The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I haven’t read a fantasy book this good in a while! Even compared to Six of Crows, which was a total page turner for me, I think I liked this a little more.

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No Time to Spare – Ursula Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin took readers to imaginary worlds for decades. In the last great frontier of life, old age, she explored a new literary territory: the blog, a forum where she shined. The collected best of Ursula’s blog, No Time to Spare presents perfectly crystallized dispatches on what mattered to her late in life, her concerns with the world, and her wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ll be honest: this wasn’t exactly a voluntary pick. I usually never choose books like this for myself, being a fiction lover all the way, but as things go, it was an accidental selection from the NYPL ebooks page. I’d been impatiently looking for Wizard of Earthsea for weeks, saw a Le Guin book scroll by, and without thinking, checked it out. Then I opened it up and – surprise, it was actually a collection of her blog posts from the later years of her life! Quarantine being what it is, I gave it a shot and settled in.

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Circe – Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A little late in reviewing, but this was one of my favorite reads last year! I’m a sucker for any kind of mythology so I had a feeling I would already like this, but it turned out even better than expected. Miller is so damn good at weaving together her story that I couldn’t put it down (I tore through it in 2 days!), and even though Circe wasn’t much of a character to me at first, I was thoroughly cheering for her by the end.

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Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read this book when I’ve heard about it nonstop since it came out! It definitely didn’t disappoint, and like everyone else, I thought it was incredible. Usually when it comes to fantasy I’m pretty hesitant because a lot of authors aren’t convincing enough with their world-building. Oftentimes the magic systems or individual powers or the worlds themselves aren’t fleshed out enough to make you suspend your disbelief; other times, they’re way too complicated and/or farfetched and it turns into a chore to remember all the details while you read.

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