summary: They represent all the virtues, Kaname thinks he remembers reading. Justice and kindness, loyalty and honesty. They won’t stand to be around a person found wanting. They won’t visit impure or unhappy places.
Kaname wakes up to a tapping on his
bedroom window. When he lifts his head, groggily, and squints through
the dark, it’s to find Natsume’s face peering at him from the other
side of the glass. For a moment or two, Kaname is suspended
uncomprehendingly in something of a liminal space – and then, a
heartbeat later, he makes sense of what he’s seeing and shoots
upright, scrambling across the room.
“What are you doing here?” Kaname
asks, once he’s slid the window open and warm summer night air has
had a chance to stretch its languid fingers inside. He’s rubbing
sleep from his eyes, more awake with every second, and the massive
creature Natsume is riding on becomes less and less defined as he
does. Still, Kaname says, “Hello, Ponta.”
Before the yokai can get a word in
edgewise, Natsume says, “Come with me. I want to show you
His tawny hair is tousled, and his
face is chapped pink from flying too fast against the wind, and his
clothes are more ruffled than Kaname’s pajamas probably are – but
his eyes are impossibly bright in the moonlight, and the curve of his
smile is wide and infectious, and when he puts out his hand, Kaname
(When he puts out his hand, there’s
nothing else in the world Kaname can think of to do but take it.)
Based on a post I saw by Barnes and Nobles, I decided I’d do book recommendations based on your favorite Disney Princess! The post by B&N only included, like, six princesses and there are so many awesome lead females so I included a lot of Disney female leads in the princess category (17 Disney ladies, total!) Also, warning, most of these are fantasy books because most of the Disney ladies come from fantasy and fairy tales.
Snow White: Snow White was the first Disney Princess and very “traditional” in design. I looked for interesting retellings that spiced up the original story, like Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewiswhich has a Sci-Fi twist (and an excellent cover) andBoy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi which deals with race and family in the early 1950s.
Cinderella: Did you know that the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas was originally inspired by Cinderella, despite the series going in a decidedly different direction? Well it was, and I love that a simple fairy tale inspired an intense high fantasy series. Cinderella is also the inspiration forThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer which is a sweeping and beautiful Science Fiction series that utilizes several fairy tale stories with kick-ass heroines and amazing plot lines that weave together for an epic saga.
Aurora: For the lovely Sleeping Beauty, I picked two books that have a focus on curses. First, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. But wait, you cry, that’s a Cinderella retelling! Yes, yes it is. But Ella is cursed with obedience while Aurora was cursed with endless sleep. Both books are about young women fighting against magic restraints but Ella is able to get up and do more about it! My second recommendation is The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier. It focuses on different young women shaping their own fates through curses, fae interference, and finding love. It does have triggers though, so be wary!
Belle: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maasis another Maas novel inspired by a fairy tale and while ACoTaR is a bit steamier and definitely different, it has all the elements of a Beauty and the Beast story but goes further. A second pick is The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. A female protagonist whose strength is wit, not combat, and is dealing with a star-crossed love that has a poor outlook will be very suitable for Belle fans.
Jasmine:The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdiehwas inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights, the same series of stories where Aladdin originally appeared. It’s intoxicating love story and beautiful atmosphere is definitely on point. My other pick has to be Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed, inspired by Jasmine’s cultural roots and the fact that Jasmine was almost forced into an arranged marriage herself.
Esmeralda: Esmeralda was a difficult lady to select books based on, but her Romani heritage and struggles are something many people should learn more about, so American Gypsy by Oksana Marafiotiis a novel to look out for, written by a Romani woman about her teenage years in America. For more fiction and fantasy Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugohas a character, Inej, from a nomadic tribe very similar to the Romani in how they are treated by others. Inej is just a kind-hearted and bad ass as Esmeralda herself!
Megara: Looking for a greek myth-inspired series with bad ass lady leads?Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordanmay seem the obvious choice and it is, but only because of the strong, sassy, and diverse female leads in the series are absolutely amazing, just like Meg herself! Another more romantic but still kick ass greek myth inspired series is Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.
Mulan: Asian-inspired fantasy is one of my favorite sub-genres with Eon and Eona by Alison Goodmanbeing very high up on the list for it’s great story, interesting magic, strong female lead, and its fantasy version of ancient China. Cindy Pon’s Silver Phoenixis also an engaging story with inspiration from Chinese myths and legends that really creates a wonderful atmosphere.
Rapunzel: While Seraphina’s isolation is self-imposed,Seraphina by Rachel Hartmantells the story of a young woman going outside her comfort zone and discovering herself, much in the same way Rapunzel does. For a retelling of Rapunzel’s story, try Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, which mixes history and romance with the well-known tale.
Merida: Okay, I have to say it:Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s about a female archer who fights for her nation while being constantly irritated by the two boys trying to court her. It just works!! There’s also Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier, a young adult fantasy series with female protagonists and inspired by Scottish myths.
Elsa: For Elsa, what could be more perfect thanSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch? A book about winter magic, a girl who feels out of place and unsure of her role in her kingdom, and learning to accept yourself and fight for those you care about. Spot on! Also keep a look out for Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige(out in September!),a retelling of The Snow Queen in which the character is much more than she was in the original story.