And so we come to the opening of a new month, dear readers, and a mid-week holiday! Don’t forget, the Library will close at 5pm today (July 3), and will be closed for Independence Day!
A mid-week holiday is the perfect time to indulge in a good book, and today, our genre experts have a few new suggestions for you to keep your heart fluttering and your imagination fired up. We hope you enjoy!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
When I teach history, one of the things I try really hard to impress on my students is that people haven’t changed all that much–what’s changed, is the way we tell stories, and who the heroes and heroines of those stories are. Mackenzi Lee reinforces this lesson is a hug, bawdy, over-the-top novel that is full of the kind of characters who normally get overlooked in history books.
Henry “Monty” Montague may have attended the best boarding schools, and raised to be a proper English gentleman, but there is nothing in his world capable of taming him. He’s flamboyant, reckless, and more than willing to dally with women and men alike. But Monty knows his time is limited–after his Grand Tour, he’s supposed to be settling down to his familial obligations, which he is wholly unsuited to do. He’s also harboring a crush on his best friend, Percy, who is traveling with him, which just makes everything more complicated. But Monty decides to make the best of what time he has and, with Percy and Monty’s sister by his side, sets out for the wildest Grand Tour that Europe has ever seen.
And what a ride it is! The action in the middle part of this book get a wee bit absurd, but this book is so grand, and so enthusiastic, and so adventurous that any traditional trip around the continent would just seem silly. Instead, we get pirates and manhunts, and derring-do a-plenty. We also get a wealth of fascinating characters who embody a number of identities not typically seen in any book, let alone a historical. But Lee’s historic notes at the back of the book justify her choices, and help us realize how vital it is to tell the stories she is.
And best of all, this is a smashing good romance that deals with self-acceptance and loyalty and passion, and is just the kind of book to sweep you off your feet–and off on the adventure of a lifetime!
With A Court of Mist and Fury, Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series leaps from a mediocre read to a strong and engaging romantic fantasy that will leave readers eagerly seeking out the next volume when they finish this one. This book picks up where the first left off, with Feyre engaged to Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, but suffering from depression, due to events from the first book, which is exacerbated by the overly protective and controlling nature of her high fae fiance.
For the first part of the book, Feyre is forced to divide her time between two of the Fae courts of Prythian, Spring which she considers her home, and the Night Court, where she must visit one week each month after being forced into a bargain with the court’s high lord, Rhysand. While she reluctantly visits the Night Court, Rhysand gives Feyre opportunities to master her newfound fae powers, and she finds herself feeling less powerless and less accepting of the restrictive life Tamlin imposes on her. When those restrictions cause her to reach a breaking point, Rhysand arranges for her rescue, and brings her to stay at Night Court as long as she wishes. Throughout the story, war looms on the horizon, and Fayre may be the key to winning the battle for Prythian.
The romance that develops between Feyre and Rhysand is one of equals who empower each other. Despite their mating bond, a fae connection between two people that goes deeper than an ordinary marriage but can be rejected by either party, Rhysand always makes sure that Feyre knows that she has choices and is powerful in her own right. Despite their magical and physical power, Rhysand and Feyre are both vulnerable and in finding each other they find comfort for the lonely parts of themselves. In addition to intensely romantic, their courtship is fun- Rhysand’s flirtatious nature and Feyre’s foul mouth are pure gold in the world of romance banter. Pair all of that wonderful romance with some fantastic world building, and I can easily say this is the best romantic fantasy I have read since A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet.
A disclaimer for those who read the first book in the series and found themselves disappointed: Having read the first volume, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and been completely disappointed by the last third of the book, which in my opinion felt like a Hunger Games rip-off, I was reluctant to continue the series. In the end, the good reviews and readily available status on Overdrive won out, A Court of Mist and Fury went on vacation with me, and it turned out to be the kind of book that made me wish my plane ride was just a little bit longer.
Until next month, beloved patrons–happy reading!