Sadly, there was no April TBR because I was drowning in Creative Writing deadlines at Uni, and the May TBR is going to be a little bit shorter than usual (despite how far behind I am on my Goodreads’ goal) because we’re about to hit exam season. However, I’m super excited about the books I’ve picked out this months!
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
(V.E. Schwab // Titan Books // 387 pages)
I’m starting May of with a little bit of magical realism. A Dark Shade of Magic is the first book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab.
‘Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.’ – Goodreads
It follows the story of a young Antari (a special type of wizard who can travel between the four parallel universes) Kell as tries to stop the universes unravelling. I’ve heard only good things about this book for a while now and I can’t wait to finally sit down and read it. The setting – four different Londons with varying degrees of magical powers sounds so intriguing to me, and I’m really interested to see how well the plot lives up to the setting in this.
2. The Hunt in the Forest
(John Burnside // Cape Poetry // 52 pages)
A couple of months ago Elly and I went to a poetry reading (you already knew we were classy) by John Burnside (#feeltheBurn), where he read from a poetry collection yet to be realised call Still Life with Feeding Snake. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the evening, and I’ve promised myself that I’m going to read at least one poetry anthology/collection a month. My pick for this month is The Hunt in the Forest.
‘In these poems of hunting and predation, Burnside explores our most deep-rooted and primeval pursuits: romantic love, memory, selfhood, grief, the recollection of the dead. Yet just as we seek, so are we sought out: at any moment we may slide into loss or be gathered in by some otherworldly light; at any moment, the angel of the annunciation may seek us out and demand some astonishing transformation. Even in the pursuit of love, or in the exercise of memory, we fall into snares and become entangled in veils; just as we are always on the point of discovery, so we are always a hair’s-breadth away from being lost. Concerned with love and mourning, with what we discover and what remains hidden – with learning how to follow the trail through the forest and find the way home – above all, these poems are about the quest: knowing that whatever we bring back from the hunt, it is always hard-won and never fully our own.’
I’ve already had a little flick through this book already and I’m loving what I’ve seen so far. Burnside is an incredible writer and I’m really looking forward to digging into some more of this work.
3. Truth witch
(Susan Dennard // Tor Teen // 412 pages)
‘In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.’ – Goodreads
Okay! The book club is actually starting this month I swear! Anyone who want’s to join us in just needs to use the hashtag #bookclubbaes. I cannot even describe to you how excited I am to be reading a book about witches again, it’s been too long, and not only that, but the book is built around a strong female friendship?? Count me in! We’ll have our post up by the end of the month – so look out for it.