Lately there have been a number of books with witchy themes. Not so much the pointy hat black cat and broom toting middle aged spinster toiling over a cauldron witch. But women who are different, the outsider who does not conform, the outcast who does not comply, and are therefore a danger. Women perceived to be subversive and confrontational just for showing intellect and independence, for having a connect to nature and old traditions. They deal with tales where there is dissonance between public opinion and personal reality. The books have many other common themes from the rehabilitative nature of female friendship, to the unyielding grip of the past in our present circumstances. The stories variously play women as villain, victim, and heroine, and a combination of all three. But witch? Well you’ll have to read the books and decide for yourself.Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Burial Rites centres around Agnes Magnusdottir a servant of no means from north Iceland condemned to death. She is accused of murder after the bodies of two men known to her, one her master, are found slaughtered and burned. She is confined to an isolated farm through a bleak and claustrophobic Icelandic winter to await execution. Her story is told through her interaction with Toti, an inexperienced local priest who is preparing her to meet her fate. And via her friendship with the compassionate Margaret, wife of District Officer Jonsson and mother to their fearful daughters, on who’s farm she stays. Supposedly morally ambiguous: an ‘inhumane witch’, a calculating ‘bloody knowing’ villain, murderous Agnes is gradually revealed. Burial Rites is inspired by the true story of the last woman put to death in Iceland in 1829. Hannah Kent’s first novel, inspired by a trip to Iceland as a teenager, it was much lauded for evoking a sense of place – cold unforgiving - that reflects in the attitudes of its inhabitants. Her writing style successfully and at times poetically conveys the time and mores it is set in without becoming burdened by historic detail. And goes some way to right the unjust treatment Kent felt Agnes received when originally researching the case for a PhD. But did Agnes do it?The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave In a storm off the coast of Norway in 1617 the island men of Vardo perish whilst setting off for fishing grounds. They leave behind a remote island populated almost entirely by their widows and children. The women divided turn either to God or the old Sami religion. Some wait on the structured governance and charity of the region, whilst others take matters into their own hands and begin boat fishing and herding themselves. Maren is resourceful and headstrong enough to try more independent means to survive. Soon she befriends and acts originally as handmaid and tutor, and then as more to Ursa the newly arrived Commissioner’s wife. But Absolom is vainglorious in his ambitious pursuit of authority on the island. He fixates on the tendency in some islanders towards the old religion, and on survival pursuits he sees as manly in the women. As paranoia and suspicion take hold he readies himself for an assault on all that is ungodly. Millwood Hargrave’s usually writes for young adults and this is an initial venture into adult fiction. The strong characterisation and narrative required to pass muster with younger readers is evident in this book, as is her skill as playwright and poet. She builds tension to a fateful climax - but will Absolom bring King Christian’s laws on witchcraft to bear on his wayward flock?The Familiars by Stacey Halls Stacey Halls’ background as an article writer and editor for magazines undoubtedly helped her excel at suspenseful storytelling and writing in a clear uncluttered way. Another debut novel, The Familiars is set in 1612 at the time of the Pendle witch trials. A pregnant 17 year old Fleetwood Shuttleworth finds a letter not intended for her to read. Having suffered a number of miscarriages, it is written that she will not survive the pregnancy. But as mistress of Gawthorpe Hall she must fulfil her husband Richard’s right for an heir, her existence depends on it. By chance she meets Alice Gray a young local girl and midwife who promises to help her. But Alice’s medicine draws from the old ways and its practice throws Alice into suspicion. Will the women and their friendship survive a Lancashire where men’s wont is to destroy anything which is deemed contrary?Watch our how-to video on Borrowbox.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link.Submitted by Drumcondra Library
Fantasy and Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks
For many of us, it may not be easy to wind-down if currently at home or self-isolating and the current global situation can be a little grim and worrying; so why not take the opportunity to indulge in some escapism and get away from it all with the wonderful selection of Fantasy & Science-Fiction eBooks and eAudiobooks available through our online resources with BorrowBox.Relax and let Dublin City Libraries help you escape (if only for a few hours) to myriad, diverse worlds of mystery, magic, miracles, monsters and mayhem!To help you get going, here is a selection of 10 otherworldly titles to try.Please note that you will need your Dublin City library card number and PIN and also to download the BorrowBox app. Watch our how-to video on Borrowbox.The Painted Man Peter V. BrettThe initial installment of the five volume Demon Cycle from New York author Peter V. Brett showcases a world devastated by the Corelings, mysterious, violent elemental entities that nightly arise to ravage and destroy once the sun sets. Humankind has been reduced to shrinking, isolated enclaves of people sheltering desperately behind the failing protection of runic wards but these fragile magical barriers are beginning to fade and the future looks hopeless unless a way can be found to fight back. The Demon Cycle has enjoyed phenomenal international success and Peter V. Brett's work has sold millions of copies and been translated into twenty-three languages.The Beauty of the Wolf Wray DelaneyWray Delaney is the nom de plume of internationally renowned, multi-award winning children's writer Sally Gardner whose title Maggot Moon was the recipient of the Carnegie Medal in 2013. Beauty and the Wolf is a role-reversing, lavish, gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, for adults, which challenges our received perceptions of gender roles and beauty and is set in an Elizabethan England where magical curses are real and where appearances can be very deceiving. This is Gardner's second adult novel following her debut title An Almond