Hello! February was an incredibly mixed reading month for me. I managed to read 7 books and, while I did enjoy the majority of them, there were two that really stood out to me. Both are fantasy books, though they couldn’t be more different. One a YA fantasy based around a Korean myth, and the other an urban fantasy set in Manchester. These books made me laugh & cry, and I can already see both making my top reads of the year!
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
“Stories are both an escape from the truths of the world and the only way to see them clearly.”
“In order to remain a human you’d have to tie your life to an immortal. I may not be the god of a river, a mountain, or a lake but I am a god, and I would tie my life to yours, if you’ll have me”
“That’s just like a human to think the world revolves around you, to think the rivers are for you, the sky, the sea is for you. You are just one of many parts of the world, and in my opinion, the one that blights them all.”
This Charming Man by C.K. McDonnell
Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.
It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.
Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.
“Look, I didn’t… And I was a very different person back then. I was going through a bad time. I made some poor decisions, but I’ve learned from them. If you must know, I’ve since committed myself to therapy, I’m in a healthy relationship now, and I’ve found out Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ ‘Really?’ Said Sturgess. ‘Congrats, I’ll let the missing persons team know – they’ll be thrilled. Where was he in the end?”
“I don’t know who my parents are. I don’t even know who I am. I escaped because I wanted answers and I never got any. All I am is a helpless pawn in other people’s stupid game. Have you any idea how utterly exhausting it is to spend your life scared of this thing inside you that you can’t control? I’ve had enough. I want answers.”
“The card on the screen above them changed once more. Don’t worry, I shall protect you, my sweet virgin betrothed. Banecroft pointed at the card. ‘Wait, what? Hang on a second.’ He raised his eyebrows quizzically at Sturgess. ‘Are you?’ Sturgess’s face turned red with fury and embarrassment. ‘Untie. Me. NOW!’ ‘All right.’ Said Banecroft. ‘Keep your knickers on. Apparently, you’re good at that.”
What did your February’s looks like reading wise? Did you have a favourite read? How many books did you manage to get through? Let me know in the comments.