If you, like me, are still going through complete Sarah J Maas withdrawal, and can’t really stand to wait for her next books, check out the list below to tide you over! Each book has many of the things I adored about both ToG and ACOMAF: strong and interesting female characters, magic, deeply beautiful writing, love stories to cry about, and an all around sense of adventure. If you have any more recommendations to add, definitely let me know!
I just finished this series, and I am still amazed by how masterfully Anne Bishop weaves her stories. Welcome to the Dark Kingdom, a matriarchal realm ruled by strong queens and the males that support and serve them (Rowan and Aedion anyone?). There is a prophecy fortelling the rise of a Queen with more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself, which gives us a wonderful story full of scheming, war, adventure, and a badass court I would kill to be a part of. Prepare your heart!
Graceling is the best series for all you folks who couldn’t get enough of badass assassin Celaena. Katsa is an assassin Celaena would be proud of, due to her rare ability as a Graceling. She is Graced with a killing power, and has spent her life as the king’s tool in doling out his reign of terror. In waltzes Po, Graced with fighting, and here to shake everything Katsa knows about her world. Cashore definitely gives us a twist Sarah would most certainly support!
This book aligns more with the romance and court mystique that Sarah presents so wonderfully in ToG and ACOMAF. Kestrel is the daughter of a general who helped the emperor conquer territory after territory. As she is faced with a choice, marry or join the military, Kestrel finds a friend in one of the slaves from the conquered people, and so begins one of the most interesting political schemes I have read in awhile! I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, because I am out of the country and can’t get my hands on the final book, but I would highly recommend it.
Cue another really cool empire written by an author who isn’t afraid to be inventive or go beyond the normal realms of fantasy. Vin is another Celaena-esque character, as the abandoned street child who turned thief who struggles to stay alive. When a mentor takes her under his wing, she discovers that her luck on the streets might be more than she could ever explain. Magic, mystery, and of course, a few court balls thrown in make for a wonderful mix. Warning: the last book made me cry. Like really cry. But in a good, I’m-still-mad-at-you-but-I-understand-and-respect-your-story-line type of way.
Raisa is everything that I have ever wanted in a princess. She is intelligent, passionate, feisty, and super compassionate. So when a war arises between the clans and the wizards, you can bet she has goals to achieve and empires to shake up. Throw Han Alister into the mix, a street wise leader, and things get tricky and fireworks explode. One of my favorite love stories in a long time, because it isn’t a story about just romantic love, but also what the love of a princess for her country can do.
Yelena is set for execution for murder, but is given the choice to be the next food taster of the Commander of Ixia. As if the threat of having poison in her system wasn’t enough, she is also given a dose of Butterfly’s Dust, which she needs every day to stay alive, and can of course only get from the chief of security. Fighting for her life soon becomes more than just guessing the right poison, but also a game of magic, love, and all out war. Best kind of combo out there!
This is the only book in the list to be set in a dystopian universe as opposed to a kingdom, but with a prodigy like June, no one can make any complaints. After a war tore the country apart, the Western United States is under the martial rule of the Republic, and June is their perfectly groomed soldier golden child. Day, on the other hand, is a slums boy who has become the Republic’s most wanted criminal. What happens when their paths cross is enough to make any country tremble, and to keep me hanging on to every word!
Literally anything by Tamora Pierce!
Tamora Pierce has been my favorite author since I was a little girl. Each of her series is set in the same universe, based around the story of an interesting and kickass female character, from the first female warrior to a wild-mage. I first found these stories when my mother decided my sister and I didn’t have enough strong women in our literature and Tamora really rose to the occasion. Start with the first series, Song of the Lioness, and work your way from there! I have reread her books at least once every year since I was a little girl and they get better every time. I cannot recommend these books enough!
If you read or have read any of these books, feel free to shoot me a message; I am always ready to geek out over them.
Hours of Idleness by Lord Byron - 1807 with early 20th century jewelled Cosway-style binding by Sangorski Sutcliffe, the interior containing miniature portraits of Lord Byron and his ancestral home, Newstead Abbey. Original silk and velvet lined leather bound case.
Rather than continuing to have crime thrillers and horror that demonize DID, let’s get like, a romantic comedy or a slice of life or something where one of the people has it and all the little misunderstandings and such that can be caused by dating someone who’s actually more than one person and how they work through it together. I know a lovely lady who has DID and has had it since she was a child and her husband had been married to her for years before he found out about it. He’s only married to her original self, but because of that he also lives with a teenage boy, a couple little girls, a lesbian, and a jeweler. The two of them have said before that they don’t plan on having children because they’re already an entire family as it is. Let’s get a movie about that instead please.
Cover of The May Queen and other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Rubricated and illuminated. Colophon: “This manuscript, selected poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson, The May Queen, The sea fairies,The beggar maid, Hero to Leander, and Dora was designed, written out, and illuminated by Alberto Sangorski for Messrs. R. Rivière & Son bookbinders & booksellers to H.M. King George V. London. This manuscript will not be duplicated. This manuscript was executed by me [signed] Alberto Sangorski London A.D. 1912.”– P.  “The miniature illustrating the poem of The beggar maid was taken from the painting done by Sir Edward Burne-Jones in the Tate Gallery London. The miniature illustrating the poem of Hero to Leanderwas taken from the painting done by Lord Leighton, P.R.A. The miniature in the title page of Lord Tennyson was taken from the painting by Sir Hubert Herkomer, R.A. (and is copyright)”– P.  Miniature of Tennyson, three miniatures of the May Queen, miniature of the Beggar Maid, miniature of Hero, two miniatures of Dora are initial-signed by Sangorski, and some are dated 1912. Full blue morocco, inlaid and gilt in an over-all design with semi-precious stones and seed pearls, mounted on upper cover. Beige morocco doublures, inlaid with red, white and green morocco and gilt. Silk protective guards interleaved between some pages. All edges gilt. Stamp-signed on upper doublure: “Bound by Riviere & Son”. In silk-lined green morocco folding case.
Courtesy of Rare Book Collection, Detroit Public Library
A corner or two away, sandwiched between a bakery and a café
on a street that led to your house, was a quaint bookstore. The bookstore was
the type that had aisles of shelves, lined from roof to floor with the register
buried somewhere deep in the back corner, unseen and ignored until the customer
actively searched for it once they were ready to check out. The shelves were
constantly full as well and the books were slightly worn as it was also a
second-hand shop. Though worn, it was still well kept and hidden jewels and
brand new books could be found among them.