While I would love summer to last year ’round, unfortunately the warm weather does have to end sometime. As the cold descends on us this fall and winter, there are plenty of fantasy and sci-fi reads to keep the heat coming. From the back-to-school adolescent adventures of Tamora Pierce’s prequel Tempests and Slaughter to the dark mystery of Juliet Marillier’s Heart’s Blood, here are eight tales of conspiracy, magic, and danger with summer settings to keep the fun going all through the year.
Who doesn’t love a good myth? Retellings of ancient legends are wonderful ways to bring stories with long histories to new audiences or eras. Authors can reinterpret classic tropes or familiar heroes, bringing different aspects of their personalities to vivid, sparkling life. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the most exciting myth retellings that will be hitting shelves soon, as well as some recent favorites.
As peoples, we Jews constitute a multitude of communities that is as numerous and infinitely varied in their backgrounds, religious practice, cultural mores, ethnicities, and everything else. We are communities, not a community; peoples, not a people. As Rabbi Angela Burchdahl told Haaretz, “Whoever decided that they want to flee oppression and go to a place where they could have freedom and where they could serve a God that redeems them—that is what it means to be a Jew.”
Our mythologies are as diverse as our own origins, spanning every corner of the world. With that in mind, let’s highlight some must-read sci-fi and fantasy novels by Jewish authors from many different backgrounds, ones that finds characters and authors come to terms with individual mythologies and heritages.
Just as we struggled to settle into quarantine and self-isolation, Netflix blessed the world with the limited series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. The unlikely rise to fame of zookeeper Joe Exotic captivated millions—as did his alleged mistreatment of his big cats and manipulation of his husbands. A violent and charismatic subject, Exotic directly and indirectly put animal and human lives at risk.
But Joe might as well have taken a page from some sci-fi/fantasy tamers and keepers of wild and magical creatures. In the real world and in fantasy realms, individuals gather beasts mundane and magical to their side for power… and turn on them when the creatures are no longer useful.
Series: Five Books About…
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