Long winter nights provide ample reading time, so I think it’s time to pick up that thick fantasy you’ve always been wanting to read and get stuck into it. If nothing else, it’s a perfect escape from those icy winter nights. Here are my top five winter recommendations!
This is a recent read for me, but perfect for winter with it’s Prague setting and chilly goodness. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a high-stakes love story between angels and demons. Now, I’m not one for love stories, but I adored this fantasy, with its rich setting and kick-ass protagonist.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I finally read Game of Thrones back in the first half of the year, but unlike many who’ve read it, I didn’t speed through it. It took me forever to get through this book. I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to, but I can definitely see the appeal, and let’s be honest, it’ll be a classic when our children (or grandchildren) are older. So it’s kind of cementing itself on a ‘must read’ shelf. What better time to read this fantasy with winters that stretch on for years than in the winter months! Bite the bullet and pick up a copy to see what all the hype is about!
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
I can’t think the word ‘Outlander’ without mentally singing the TV show’s theme song. It’s so good. The theme song, I mean. The book is fantastic too. Although slightly slow to begin with, this incredibly researched story about a time travelling WWII nurse and the man she falls in love with is addictive. Set in the wild Scottish Highlands, Outlander is a heart-pumping, steamy, and edge-of-your-seat they-have-the-worst-luck-in-the-world historical novel with romance and science-fiction that lends itself to fantasy, and adventure, and it will play with your heart and probably break it. So, you should read it. Because it’s healthy to have a book break your heart every once in a while.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Lord of the Rings is another recent read for me, but it’s one I’ve been meaning to read for such a long time. I got it out from my library for the billionth time, but this time I made sure to knuckle down and read it! I’ve always found it pretty slow to start with, but I was pleasantly surprised that it truly picks up pace after the spot that I always seem to put it down. The Fellowship of the Ring‘s popularity always baffled me somewhat, but now, after reading it, I can definitely see what the fuss was about, and I still can’t shake the absolute dread that fills me every time I imagine being tracked by a black rider.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
1. Harry Potter
I don’t know about you, but all I want in winter is a big warm mug of some hot drink, candles, a blanket, and Harry Potter. It’s a winter staple. I can never put my finger on what makes Harry Potter so magical to me, but I think it’s probably the comfort that it brings. I was lucky enough to be part of the Harry Potter generation, and to grow up with the boy wizard. I was eleven years old when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, and I remember lining up for that giant book, and shutting myself in my room over the course of the next two days to read it.
Returning to Hogwarts every year is something I always make a point to do. After all, it’s my literary equivalent of a home. In my humble opinion, there’s no better way to spend winter than with Harry, Hermione and Ron.
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason … HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
Let me know your top five winter fantasies in the comments below!