Looking at the title of my blog, I’m surprised it took me this long find a dragon book tag.
But considering how slow I am with everything else in my blogging life, I guess it still adds up. Anyway, I saw this book tag on zezeewithbooks‘s blog and it just felt like the perfect tag to include in the first month of the year.
Let’s set the tone for the rest of 2022, and talk about some dragons.
Amphiptere: a book that was too much for one story and should have picked one topic
Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
This might just be a case of me just not getting the story, but my head was spinning by the time I was halfway through the first book. I just couldn’t follow what was happening and there was so much detail and so many questions that eventually I just set it down and never picked it up again. Maybe I’ll give it another chance in the future, but not just yet.
Anthropomorphic: a book series that wasn’t everything you hoped for (disappointing book 2, 3, etc.)
The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1 by Theodora Goss
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter: the daughters of some of literature’s greatest minds, turned into monstrous creation by their own fathers, coming together to protect others from suffering the same fate was a fantastic set up for the series and I was so hyped for the next installment.
But maybe that was my mistake, since the second book in the series left me feeling a bit underwhelmed by comparison. While the story still had a lot of great moments, it just didn’t have the same magic and excitement as the first. I went into more detail in my review if you want to check it out.
Dragon Beast: a book with a wild concept that somehow worked
Warlock Holmes by G.S. Denning
Two words: Warlock. Holmes. That should tell you just about everything you need to know about why I snatched this up for my TBR. I haven’t been able to sit down with this book yet, but the reviews are definitely promising and I have a huge weakness for magic and mysteries.
Draconic Hybrid: name a book that could be considered a genre mash
Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
(Seriously, I’m sorry for all this seriousness, what is happening?!)Take one part steampunk fantasy, two parts political intrigue, and then throw in a boatload of Lovecraftian horror elements. Mix it with some gorgeous artwork and fantastic storytelling and you have Monstress. This graphic novel about a young woman, seeking revenge against the order of witches that killed her mother, is dark, tragic and takes an utterly horrifying turn that I did not see coming. And it’s awesome.
Drake: name a good beginner fantasy
The Belgariad: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
This is probably my favourite pick for a ‘beginner’ fantasy novel because it’s a slow, steady journey into the extraordinary with some pretty great writing and characterization. A young boy, raised in the country under the watchful eye of his aunt Pol, is suddenly swept away in a great adventure when an ancient evil makes its return to the world. It’s got just the right mix of magic and mundane world building that it won’t overwhelm a newcomer, although more frequent fantasy readers will probably know exactly what to expect from page one. I still recommend it for a nice, easy read for any fantasy fan.
Eastern Dragon: name a fantasy with elemental magic
The Circle of Magic Series by Tamora Pierce
I read this series as a tween and yet I still remember so many wonderful things about this series (but forgive me if I forget anything important). It centers around a group of young teens, all of whom have been brought together through either tragedy or misfortune, and discover that each of them can wield an elemental magic. My personal favourite was Briar who, if you couldn’t guess, used earth magic to make plants bloom and grow even in the darkest corners of a dungeon, but all the characters were fantastic, and it’s a great series I’d definitely recommend for young or teen readers.
Fae Dragon: name a fae/fairy fantasy
Tithe by Holly Black
Throwing this list way back to 2004, Tithe by Holly Black was my favourite book for ages. A teenage girl, used to traveling from city to city with her mother’s rock band, is suddenly forced to return to her childhood home, and ends up in the centre of a terrible power struggle between the faerie courts. It’s dark, mysterious, and absolutely seduces you with every turn of the page, and it’s responsible for my love for faerie courts to this day.
Great Serpent: name a fantasy with an Asian setting/influence
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
I’ve done a review on this book previously (despite still not having finished the sequels) but the Poppy War is one of the best, and most brutal fantasies I’ve ever read. Rin, a war orphan from the southern corner of the Nikan Empire, manages to defy all expectations and secures her place at the most elite military Academy. But while she finds in herself a talent for the near-mythical, and often lethal, art of shamanism, she may need more than the power of the Gods to survive this school… or what comes next.
