Magical Realism – Top 5 Saturday!

Hi guys! Time for another Top 5 Saturday and this one is based around ‘magical realism’ books. I kind of had an idea of what this was but I googled it just to be sure, so just in case anyone wants a definition:

Magical Realism is a style of fiction that paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements.

While I love a good fantasy world, sometimes it’s nice to see a book set in the world I know and, sometimes, love. Fantasy worlds seem so far away from reality but add a little magic to the modern day and, you never know… it might just happen. What is your favourite ‘magical realism’ read. Let me know in the comments.

Thanks to Mandy over at Devouring books  for creating these amazing prompts! You should definitely go check her blog out because she posts some great content.

The Bear and the Nightingale

Set in Middle Age Russia and steeped in folklore, this series is magical realism at its best. Arden’s writing brings the magic off the pages and has you convinced spirits like the Domovoi exist.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

City of Bones

Set in the modern world we know and love except ingrained in that world are vampires, werewolves, fae, all kinds of evil Demons and Shadowhunters, elite warriors blessed by angels to keep humanity safe. This series blends the mundane and the magical perfectly and I would highly recommend this and other series set in the universe.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

The Bone Season

So technically this is set in a dystopian future, but Shannon brings the streets of London to life and gives us scenes in some well known locations. Thanks to an unruly Royal a group called Scion have taken over the UK. Their one goal is to dig out all Clairvoyants and destroy them… at least that’s what they tell the public.

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Trail of Lightning

So another slight cheat, and another book set in a not too distant future where water took over mainland USA and certain cities have managed to hold it back by building walls. The book is set in a Navajo reserve where Demons and monster hunters, once thought fairy tales, have suddenly reappeared and it’s down to one human turned monster hunter to unravel why.

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Wicked as you Wish

This is one of the quirkiest books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Set in the world we know and love except there’s magic. Wonderland, Neverland, Avalon and any other magical fairy tale world you can think of exists. The Snow Queen is evil and on a rampage to stop the new King of Avalon from defrosting the country and allowing its people back… I told you it was quirky.

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left desolate and encased in ice when the evil Snow Queen waged war on the powerful country. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is in hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them. Tala doesn’t mind—she has secrets of her own. Namely, that she’s a spellbreaker, someone who negates magic.
Then hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, and Avalon’s most powerful weapon, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

10 replies »

  1. AHH Great list! I feel like I tend to shy away from magical realism because I’m more of a hardcore fantasy girl, but what I have read I’ve loved. So it was good to have it as a topic because it had me find more books that are a little out of my comfort zone that I might wind up loving. And honestly I’ve been putting off reading Wicked as you Wish for some reason, but the way you described it makes me really excited for it. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the book that made me really want to check out more magical realism books, so if you haven’t checked that out I would highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list! For some reason I never considered these books to be magical realism but more straight up fantasy 😂 But I loved TBATN and Trail of Lightning! I feel like that book is so underrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yea I think I maybe pushed the meaning to the max for this one 😂. Trail of Lightning is definitely underrated, I have the second book on my shelf atm as as soon as I’m through my arc backlog it’s one of my next reads 😊


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