Fantastic Five: fantasy faves since last year

Welcome to our fifth annual Wyrd and Wonder! Your five Wyrd and Wonderful co-hosts will be sharing our Fantastic Fives each Sunday through May, with a different theme each week. To start the month, I’m looking at my top five fantasy reads since last Wyrd and Wonder.

I read a lot of fantasy in 2021, so fantasy titles dominated my Best of The Year. Regular readers can probably predict at least some of my answers today, but I promise to throw in some surprises!

I picked up The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri the day after last Wyrd and Wonder ended, and was swept away by its dizzying vision. Feminism, colonialism, romance, plant magic, awful family and terrifying gods all feature in this slow-burn epic, and I loved every minute. Not read it? Lisa has a copy to give away if you’re signed up to Wyrd and Wonder!

Book cover: The Jasmine Throne - Tasha Suri
Book cover: She Who Became The Sun - Shelley Parker-Chan

See, I am entirely predictable: I loved all of the sapphic trifecta of 2021*. Shelley Parker-Chan’s reimagining of Chinese history She Who Became The Sun was the most unapologetically cinematic, with its conflicted characters and epic battles. Come for revenge and unrequited love; stick around for defying fate and subverting the patriarchy with style.

* Including The Unbroken, but I read it before May 2021, so it doesn’t count today.

The Bone Ship’s Wake didn’t quite make my list of favourite books last year, but it’s a brilliant conclusion to RJ Barker’s epic maritime fantasy so I’m giving it a nod today. If you love the horror and drama of life aboard tall ships of war, this is one for you. Huge character arcs and exquisite attention to detail in its bleak world-building result in a very satisfying read indeed.

Book cover: The Bone Ship's Wake - RJ Barker
Book cover: You Let Me In - Camilla Bruce

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce is both a dark woodland fantasy and a horrifying psychological drama as an unreliable narrator explains how faeries saved her life. Or ruined it. Or are merely figments of her wild imagination protecting her from the awful things she has experienced and done (if you listen to her therapist, but why would you do that?)

I’ve read less fantasy in 2022 so far, and my pick of the bunch is CL Polk’s debut Witchmark. A beautifully written romantic conspiracy thriller, with a cinnamon roll protagonist trying to elude his family, hide his nature and live a useful life in a magically dystopian world modelled on early 20th century Europe. Absolutely delightful.

Book cover: Witchmark - CL Polk

What other fantasies have your Wyrd and Wonder co-hosts loved this past year? Check out the Fantastic Fives from the rest of the team: A Dance With Books | Dear Geek Place | The Book Nook | Jorie Loves A Story

Want to join us in sharing your own fantastic fives? We’d love to see them – check out our weekly topics and share your links in the master schedule. We’ll be sharing our Fantastic Fives each Sunday through May, but you’re welcome to post any day (and tackle the prompts in any order, because that’s the sort of super-relaxed party we like to run).

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