First off, let me apologize for not posting on a regular, scheduled basis but nowadays, my real life is taking over pretty much everything and so I haven’t had enough time to write up proper posts that I have wanted to but enough about that!
Basically, it’s all about women in fantasy writing, it can be anything from young adult to adult, from myths or fairy tales to urban fantasy. It just has to be written by women and trust me, I didn’t know I had been waiting for something like this till I watched Jean’s video.
The readathon runs from March 2-10 and there is a nice bingo card where you can cross off boxes according to your reads. It’s just there to help you choose the books, really. I chose three books as my main books, something I really wanted to read during this period. There might be more but who knows? At this point, I am hoping to finish reading all of these by March 10th.
Luckily, I have already finished reading The Forest of Enchantments and I am in the middle (well, two-thirds really) of The Binding so, I am hopeful that I also get to finish the third one.
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.
The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills.
While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’
Being Indian, I have been raised with these myths and I have always had a lot of problems with how the women in those myths were treated and after reading this one, my dislike of the matter rose even further. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but I think I was too close to the matter for this one. The writing is lovely, and the overall narration of the myth is really well done as well, each person is flawed and the author didn’t shy away from that. I am so glad for it but there were also a few things I didn’t like. The abrupt time leaps, man, I was confused at least once that I had to flip back to the pages to make sure I hadn’t accidentally saved the wrong page. Overall, a really good read if you don’t mind the tiny problems.
The Binding by Bridget Collins
Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.
But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.
I am about two-thirds into this one and I have spent most of it confused. The writing is good, it’s atmospheric and effective but I wish I understood more. I think it’s deliberate considering Emmett himself is extremely confused and ill for most of the time. So, it makes sense perhaps, I hope with more pages read, the clearer it all becomes for me at least if not for Emmett.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.
But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.
When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…
I haven’t read this one yet but I have heard some mixed things about it so let’s see. This is my tentative venture into all things Juliet Marillier. Let’s see what happens. I am hoping to like this.
Read any of those books yet? If yes, share your thoughts, if not, then what went wrong for you? Are you doing anything similar this month? Considering it is March and Women’s Day is right around the corner.
I also have a few more books by women authors who have written fantasy but considering my current tbr for #femmefantale, I am not quite sure I can actually get around to them. Let’s see how it goes!