Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Underappreciated

One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day. Get creative! Maybe share snippets from other bloggers who have reviewed it or make some fun art to get your message across.

When I’m pressed to recommend amazing books, I have two go-tos: the first, The Magician’s Book, is pretty well-loved in the book blogging community. The second boasts four reviews when plugged into the book blogger search engine, and three of those are mine or my fault. The winner is clear: ladies and gentlemen, I give you Banewreaker.

Jacqueline Carey is one of my favorite writers, but jumping into her Kushiel novels can be a bit daunting—while they’re split up into trilogies, there’s nine of them, not to mention their high page count. There’s also her Santa Olivia series, which I haven’t read yet, but they’re her foray into science fiction and Carey, from my limited experience, is best with a world she can fully manipulate. There’s a lot of reasons to start with Banewreaker when approaching Carey, but the biggest one is that you have to respect a woman who takes on The Lord of the Rings.

As you may have guessed, I am a huge The Lord of the Rings freak. (A distant relative once teased me for the fact that my blog’s tag cloud features Tolkien’s name more prominently than Austen; I cannot imagine why she thought the reverse would be true.) I’m also a huge fan of fantasy deconstructions, as it’s a genre whose formulas are ripe for the taking—think Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and Mike Carey’s brilliant comic The Unwritten. Bringing the two together was music to my ears. So I was already up for what Carey was dishing out before I picked up the book.

Banewreaker is actually part of the duet The Sundering; essentially, a novel in two parts, Banewreaker and Godslayer. Even put together, the page count barely touches one of her Kushiel novels, but it’s deceptively slim. By taking the world of The Lord of the Rings (deconstructions require similar conditions in order to go about their business) and giving it a moral depth I’ve only seen in A Song of Ice and Fire, Carey comes up with a human and heartbreaking deconstruction of Tolkien’s novel, focused on individual agency and the tragedy of it all.

I do recommend having read The Lord of the Rings beforehand in order to fully appreciate what Carey does here, but other than that, get thee to the library and introduce yourself to the wonderful writing of Jacqueline Carey.

12 thoughts on “Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Underappreciated

  1. I’ve finally decided to give the Kushiel series a try but you’re right, they are a little intimidating. This sounds like the perfect intro to Carey’s work but unfortunately I haven’t read any Tolkien…yet.

  2. I had heard of Banewreaker but had no idea what it was like, so thanks for the tip! I loved The Magicians by Lev Grossman, but I’m not sure what The Magician’s Book is that you mentioned at the beginning of your post. I guess that one’s more obscure to me, at least.

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