Finally I have been able to sit down and write my thoughts about this interesting meme that was created by Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight and sent my way by OlaG and Piotrek at Reenchantment of the World – thanks for tagging me!
The meme consists of ten questions exploring our mind-travels through books, and here is my take on the… challenge:
1. SECRETS AND LIES: A BOOK SET IN A SLEEPY SMALL TOWN
Those Across the River – Christopher Buehlman
Frank and Dora just relocated in Frank’s old family estate in Georgia, a former plantation burdened by the memory of the horrors perpetrated there. Such dreadful events are not just a thing of the past, though, as the couple will discover in the most horrifying way… This is a story of supernatural horror, set in a small, deceptively somnolent community whose outward appearance hides something incredibly terrifying.
2. SALT AND SAND: A BOOK WITH A BEACH-SIDE COMMUNITY
Shattered Sea Trilogy – Joe Abercrombie
A Scandinavian-like setting for a saga where politics, war and personal ambitions define the characters and launch them into dangerous quests or in bloody fights. If you are familiar with the show Vikings, the village where the main characters come from is a perfect picture for the world imagined here by Joe Abercrombie, even though in the books it seems as if this society regressed from a much more evolved one as a consequence of some catastrophic event.
3. HERE THERE BE DRAGONS: A BOOK WITH A VOYAGE ON THE HIGH SEAS
Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch
The second book in Scott Lynch’s series featuring thief Locke Lamora and his friend Jean Tannen leaves the city of Camorr to launch a sea-faring adventure among pirates, or rather aboard a ship whose captain is a middle-aged woman and a mother, and also a ruthless brigand and a fair, level-headed commander: if you like stories where you can smell the salty air and enjoy daring incursions, look no further…
4. TREAD LIGHTLY: A BOOK SET DOWN A MURKY RIVER OR A JUNGLE
Fevre Dream – G.R.R. Martin
Mississippi riverboats always look fascinating, and their journeys down the river – often featuring stories about sneaky card players seeking easy prey, or shady characters trying to leave their past behind them – never fail to offer interesting stories, but in this case there is something else spicing up the tale. Just one word: vampires. The steamy vegetation along the riverbanks, and the dilapidated plantations barely seen through the trees look like the perfect setting for an ambush, don’t they? Store up on garlic before reading!
5. FROZEN WASTES: A BOOK WITH A FROST BITTEN ATMOSPHERE
The Hunger – Alma Katsu
This novel taught me the tragic story of the Donner Party, a group of hopeful pioneers headed to California in the middle of the 19th Century: a series of bad choices, accidents and drawbacks cost the travelers precious time and they found themselves stranded and snowbound in the Sierra Nevada during one of the worst winters of the times, and had to resort to eating the flesh of their dead to keep alive. A terrible story, indeed, told in stark, unadulterated reality.
6. THE BOONIES: A BOOK WITH RUFF OR ISOLATED TERRAIN
Trail of Lightning – Rebecca Roanhorse
This is a very unusual UF novel, both for premise and setting: a series of environmental disasters, chief among them the Big Water, have changed the face of the Earth and one of the few places where life is still possible is Dinétah – set in the region that used to be the Navajo (or Diné) reservation, it’s now encircled by a massive wall protecting the inhabitants from outside dangers, even though inside perils abound, including monsters who prey on human flesh. An intriguing story with an equally intriguing heroine at its center.
7. HINTERLANDS AND COWBOYS: A BOOK WITH A WESTERN-ESQUE SETTING
Firefly: Big Damn Hero – James Lovegrove
Firefly is one of my favorite SF shows, and also the victim of network executives’ shortsightedness, since it was canceled before it really had the time to develop its full potential. Thankfully there are many artists who still believe in it, so that now and then new stories are printed that keep the legend alive and give us new adventures of the Serenity’s crew. This one is so well done that reading it I could hear the actual voices of the actors giving life to the characters, and the story seems just another episode in the series, where space opera and the Old Wild West meet in a unique blend.
8. LOOK LIVELY: A BOOK SET ACROSS SWEEPING DESERT SANDS
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai – Bradley Beaulieu
A good revenge story never fails to draw my attention, and this novel has the added bonus of being set in a desert world, where fabulous cities are separated by long stretches of forbidding desert, crossed by ships that rely on the strength of the winds to travel, flying over the sands on wood runners. Add a complex character with a difficult past and a long-standing lie perpetrated against the inhabitants of this world, and you will get a very enthralling story indeed.
9. WILD AND UNTAMED: A BOOK SET IN THE HEART OF THE WOODS
Kill Creek – Scott Thomas
Haunted houses are nothing short of fascinating, but when they are set in remote locations, where even the woods seem animated by some evil will, and you have the perfect recipe for a blood-chilling novel, particularly when you add a group of people who have been invited to spend a night in this isolated house that might not be exactly haunted but is not safe to dwell in either… Prepare to be totally, delightfully scared with this one!
10. WILDEST DREAMS: A WHIMSICAL BOOK SHROUDED IN MAGIC
The Palace Job – Patrick Weekes
When I first heard of this book it was described as Ocean’s Eleven in a fantasy setting and it’s partly true, but the story itself is a very original one, blending classic fantasy elements with a great deal of humor and tongue-in-cheek fun poked at the genre with the affection reserved to some tropes by someone who loves the medium but also loves turning it upside down for sheer fun. Just imagine a ragtag crew composed of former soldiers, a shape-shifting unicorn, a bumbling mage and a death priestess wielding a magical hammer that speaks using only a couple of cryptic sentences – always the same ones. Highly recommended.
Well, this was an amusing game indeed: I had almost forgotten some of the titles I mentioned, and I was delighted at the opportunity to revisit them, so I do recommend the exercise. That’s why I’m not going to tag five other fellow bloggers to involve them in the game, as the rules require: if you enjoyed this, dive right in and join the fun! The more the merrier… 😀