for a Parrot.The Sky People Terry Goodkind Before they disappeared the Sky People mandated on the Sun People one unbreakable commandment, one tenet that must never be broken; not to take life. Although it has left them at the mercy of rival tribes, who loot and pillage with impunity, unhindered by such a constraint, the Sun People have kept their word and exercised pacifism, until now. Raging River, Priestess of her Tribe, fought back and the son of the chieftain of the Wolf People tribe lies dead at her hands. Facing the extirpation of her kin because of her actions, Raging River must do the unthinkable and find the long-missing Sky People. This is the Sci-Fi debut from internationally best selling American fantasy novelist Terry Goodkind whose sixteen Sword of Truth novels have earned him countless legions of fantasy-fiction fans across the globe.The Little Snake A.L. KennedyThis novella is a sparkling, modern day fable of greed, death, war and friendship whose chief protagonists are Mary, a child growing up in a city of 'sad, tiny houses of the squashed-in people' and 'tall, sparkling buildings full of crocodiles and meadows' and her friendship with her 'immensely handsome' friend Lanmo, a talking golden snake. Touching and frequently deeply humorous and wry The Little Snake is one of the most unusual, moving and fabulous (in every sense of the term) pleasures you will encounter. It springs from the mind of A.L. Kennedy a Scottish comedian, author and academic whose work has received huge critical acclaim and garnered numerous prestigious awards. The Three-Body Problem Cixin LiuA Chinese radio-scientist transmits an interstellar message and eight years later receives a reply. A mysterious group of 'gamers' has embedded themselves in virtual reality to play a game that spans aeons and always ends in destruction. A fabulously wealthy environmentalist creates a ruthless, faction-riven, secret society that spans the globe. A nano-tech expert seeks to find out why renowned scientists are dying in incomprehensible circumstances. Across the globe the nations secretly rally to avert an event 450 years in their future that will spell disaster for all of humanity but which cannot be prevented. An imaginative tour-de-force on an epic scale which defies the imagination The Three-Body Problem (the first installment in a trilogy) by Cixin Liu was the first ever recipient of the Hugo Award by a Chinese author.Spinning Silver Naomi NovikWhen a young woman tries to salvage over her father's failing moneylending business she finds that she can 'turn silver into gold' but her success comes at a price as she comes to the attention of an other-worldly monarch who holds her fast to her boast. If she can increase his riches she will have his hand in marriage, if she cannot then she will die. Very loosely a re-imagining of Rumpelstiltskin, Spinning Silver is a enchanting tale, expanded from a prior short story penned by Naomi Novik. Spinning Silver was the winner of the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, as was the author's previous smash hit, Uprooted.The Book of M Peng ShepherdAcross the globe people's shadows are disappearing and in their absence the populace begin to succumb to amnesia. Although, in isolation, they have managed to avoid this fate for two years Max discovers one day that her shadow too has now been lost. Fearing her impending erosion of identity and frightened that the erasure will imperil her husband, Orlando, Max secretly flees. Desperate to find her, Orlando embarks on a dangerous journey to track her down aided by an array of recorded messages she left behind; but will he find answers in New Orleans, or is the woman he loves gone forever even if he can locate her? This debut novel is magnificent near-future dystopia concerning the power of memory, identity and love.The Tiger and the Wolf Adrian Tchaikovsky In this first installment of the Echoes of the Fall series we are introduced to Maniye a girl torn between two worlds; that of her father's Wind Runner Wolf Tribe but she also holds within her the heritage of her mother's people, the Tigers, as a result of the rape of her mother while held as a prisoner of war. In this bronze age fantasy milieu people can 'step' or channel the totem animal spirits of their tribal deities and Maniye must flee the clutches of her cruel fathers plans to gain power over both tribes and make her way in a world where clan is set against clan. Whilst she tries to reconcile the warring animal spirits within, she faces danger and betrayal at every turn. Meanwhile, there are storm clouds gathering to the south. Bestselling fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky has been a conferee of both the British Fantasy Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Somewhat interestingly, given the animalistic elements of this trilogy, he has a background in zoology.Shadowless Hasan Al ToptasHasan Al Toptas is one of Turkeys most acclaimed postmodern authors and a winner of the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize, the Cankaya Literature Prize among many others. Shadowless is a surreal, dreamlike, kaleidoscopic enigma which recounts the mysterious disappearances of a local girl, Guvercin, and a barber, Nuri, from a rural Anatolian village. The latter, it appears has been translocated, by means unknown, to a distant city where he has little recollection of how he got there. Is magic at play? Has some kind of evil eye been placed on the village? Are people being abducted and will they return? Shadowless is the second of the author's novels to have been translated into English, in this instance, by Maureen Freely and John Angliss.Golden State Ben H. WintersIn the near future territory of Golden State (roughly analogous to contemporary California) Laszlo Ratesic is an investigator working for the Speculative Service with an innate talent for discerning lies who is called upon to examine the death of a worker in a rooftop fall ,while aided by a promising, enthusiastic junior, Aysa Paige. Abilities such as his are highly valued in the state as wilful falsehood and untruth there is a crime, punished with great severity. In a society where almost every detail of everyday life is ubiquitously monitored, recorded and surveilled their suspicions are aroused when they discover the deceased's Day Book (the continuous chronicle of their daily lives) may have been tampered with. Winters has created a hugely detailed and persuasive dystopia which neither shies away from exploring what happens when a recognised good, honesty, is taken way beyond logical extremes nor detracts from a compelling story that functions as a classic detective mystery.