I loved every dark, brutal moment of this book, made all the more powerful knowing it is based off the very real history of China in the twentieth century. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is a powerhouse of fantasy storytelling and I can’t recommend it enough.
Hydra: favourite series with 3+ books
The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
Another blast from my past: five University of Toronto students find themselves transported to a magical land, joining forces with mages, elves, and dwarves to face down the forces of evil, and prevent an ancient evil from bringing about destruction of the world itself.
If you’re feeling a Tolkien vibe while reading this, that’s no accident, as the author was Christopher Tolkien’s assistant, and the influence shines through while also giving readers so much more. It’s probably one of my ultimate favourite books by Guy Gavriel Kay, and kickstarted my love for fantasy that can combine mythology with Arthurian legends.
Also, how perfect is that cover for this tag?
Devil Fish: name a book with thievery/scams
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn felt like the perfect example for this category since the whole premise is one, big, impossible heist to steal enough treasure from the Dark Lord to bribe his enemies into taking him down. It’s just the perfect combination of smart fantasy, an awesome magic system, and memorable characters. If for some reason you haven’t checked this book out yet, I really, really, really recommend giving it a try!
Lindorm: a book that kept you up at night
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
I just finished a review on this book last month, so I won’t go into too much detail. However, I had to talk about it at least a bit since this story of a young woman, trapped in an inescapable prison and forced to complete four terrible challenges in order to save the life of a rebel prisoner, was the first book in a while that essentially glued my eyes to the pages and kept me reading for hours. I lost so much sleep to this wonderful book and I enjoyed every second of it.
Ouroboros: name a book with alchemy
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
I know, I already talked about this book, but technically the magic here is called ‘alchemy’ so I think it still counts. It’s also one of my favourite examples of hard magic, because the rules are absolute – nothing can be created without something else first being destroyed – which also happens to be a major theme in the story! If you like steampunk type fantasy, with magic, dark and sinister plots, and a touch of nonsense, this is a fantastic story to get into.
Sea Serpent: name a book with pirates/sea travel
Fable by Adrienne Young
This is still in my TBR list as of today (fingers crossed I can get to it soon!) but I picked it up specifically because it’s all about a world where the high seas are deadly, and those that sail it are even more so, and it sounds awesome.
Serpent-waist: name a book with shapeshifting
Going with another nostalgic pick here, but I still remember the Animorphs series sitting on all the library shelves when I was a kid. I do have to confess that I only ever read one or two of them – it just didn’t click for me – but I know a lot of people who still talk about how cool and dark this series was – and I definitely feel like I missed out!
Western Dragon: name a classic/European fantasy
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This list wouldn’t be complete without (another) mention of the Lord of the Rings which is probably responsible for the state of modern fantasy for the last several decades since it’s publication. I won’t bother describing the plot, since I’m sure pretty much everyone is familiar with it by now, but if you’re in the mood for the quintessential European style of fantasy, look no further than Tolkien.
Wyrm: name a grimdark book
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark
Another from the depths of my TBR Hoard, The Court of Broken Knives practically screams ‘grimdark angst’ with a group of soldiers on a singular mission: kill the Emperor, so the Empire can be reborn. And now that I’ve had a good taste of the genre from Mark Lawrence, I think I’m ready to give this title a try too.
Wyvern: a character you felt was too aggressive or too much
Richard Cypher – Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
Richard Cypher is always my go to character for someone with more anger than sense and far too much love from the author. This is probably a little biased thought, since I hate Wizard’s First Rule and all the other books in this series with a passion fiery enough to rival any dragon.
I won’t go on about it here (although I might do an entire series on how much I dislike this series another time) but in short, Richard Cypher’s first answer to any opposition is to stab it with his magic sword. All the time. Every time. And it gets old real fast.
Aaaand we’re done! That’s it for the Dragon Book Tag. Let me know what you thought of my answers, and if you’re feeling particularly dragon-ish yourself, consider yourself tagged.
Thanks for reading everyone.