We started our quest with two dozen companions out to see how much fantasy we could celebrate in a month. I missed quite a lot of the latter half of Wyrd and Wonder – work exploded into overdrive and then my remote holiday turned out to have even less internet access than expected. However, there’s no stopping a fantasy party on a quest – so I’ve had an awful lot of fun catching up to compile this final retrospective!

Strap in and grab a cup of tea or a pint of ale – with two and a bit weeks to cover, this round-up is as epic as fantasy deserves…

Features

Interviews

  • DJ had a bumper month of interviews to celebrate Wyrd and Wonder, adding a host of new authors to my list of interests:
    • Tyler Whitesides, author of The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn a new epic fantasy featuring a master con artist (yes, that’s a good way to get my attention too)
    • Deborah A Wolf, author of The Dragon’s Legacy series, a coming of age saga about dragons and dreamshifters (sounds intriguing!)
    • David Keck, author of In the Eye of Heaven, a gritty medieval trilogy of squires, skalds and giants (did you say tourneys, civil war and… dentistry? Oh boy)
    • Kathryn Troy, author of the Frostbite series, a romantic fantasy of vampires with a streak of Gothic and a hint of weird (fantasy vampires, you say? Hello, I say)
  • Bethan May interviewed debut authors Anna Stephens about the gruelling world of Godblind and A Z Anthony about Mongolian fantasy Servant of Rage
  • Sarah interviewed Sarah Beth Durst, author of the recently-concluded Queen of Renthia trilogy (and reviewed the final volume) as well as Lara Elena Donnelly, author of the much-lauded Amberlough and Armistice
  • Jorie interviewed Jennifer Silverwood about the release of the revised edition of dark fantasy Silver Hollow.

Reviews

Runalongwomble had fun exploring Pacific Monsters in Margret Helgadottir’s latest anthology and dived back into Joanne Harris’s tremendous Asgardian retelling of The Testament of Loki (Runalong recommends: read with pizza). And – hang on to your hats – he’s calling R F Kuang’s The Poppy War one of the most impressive fantasies of the year.

Kristin of Metaphors and Moonlight gave a thumbs-up for Saad Z. Hossain’s djinni urban fantasy Djinn City, and called YA series opener The Midnight Gardener by R G Thomas a ‘sweet, adorable clean romance’ (full review).

Annemieke (A Dance with Books) liked the m/m romance in A J Rose’s Reaping Havoc, but felt it lacked in character and world-building; magical dystopia Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe also failed to stand out. However, she’s got 5 great reasons to read lesbian/bisexual paranormal anthology Into the Mystic and high praise for the second instalment in N K Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, The Obelisk Gate.

My co-hostess Jorie was very positive about J M Bogart’s middle-grade fantasy Liminal Lights, but struggled with the audiobook of Arthurian fantasy Woven by Bree Moore and was a bit disappointed by Scott M Sandridge’s anthology Hero’s Best Friend. Jorie also reviewed Howard Behar’s The Magic Cup, and reflected on the sometimes difficult connections between the stories we love and the real-world connections of the authors who write them. Happily there was no awkward context for her enjoyment of Kaki Olsen’s contribution to Unspun, a collection challenging traditional readings of fairy tales, or Kate Wolford’s Frozen Fairytales!

Jenna at Falling Letters was underwhelmed by Audrey Coulthurst’s YA fantasy Of Fire and Stars, but loved middle-grade fantasy The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz. Wol at Tome and Tankard was entertained by Sam Hooker’s dark comedic fantasy Peril in the Old Country (recommended beverage: Carpathian Blood Brandy).

Dani at Perspective of a Writer founds lots to like (except that awful cover) as Chinese mythology meetings SF urban fantasy in F C Yee’s The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, and in opera-inspired Mongol romance The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen.

Hannah (I Have Thoughts On Books) adored the first half of Strange the Dreamer, but ended up non-plussed by Laini Taylor’s latest. Jason (Off the TBR) was effusive in his praise of William Ray’s black powder fantasy Gedlund: a Tale of the Verin Empire. Michele at The Monday Review chose to focus on her appreciation for Juliet E McKenna’s Aldabreshin Compass quartet (‘ware spoilers, as the review covers all 4).

Susy was bowled over by Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom, and loved the originality of new urban fantasy Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves (a second thumbs-up after Annemieke’s positive review earlier this month). The final verdict on Claire LeGrand’s Furyborn was less promising – after split reviews earlier in the month, it ended up disappointing Jenna and Sarah and getting a mixed report from Dani.

Deanna was won over by A Discovery of Witches ‘unorthodox mix of mythology and history with just a dash of science’ and adored Holly Black’s latest Fae fantasy, The Cruel Prince. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova also garnered high praise – but sadly F M Boughan’s Cinderella’s Inferno didn’t hit the high notes.

Bethan May delightedly continued Mark Lawrence’s nunnish epic with Grey Sister and couldn’t contain how much she enjoyed Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld – calling it ‘the most fun book I’ve read… ever’!

Photo Challenge

I’ve never stuck with a photo challenge for a full month, but I loved this bit of Wyrd and Wonder (and it was much easier to catch up on, even if my posts were all out of order at the end!) Some of my favourites from the last two weeks: Bethan May including an actual cinnamon roll for Day 23; MyClutteredBookshelf’s gorgeous shot of Circe for It’s a Kind of Magic and all the shelfie’s on Day 20! Do check out Instagram for the full set, as it’s been a lovely month – with plenty more on the #wyrdandwonder tag on Twitter!

Wrapping up

This isn’t the only wrap post of course – here are some lovely retrospectives from some of participants

  • Deanna was much too nice about us 😉
  • Bethan May celebrated the end of an amazing month with a snippet from her WIP
  • As you may have read, Lisa has closed Over the Effing Rainbow now that Wyrd and Wonder is over. Don’t worry, she’ll be back with a brand new blog soon!

Did I miss something? Drop me a note in the comments!

Thank you so much to everyone who took part – it’s an absolute pleasure to be part of such an enthusiastic community and I’ve really enjoyed all the content and chats. Wyrd and Wonder will be back! The month-long event will return in May 2019 – but keep an eye on @wyrdandwonder as we are toying with the idea of hosting some flash fantasy events throughout the year…