So here we are at the last stop on the Gilded Cage blog tour. As you can see from the list above, debut author, Vic James, has been on a very busy tour! Today Vic shares with us the last five books that she has read.
The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
This is the third in a series that began with The Invisible Library, and which has a premise to delight book lovers everywhere – a transdimensional library, staffed by kickass, magical librarians who rescue rare editions of books from across the multiverse. Our heroine is a librarian spy, Irene, and her sidekick is a dragon prince in disguise, Kai. While I loved book 2, which took us to Venice, this instalment is equally thrilling: Irene and Kai are in St Peterburg where her old nemesis is re-emerging. I heart libraries, I’ve been a volunteer and a student librarian, but they were never this cool.
The Reader by Traci Chee
Another special book about books – I’ve obviously got a sort of subgenre fandom thing going on! And also, magic – because just as in Gilded Cage, everything becomes more special when sprinkled with magic. The Reader is a multistranded story set in a world without the written word or reading, in which a girl left orphaned and alone realises that an object once belonging to her father is a book. What follows isn’t just a heartstopping adventure with shocking revelations at the end, it’s also a magical reading experience, as the book contains ‘pages’, ‘burnt parchment’, atmospheric ‘ink blots’ and a gorgeous map.
The Book of English Folk Tales, by Sybil Marshall
This was an impulse buy at my local indy bookshop, Queens Park Books, just before Christmas. It has the most gorgeous embossed cloth cover, and is full of exquisite woodcuts. (Yes, I’m a geek for physical books, if you hadn’t figured that out yet!) It’s a book to dip into, rather than read cover to cover. The titles of individual stories tempt you to pick it up again and again: ‘T’Girt Dog of Ennerdale’, ‘The Devil’s Armful’, ‘Get Up and Bar the Door’. My Dark Gifts trilogy has deep roots in British history and folklore, and books like this make great soil for ideas to grow in!
Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn
Hearn wrote the YA Tales of the Otori series, and she returns to Japan for this adult dualogy inspired by the Japanese classic The Tale of Shikanoko. I lived in Japan for nearly six years, studied the language, and travelled around the country, and Hearn’s tale, told in crisp, precise language, takes me right back to the mountains and forests I loved hiking in, and the dark intrigue and dangerous magic of traditional Japanese tales. I’ve just got the follow-up book, Lord of the Darkwood, and can’t wait to step back in.
The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin
I’m only just starting this one, but my god it is good. I’ve always loved science fiction, as well as fantasy, and this book has the flavour of both. It’s set on an alternate earth cyclically devastated by geologic upheaval. There’s a whole ton of worldbuilding going on, but Jemisin grabs you from the very first line: “Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.” Jemisin won the Hugo Award for this last year, and she’s part of a wave of female and diverse authors who are reaching the top of their game in the SF and fantasy worlds. (I’m excited for Aliette de Bodard’s House of Binding Thorns, coming in April.)
For readers of Victoria Aveyard and George RR Martin comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.
NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.
Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
Vic James is a current affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, and Gilded Cage is her debut novel. She as twice judged the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, has made films for BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 News, and is a huge Wattpadd.com success story. Under its previous title, Slavedays, her book was read online over a third of a million times in first draft. And it went on to win Wattpad’s ‘Talk of the Town’ award in 2015 – on a site showcasing 200 million stories. Vic James lives and works in London.
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