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?”


“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!

Alex who? Kate Daniels has my heart.

Remember last week when I kept going on and on about how much I missed reading Alex Craft novels and I was soooo desolate and just, generally inconsolable? Me neither.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)I had a couple of candidates for placeholders until August. One was Darynda Jones’ First Grave on the Right, which I reviewed here. I can be counted on to mostly only review books I don’t really like. I need to work on this.

Another was/is Sarah J. Mass’ series beginning with Throne of Glass. I think I am like 20% through that. That’s enough for me. I doubt I will finish it. It is quite terrible.

But but BUT, I did try out Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites. Kate Daniels is my kind of protagonist. She is requisitely Buffy/kickass, but she has flaws too. Like, she makes mistakes. And sometimes apologizes for them. HALLELUJAH.

But really, these books are pretty freaking good. I’d recommend them to anyone, whether they like urban fantasy or not (I scoff quite disdainfully at those who do not).

The series is written by husband-and-wife team Gordon and Ilona Andrews. Ilona is from Russia, so one can be reasonably certain the Russian language and folklore mentioned in the books is accurate, and Gordon is ex-Army. It’s kind of weirdly comforting to think how accurate some of the weapons/tactical information in the series must be. A lot of authors do staggering amounts of research (and some, like Laurell K. Hamilton+ are actually real life semi-gun-nuts), so I suspend very little disbelief about weapons. However, I doubt any of these well researched people have had the occasion to shoot a person while researching firearms. Maybe Gordon hasn’t either. WHO KNOWS REALLY. Maybe I should email him and ask? Would that be rude? I would like, work up to it, obviously. But he’s a busy man, I’m sure, and it’s not like there is ever a good segue into “Hey, by-the-by, have you ever killed anyone?”

ANYWAY. So I like this Kate Daniels series. I read all the way through to Magic Slays. The next book in the series is called Magic Rises. Guess when it comes out?

July 30th. Sir, I do not shit you. I can’t catch a break, can I? Oh well. YOU WIN, PUBLISHERS. I will wait patiently. And beg for ARCs the whole time.

+ For some inexplicable reason I mention Laurell K. Hamilton a lot when I talk about books, and writing. And like, guns. And vampires? I don’t even know how it works. She just comes up a lot. I mean, I like her writing. I follow her on twitter. Sometimes I read her blog. But I am not particularly fanatical about her? Seriously though, just look through my reviews. It’s uncanny. Let’s just call it the LKH Phenomenon.

Review: Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a moment about midway into reading this book where I looked up and remarked aloud (I wasn’t alone in the room, not that that would have stopped me) that all authors steal, you know? They all have and they all do, and the difference between my noticing Veronica Roth “stealing” where I generally haven’t often noticed other authors before is that probably I’m just not as well read in their influences, predecessors, competitors, what have you.

It’s weird and feels wrong to admit, but I like dystopian fiction. I only say that it’s weird and feels wrong because I don’t particularly want to like it, as the idea of a dystopian future has haunted my nightmares since I was forced to watch the movie The Road two years ago. It was an awful experience, I was terrified and disgusted. However, I have to admit I like it because I’ve read so much of it. Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, The Hunger Games, The Host (yes, even Stephenie Meyer), Ender’s Game, Margaret Petersen Haddix’s Among the Hidden. To name a few.

Throughout Roth’s attempt to amalgamate these elements and visuals I was forcibly reminded of elements of all of these other works. It made me feel both kind of bored and also ridiculously well-read in this genre. But let’s focus on the boredom.

I couldn’t care too much about Tris because it became clear very early that our tiny, non-pretty, speshul snowflake wasn’t really going to come to harm. I liked her, but I’ve read book after book about small white blonde girls against the world, and it’s really tired. I only say this having read all of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna novels, plus other short authors like Laurell K. Hamilton (who I manage to mention in every. single. review. How??? I’m obsessed, clearly). We get it. Fighting people bigger than you is hard and takes more work. Geez. I should write a book where the protagonist faces the perils of bumping her head, can’t ever find long enough pants, tall enough dates, and consistently knocks things over in close quarters. Because normal to tall people seem to be an underrepresented minority in fiction. Or maybe I’m just being silly. Who knows.

But let’s not get me started about the feasibility of the entire plot. Getting through this novel required a huge suspension of not only disbelief, but also, you know, reality. Physics. Psychology. You know. Stuff.

It’s just so unlikely that the response to world disorder is a big ol’ personality quiz segregation. I mean, people are stupid, but it just doesn’t stand up to logic. Virtue ethics are great measures of character, but they don’t dictate behavior the way Roth designed the society to work.

All in all it just didn’t live up to the hype. Roth is a great writer, but I’ll hold out until a different series/novel appears to give her another go.

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