This is a tag that was created by Alexandra of Reading By Starlight and that has been tackled recently by some of my favourite people: the Orang-utan Librarian, Zeezee with Books, Ola and Piotrek of Re-enchantment of the World, Maddalena of Space and Sorcery and the inimitable Bookstooge. As I am a very reluctant traveller IRL it’s been great to see everyone’s choices and my TBR has swollen yet again. Now it’s time for a little payback, I hope …
Secrets and lies: a book set in a sleepy small town
The house at Chapel Hollow is a stone’s throw from the small town of Arcadia and yet so very separate. It’s a place of strange magic and small mysteries and its inhabitants are not above stealing townspeople to do their dirty work for them. And yet this still remains a thoroughly charming read. (Or, for lashings more charm and a complete absence of people-stealing the manga series Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka takes place in a quiet, rural town in Aomori Prefecture, Japan).
Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community
(I loved Bookstooge and Maddalena’s picks particularly for this category). The fictional Caribbean island of Dolorosse in The New Moon’s Arms is vibrantly alive with some wonderful characters and the little boy that Calamity finds on the beach one morning eventually introduces both her and the reader to a second beach-side community that lives on the other side of the waves.
Here be dragons: a book with a voyage on the high seas
Not so much a voyage on the high seas as beneath them *evil laugh*, this book introduces us to a much stranger and more dangerous version of the mermaid than we’ve encountered before. Unintentionally, I chose a book that is the complete antithesis of The New Moon’s Arms above, which I find quite pleasing, I have to say.
Tread lightly: a book set down a murky river or in a jungle
Since Piotrek picked the first book that came to my mind I’m going with the hot, sticky, overgrown and waterlogged future world as imagined by Ballard. The setting is so completely and beautifully rendered by Ballard’s writing that it overtakes character and plot and the ending is oddly trippy. Bring on the alligators!
Frozen wastes: a book with a frost-bitten atmosphere
The Orang-utan Librarian pipped me to the post on this one, so this is my second choice. Brought up in the heart of the Clayr’s glacier, Lirael’s world is cold and bleak until she begins work in the Great Library and makes the acquaintance of the Disreputable Dog. After which, nothing is ever the same again.
The boonies: a book with rough or isolated terrain
Join Isabella Camherst on her very first journey, into the mountains of Vystrana in search of rock-wyrms, mysteries and adventure. Woo!
Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting
In The Blister electricity and combustion don’t work, it’s arid, dusty and riddled with strange, dangerous creatures. It’s the last place you’d want to fight a war. Unless you’ve got a revolver-toting gorilla on your side, of course.
(Embarrassingly, Ola’s choice for this category reminded me that I still haven’t started the Ed McDonald book I bought off the back of her recommendation *kicks self*).
Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands
I cannot rave enough about Johnston’s take on The Arabian Nights, in which the untamable desert is a beautifully palpable place. The kind of place in which demons make their home and storyteller heroines are born. That said, the cover art for the book that both Zeezee and Maddalena picked is way, way more evocative than this pinky-purple kissy-faces business here.
Wild and untamed: a book set in the heart of the woods
Escaping from her own demons Caitrin comes to work at the castle at the top of the wooded Whistling Tor, but the trees are home to more than just the wind and she must help break the curse if anyone is to get any peace.
Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic
Finally, as Bookstooge picked the best book for this category I’ll go with The Unicorn Creed. Funny, playful and thoroughly engaging, this was an unexpected delight when I first read it a couple of years ago. Maggie, Colin and Moonshine the unicorn are perfect company in this whirlwind of a story in which we meet magical creatures and mayhem galore.
And this is where I’m supposed to tag some people, but I’d much rather leave it open to those that want to have a go, especially as I’m a bit late to the gig. I hope I can tempt you? This was great fun to do and just what a person needs for a moment of light relief in these most melancholy times.