Mermaids in Wheelchairs

Mermaid drawing by deviantart user boobookittyfuck. So my friend posted this thing and I was like, guys, there are already tons of books like this? Then my stupid internet browser at work ate my comment, so here I am!

Okay so:

First, specific recommendations based on the above, and then just general “look, fantasy books that are doing the damn thing.”

Mermaids in wheelchairs:

  • Deadshifted by Cassie Alexander (Edie Spence #4). The character is actually a siren, if I remember correctly, but she has a tail. This is the least exciting book in the series in my opinion. The first book is about a night nurse in a supernatural ER ward. There are shifters and vampires and mysterious multidimensional entities, oh my!
  • One Salt Sea (October Daye #5) by Seanan McGuire. See below for the first book in the series. **added 01/12/18

Sirens using sign language:

  • High Demon and First Ordinance series by Connie Suttle. The characters are by and large villains in this universe, but there is one in particular whose vocal cords were damaged intentionally and he uses telepathy and sign language to communicate. Trigger warning: Suttle’s books contain a lot of violence and misogyny and her characters are largely disempowered women with massive trauma issues. Many attain power and status and resolution later, but it didn’t sit well with me.

Religious vampires:

  • Blood Rights (House of Comarré series #1) by Kristen Painter has a vampire named Preacher who lives in a church.
  • In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes also has several characters who have to reconcile their religion and their vampirism. There are honestly so many more but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

Disabled fairies fighting for accessibility:

  • The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. The pixies in these books have to fight for fair wages and anti discrimination. Also Jenks is just an all around fun character.
  • Rosemary and Rue (October Daye series #1) by Seanan MacGuire also deals with this, delving even more into drug abuse, and racism.
  • A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton. Although in this series the fairies are disabled mostly as a direct result of violence inflicted on them by a twisted and sadistic society or three.

Spirits fighting fires and saving people from natural disasters/situations that are too dangerous for the living:

  • Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires series #1) by Rachel Caine.
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (though more so as the series progresses).
  • Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. The ghosts in this series are more bidden than selfless, but they are present!
  • Shadowland (The Mediator series #1) by Meg Cabot. Kind of. Again, more bidden and subjective rather than a ghostly task force.

Fae snatching children from abusive homes while changelings wreak havoc:

  • Seanan MacGuire again, October Daye.
  • Trailer Park Fae (Gallow and Ragged series #1), by Lilith Saintcrow. This series is so so so good!

Liberated genies using their powers to fight for human rights:

  • Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison. This is a romance novel and doesn’t have much plot to speak of. Mostly the Djinn is just horrified at the poverty this hot witch is suffering through, but I like this series, each of which can be read as standalone novels.

Psychic doctors, psychologists, teachers, etc:

  • Calderon’s Fury (Codex Alera series #1) by Jim Butcher. All of the healers in this world are also empaths.
    This is actually a really common element in urban fantasy, so it’s very odd that I am otherwise drawing a blank.

I didn’t get into a couple of the suggestions: shapeshifters with stretch marks is weirdly specific and I’m positive there are hirsute female shapeshifter protagonists with normal, stretch-marked bodies, but it isn’t treated as a point of contention or mentioned. Let me know in the comments if I mentioned any of your favorite, or if there are any I should check out!

I’ll leave you with a strong, genre subverting recommendation which is an awesome, 5 star read: In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan. Excerpt:

“What’s your name?”

“Serene.”

“Serena?” Elliot asked.

“Serene,” said Serene. “My full name is Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle.”

Elliot’s mouth fell open. “That is badass.”

The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. Don’t try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border—unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and—best of all as far as Elliot is concerned—mermaids.

Elliot? Who’s Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.

It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.

Thanks for reading!

Series recommendation: I Bring The Fire by C. Gockel

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, not for a lack of material, but because I’m lazy. This series demands recognition though, and I am totally floored that such an engrossing, imaginative, intricate story hasn’t become a sleeper sensation among fantasy readers.

Set in the US in the present, but spanning millennia and ages, I Bring The Fire incorporates mythology into a modern fantasy story. Many cultures are represented, in both the myths and mythological creatures that appear in the duration of the series.

The first book opens with veterinary student Amy Lewis driving home to Chicago during a vet school break. She gets run off the road by a serial killer and her unwitting prayer for help is heard by Loki, the trickster god of Norse legend.

Pretty much anyone who has enjoyed seeing gods and legendary figures in the media, The Avengers, for example, will enjoy the portrayal of Loki, his dynamic with Amy, modern America, as well as Thor, Odin, Mimir, and Hoenir. There are action, adventure, romance, and more myths than you would think possible all woven into this series. I’ve considered myself fairly knowledgeable about mythology in the past, but the depth of narrative and characterization Gockel has incorporated in the plot is very impressive. There are also some cool twists and adaptations of the traditional stories, like Baldur being completely different than in retellings.

