This month I tried a few genres I don’t usually read, as well as some that bend genres I’m more familiar with. Here’s the best of what I read this month.
I usually don’t read paranormal romances, and that’s what I thought this was when I picked it up. The wonderful writing quickly drew me into Alessa’s world of college, her grief for her dead parents, her recurrent nightmares and glimpses of a ghost.
I thought I knew where the story was going. Then the twist occurred. I did not see that coming. What I thought was going to be an above average ghost-as-love-interest story turned into something so much better. I loved the genre-bending and the sheer inventiveness of this story. Who would have thought that a sorority house could play a part in a dystopian novel? Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, Book 1)is highly enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
A Thousand Perfect Things
Another genre I tried this month was a sub-genre of fantasy: alternative history. A Thousand Perfect Things is set almost 200 years ago, in a world with just two continents separated by a vast ocean. Tori, the heroine, lives in Anglica, a culture of science and reason, somewhat modeled after Britain. Recently a very long bridge was constructed that connects Anglica with Bharata, an India-like land of magic. Based on her grandfather’s last words, Tori travels to Bharata to find a mythical golden lotus, and there encounters a clash of the two worlds. It took me a little while to get into this book, but the imaginative story and beautiful writing kept me going. After a while, I couldn’t put it down.
A Natural History of Dragons
Still another twist on the fantasy genre, A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent is a memoir of a British lady from the Victorian era who has a deep love of dragons. She maneuvers her husband into joining a scientific dragon hunting expedition, and along the way learns as much about herself as she does about dragons and the people of the remote land she travels to. I loved her sarcasm, as well as how she looks her own flaws in the face and owns them, and the bitter consequences of her own actions. The book reads in part like a memoir, part like a scientific discussion, part like mystery, but somehow it comes together to make an enjoyable read.
The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living
I saved the best for last. When I first heard of The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living, my first thought was that it would be another Screwtape Letters wanna-be. Not so.
This book starts with a bored demon, Melchior, drinking because the folks at the local church (including the pastor) are practicing a watered-down, powerless version of Christianity that is no threat to the agenda of Satan. Melchior has nothing to do. He gets drunk and pays a visit to the pastor, with the result that the pastor and his wife wake up to realize they are living a pale imitation of Christianity. Along with a few others who band together with them, they start trying to live their faith the way God intended it to be lived.
Witty and clever, The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living holds a mirror up to the church, forcing thoughtful readers to consider just how much their faith impacts how they live their lives. There are some edgy scenes, lots of censored profanity, but these all have a purpose in showing the redemptive work of God in the most difficult situations.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that made me think so much. On top of being a highly enjoyable and humorous fantasy, anyone who considers themselves to be a Christian should read this book and ask if the way they live their life would bore a demon or give him lots to worry about.
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