re important tools on the harsh steppes, and more important now that food is getting harder to come by. Shefali uses a bow because she has always used a bow—and because she knows it’d be foolish to attack a demon head on. (Not that her good sense stops her whenever Shizuka needs rescuing).

What are your writing rituals/how do you set out to write?  Any procrastination tips?

Full-screen is your friend! It’s so much easier to tab over to Discord or Chrome when you can see them blinking on your taskbar. I mean, even full-screened, you can always hit alt-tab—but I find that out of sight is out of mind when it comes to distractions.

Curated playlists also help a lot (my best friend Rena is  kind of a playlist god). Certain songs just make me want to write now when I hear them, even if they’re not on the playlist itself.

Persistence and discipline are the most important things. You don’t have to write every day if that doesn’t suit your needs, but I think you should have a plan for when you’re going to write at least.

Shefali’s culture prides themselves on their connections with nature and particularly their alliances with their steeds. If you could pick an animal to go into battle with, would you choose horses or eagles?

I’d choose an eagle. No one wants to ride a horse through NYC traffic, and eagles are just much cooler as mounts, even if heights terrify me a little. We’ve all got to overcome our fears somehow, right? Knowing my history with my tabletop mounts, though, I’d completely forget I even owned an eagle within a week.

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Fantasy Firsts Sweepstakes

Welcome back to Fantasy Firsts. Today we’re offering the chance to win these fantastic titles on Goodreads! For details on how to enter, please click on the cover image of the book you are interested in.

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

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Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards.

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

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The child Vielle is the daughter of a mad king and queen, her lands lost before her birth, her family erased from history. Born on a night of storm and terror, raised in hiding, then banished from the only home she has ever known—the final stroke of a war begun centuries before.

Vieliessar, grown into the long adulthood that is Elven life, secretly studies hidden lore to discover the prophecy that heralded her birth, secretly studies the use of magic everyone assumes she does not have. Dark dreams teach lessons of war and duty, of strategy and magecraft, that she could not learn in a thousand lifetimes.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

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The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan DennardOn a continent ruled by three empires, everyone is born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries long war is about to end, the balance of power-and the failing health of all magic-will fall on the shoulders of a mythical pair called the Cahr Awen.

 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonIn The Way of Kings, #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson introduces readers to the fascinating world of Roshar, a world of stone and storms.

It has been centuries since the fall of the Knights Radiant, but their mystical swords and armor remain, transforming ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for them. Wars are fought for them and won by them.

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