Any fans of Jim Butcher, Rick Riordan, Ilona Andrews, and the expanded Marvel universe will probably get a kick out of these books.

Review: Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt

Heirs of GraceHeirs of Grace by Tim Pratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recent art school graduate Bekah thought she’d hit the jackpot: an unknown relative died, and she inherited a small fortune and a huge house in the mountains of North Carolina.

Trey Howard, the lawyer who handled the estate, is a handsome man in his twenties and they hit it off right away-and soon become more than friends. Bekah expected a pleasant year to get her head together and have a romantic fling. Problem is, the house is full of junk…and siblings she didn’t know she had are willing to kill her for it.

More important, the junk in her new house is magical, she’s surrounded by monsters, and her life seems to be in mortal peril every time she ventures into a new room. As Bekah discovers more about her mysterious benefactor and the magical world he inhabited, she’s realizes that as tough and resourceful as she is, she might just be in over her head…

Heirs of Grace is a tale of family and magic, action and wonder, blending the strong heroine, cheeky humor, and dark fantasy that have become the hallmarks of Tim Pratt’s writing.

Sound the alarms, I’ve found a new author to obsess over! Tim Pratt did such an amazing job with this book, I really can’t emphasize that enough.

Such a good book! It combines all of the elements of a book I’d love to read into a perfectly executed mélange of I-want-to-read-this: The South, big old magical inherited houses, cool objects of power, female protagonists that are kick ass, etc.

Tim Pratt writes like Ilona Andrews and Diana Wynne Jones had a beautiful, witty, male, also-writerly baby. Bekah, the protagonist, is so refreshing. It’s strange to say that I loved a female character written by a man so much more than any female characters I’ve read written by anyone else, recently, but I really did. Granted, men have been writing good female characters for the entirety of human history. It’s just rare, like most excellent things.

Also, the setting of the story being in and around Boone, North Carolina was just funny, because one of my best friends in Denver lived there and talks about it every now and again, so I feel like I know it.

Also, I had a fun exchange after the laugh I got on the second page:


The old woman gestured vaguely at me. She was wearing white gloves, which fit her general level of dress, but seemed better suited to high tea or church than general sitting around. She clarified: “Are you [so]me kind of Mexican?” That was a new one. Sometimes on forms I check “Other” and sometimes I check “Pacific Islander” and often other people mark me down as “Black” (which my adoptive parents are, and almost certainly some of my biological ancestors, too), but I’d never been self- or other-identified as “some kind of Mexican.” Welcome to the South, I guess. I hadn’t spent much time in this part of the country, and the first person I spoke to in my temporary new home wasn’t making me look forward to future human interactions. “Sure,” I said. “Some kind of Mexican.
Buenos días and vete a la chingada.”  

I laughed so hard I had to call my coworker Val over to laugh with me.
Me: “Wouldn’t it be ‘va te a la chingada?'”
Val: “I don’t know, I don’t really write in Spanish.”
Me: “Well how would you tell someone to go fuck themselves?”
Val (with a completely straight face): “Go fuck yourself. You gotta say it so they understand.”

Val is great. Anyway, you should read this book. It probably won’t change your life but you will probably like it and laugh at least once. I almost never laugh at books. I think Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher and JK Rowling are the only other writers who have ever made me laugh. Pratt has a series about a woman named Marla Mason which I intend to start reading immediately. Well, immediately after the 37 other books I have waiting in the wings. We will see which priority wins out.

Review: Tell The Wind And Fire

Tell the Wind and FireTell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

Full disclosure, I have never read A Tale of Two Cities. I KNOW, I should, and I’ve lost some Brit Lit cred in your eyes. This book is a fantasy retelling of the Dickens novel, set in an alternate future where Dark and Light magic have torn society apart, to the point that the two cities are vastly different parts of New York.

The protagonist, Lucie, differs from the Dickensian Lucie Manette in that she is the central figure and the narrator. She also has a lot of dark secrets. For being 17 in the book, Lucie is incredibly mature, and very socially adept. She is famous on both the Light and Dark sides for being “The Golden Thread in the Dark,” a symbol of hope and devotion, and also of resistance.

The romance between Lucie and Ethan Stryker, the son of one of the most important men in the city, is a constant source of conflict and drives most of the plot. Despite this, the emotions she carries didn’t become cloying, in my opinion, although it did seem a bit unrealistic that a 17 year old could be so steady and self aware.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has read A Tale of Two Cities, and those who have not but would be interested in a female protagonist with an unwavering focus.