2019 is SLAYING with all the amazing new releases – both ones that have just come out and those that are upcoming! I mean, can y’all SLOW DOWN FOR A SEC? Let my bank account and I catch up, and while you’re at it, please add 15 hour to each day so I have time to devour all of these exciting fantasy books.
SO TODAY, I’m going to be sharing just five 2019 fantasy releases you need on your TBR! I’ve only read a couple of them, and the others are on my TBR, so I hope I get to read them ASAP and just avoid allllll my other responsibilities. You know how it is. Oh, and I got to chat to the lovely Gita Trelease about her YA fantasy novel, Enchantée. Check it out!
IS THIS NOT THE MOST GORGEOUS BOOK YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?! Seriously. My eyes are in love. And just when I thought I couldn’t love this book even more, then I read it. And wow — I instantly knew this would be one I’d just devour. I mean, it’s set in 1789 Paris, which is an instant star just for setting alone. The writing was flawless. The world was intriguing. The characters were fun and the banter was solid gold and it was just such an enjoyable reading experience.
Okay, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you… my favourite character in this book maaaay have been the dress that feasted on blood? And was magical? WHO CAN BLAME ME, I WANT A VAGUELY MURDEROUS DRESS THAT LOVES BLOOD. What could be better? Okay, well maybe Camille came pretty close to being my favourite as well. She can do petty magic to transform scrap metal into money, but when her magic stops working properly, she has to venture into the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette for something a little more lucrative.
There was just one aspect of this book that I didn’t love — and that was kind of the middle section. Enchantée started off really strongly and I was swept up in this magical, historic France, but there was kind of a little lull in the middle of the story where I felt the pacing wasn’t completely on point. But then it picked up again for the ending and I’m glad I powered on through. If you’re looking for a magical, beautifully written fantasy novel set in historic France, I cannot recommend this one highly enough! You’re certainly in for a treat.
Heck yaaas. THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO EPIC. Magic? Persecution? Two strong, badass women at the core of this novel? Yes please! And I dare you to tell me that cover doesn’t make you go all heart-eyes. This one’s coming out next month, and I’ve only heard amazing things from people who already have their hands on a copy. And it’s also a standalone! I often find it’s rare to come across standalone fantasy novels these days, and for a chronic first-book-reader-only, this is like the best news ever. SO MUCH EXCITE.
LOOK AT OUR AUSSIE QUEEN OUT THERE SLAYING. Astrid is seriously just too cool and Four Dead Queens is next on my to-read pile, and I just can’t wait to get around to it. I HAVE BEEN EXCITED FOR LIKE A YEAR, Y’ALL. The wait is finally over! In case you haven’t already heard what this spectacular novel is about, it’s basically a murder mystery that takes place in a fantasy setting where society is split into four quadrants ruled by four very different queens — queens who all get murdered and no one knows who did it. SO. PUMPED. FOR. THIS. All hail, Queen Astrid!
Adorable queer munchkins? Check! Swoon-worthy romances? Check! A plot that kept me on the edge of my seat until I turned the final page, sobbing, begging that the book didn’t just end like that and then stay up until 3am planning a heist to break into the publisher’s office and steal the manuscript for the next book? CHE— I mean, nope, that definitely wasn’t me. Don’t look at me.
Soooo… The Gilded Wolves is officially my new favourite fantasy book. I know I rate a lot of books highly and throw around five stars like a high school teacher in his 40s throws around the word “yolo”, but THIS TIME I MEAN IT. I had no idea just how much I was going to love this book until I opened it up read about cookies. The author sure knew the way to my heart with this novel—food and queer characters. Mention cookies or dessert of any variation, no matter how relevant to the plot? INSTANT FIVE STARS.
I will admit, the world-building was a little hard to understand at times, and I was mainly just here for the characters anyway. The France setting didn’t seem overly unique or applicable to the story, except for the cool names and the accents (I listened to this book on audio and I 10/10 recommend), which was unfortunate. But there will be a second book! I’m hoping that I’m able to understand the world a bit more in the sequel and see more of the French influence. DID I MENTION THAT I NEEDED THE SEQUEL, LIKE, YESTERDAY?! I’m so damn excited. It’s going to be amazing.
First of all: HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT COVER?! I haven’t read this gem yet, but I’m SO EXCITED to get to it. It’s inspired by Ancient Arabia and it’s about a girl who disguises herself as a man to find an artefact that will restore magic to her cursed world. UMMM… GET IN MY BRAIN, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. I’ve already seen a few people on the interwebs reading this gorgeous novel and the characters are apparently super adorable cinnamon rolls, and I know I’m going to want to protect them with everything I’ve got. Soooo looking forward to reading this one!
Interview with Gita Trelease
Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Gita Trelease has lived in lots of places, including New York, Paris, and a tiny town in central Italy.
She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before becoming a novelist, she taught classes on writing and fairy tales—some of which have seeped into her stories.
Along with her husband and son, Gita divides her time between an old village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine, where she’s still searching for a secret portal that will take her back to Versailles.
I can imagine quite a bit of research went into writing a story set in France that felt authentic and well-written. What’s the weirdest thing in your search history from researching for Enchantée?
There were so many weird things! In the time right before my novel takes place, it was very fashionable for women to wear incredibly high hairstyles and hair pieces, often decorated with bird nests or ships or celebrating an event, like the royal family’s smallpox inoculation. It was said that their hairdos were so tall that women wearing them had to kneel on the floor of their carriages so as not to crush their hair against the ceiling. Most of them didn’t have their hair done more than once a week, so they had to sleep sitting up, and used long, finger-like sticks to scratch their scalps, which apparently became terribly itchy because of the animal-fat pomade and powder they wore. At first, all of this seemed so strange to me, but the more time I spent in that world, the more normal it became.
If you could hop in the TARDIS and take your main characters on a trip to your hometown present day, what would be at the top of each of your characters’ must-do list?
I’ve lived in a lot of places, but my official hometown is the Swedish city of Göteborg. I’m sure all the characters in Enchantée would want to visit the city’s beautiful amusement park, Liseberg. Their favorite ride would definitely be the biggest rollercoaster there…even Chandon and Aurélie, who would at first dismiss it as dreadfully boring, would be getting in line to ride again.
I absolutely loved the magical dress that feasted on blood in Enchantée! If you could steal any fictional item of clothing / accessory, what would it be?
Kell’s many-sided coat in VE Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.
If you could travel to any location from a novel, whether it be real or fictional, where would you go and which character from Enchantée would you want by your side?
I just finished reading Yangsze Choo’s The Night Tiger, and I’d love to visit 1930s Malaya with Lazare.
If you could tell yourself one piece of advice before you started writing the first draft of Enchantée, what would it be? Would you have changed anything about your writing journey if you could?
I would have told myself that writing the first draft would be a horrible experience compared to the rest of the writing process, and that I just had to get through it. I find the early drafts of a book to be completely demoralizing, though now I’m beginning to understand that’s just part of my process: both the terrible draft and hating it. The only thing I would have changed about my journey would have been to believe in myself and try writing a novel earlier than I did. I’ve always been writing, ever since I was small, but I thought I had to use those skills for something practical, so I got a PhD and became a professor. I loved teaching, and I loved doing the research for my academic papers, but otherwise it was a bit of a long way around to get where I am now.
Have you read Enchantée or any of the other books I’ve mentioned? What are some recent fantasy releases you’ve loved? What other ones should be on my TBR? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Enchantée in exchange for an honest review!