Hello! I’ve been noticing recently that there have been a lot of books that have made me angry, have to put the book down angry, anger that stays with me long after reading the story, and I have to say I am loving it. Stories that show the importance of stepping out of your lane, of not following the crowd, that sometimes we have to use our voices and even violence to ensure we make a place in this word for ourselves. Every single one of these books deals with some heavy hitting themes; sexism, racism, classism, they’re feminist, scathing reviews of the people who fear anything remotely different, hard hitting at times and with scenes that might make some people feel uncomfortable, and they should. But they are also celebrations of what makes us different, showing how those things are what make us who we are, not something to be looked down on, feared, but rather celebrated, and the below stories show the lengths people will go to achieve that.
If you haven’t read any of the below then I can highly recommend every single one, they all put a fantasy twist on their stories whether they are historical fantasy, contemporary, or high fantasy set in a world wholly different from our own. But every single one of these books had scenes, characters, stories that show the injustices of the world, how we are forced to be smaller to fit in, not to be seen as a threat, and what happens when we break those barriers. I’ve included synopsis’ for all the books, as well as links to my reviews in case you want a deeper insight into the stories & why they made me so angry.Most of these are pretty recent releases, because I can only go off what I have read, but if you have any others you want to add PLEASE leave them in the comments, I’m always looking for more books to add to my TBR!
“Never, Robin thought, would he understand these men, who talked of the world and it’s movements like a grand chess game, where countries and peoples were pieces to be moved and manipulated at will.”
1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.
Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?
“There are people who have problems with women, and alas, many of them are also women. That is because of something called the patriarchy, which I’m sure they have not discussed in that school you go to, but that doesn’t stop it from being an unnecessary and oppressive obstacle, and best disposed of as soon as possible.”
Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.
Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself.
“Seems to me they’re the same thing, more of less. Witching and women’s rights. Suffrage and spells. They’re both…They’re both a kind of power, aren’t they? The kind we aren’t allowed to have.”
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
“You want to know why I’m angry?’ Tietie likes to say,’ look out the window.’ She rarely elaborates, but I’ve heard enough now to know she means ‘the system.’ The system that hasn’t delivered housing, or addressed the high rate of femicide, or stopped corruption. And, further back, the system, that divided people by race, elevating white to the detriment of everyone else. Apartheid ended before I was born, but the damage persists.”
Seventeen-year-old Savannah is cursed. It’s a sinister family heirloom; passed down through the bloodline for hundreds of years, with one woman in every generation destined to die young. The family call them Hella’s girls, named for their ancestor Hella; the enslaved woman with whom it all began. Hella’s girls are always angry, especially in the months before they die.
The anger is bursting from Savannah – at the men who cat-call her in the street, at her mother’s disingenuous fiancé, even at her own loving family. Each fit of rage is bringing her closer to the edge and now Savannah has to act to save herself. Or die trying. Because the key to survival lies in the underbelly of Cape Town, where the sinister veilwitches are waiting for just such a girl.
Blood to Poison
“How do you take the fight out of half the population and render them willing slaves? You tell them they’re meant to do nothing but serve from the minute they’re born. You tell them they’re weak. You tell them they’re prey. You tell them over and over, until it’s the only truth they’re capable of living.”
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
“I always felt proud to be the mum of a boy – they’re so much more straightforward and honest. Girls can be sly, slinking things.”
Sanctuary is the perfect town . . . to hide a secret.
When young Daniel Whitman is killed at a high-school party, the community is ripped apart. The death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper Fenn is the daughter of a witch–and she was there when he died.
VV James weaves a spellbinding tale of a town cracking into pieces and the devastating power of a mother’s love. Was Daniel’s death an accident, revenge–or something even more sinister?
As accusations fly, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a witch-hunt…and the town becomes no sanctuary at all.
“Righteousness, rightfulness – oh, how she hated those words. Their sole purpose seemed to be to keep her in her place: a life with narrow walls and standards of purity that pressed her thin, erased her to nothing but her blood and her good bones and the worth of a pleasing face. A life where she would never contemplate ruling; a life where she would obediently bare her neck for a knife, or gladly embrace the pyre.”
The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.
The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.
Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.
“No one teaches girls how to take care of themselves. We train them to be pretty and kind and polite right before we set them loose in a world filled with wolves. Then we act surprised and horrified when some of them get eaten.”
In the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, three different women discover that midlife changes bring a whole new type of empowerment…
After Nessa James’s husband dies and her twin daughters leave for college, she’s left all alone in a trim white house not far from the ocean. In the quiet of her late forties, the former nurse begins to hear voices. It doesn’t take long for Nessa to realize that the voices calling out to her belong to the dead—a gift she’s inherited from her grandmother, which comes with special responsibilities.
On the cusp of 50, suave advertising director Harriett Osborne has just witnessed the implosion of her lucrative career and her marriage. She hasn’t left her house in months, and from the outside, it appears as if she and her garden have both gone to seed. But Harriett’s life is far from over—in fact, she’s undergone a stunning and very welcome metamorphosis.
Ambitious former executive Jo Levison has spent thirty long years at war with her body. The free-floating rage and hot flashes that arrive with the beginning of menopause feel like the very last straw—until she realizes she has the ability to channel them, and finally comes into her power.
Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio of women discover a teenage girl whose body was abandoned beside a remote beach. The police have written the victim off as a drug-addicted sex worker, but the women refuse to buy into the official narrative. Their investigation into the girl’s murder leads to more bodies, and to the town’s most exclusive and isolated enclave, a world of stupendous wealth where the rules don’t apply. With their newfound powers, Jo, Nessa, and Harriett will take matters into their own hands…
“How could I live the rest of my life like this? I was almost twenty eight and exhausted already. I reminded myself that throughout history women had endured far worse things. I had the internet, a job, access to pizza, money, no kids; no one had tried to burn me at the stake yet; I had not had to flee in the night to freedom. All I had to so was shut the fuck up, get married, and try to be good.”
Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman–especially a Black woman–can find herself on trial for witchcraft.
But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30–or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honour one last request from her mother’s will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.