It may not be fall outside here in LA, but there’s certainly a change in the air and people are wanting to spend more time inside with a book perhaps? This month’s selection of book review has a little something for everyone (along with a few more recommendations for you avid readers).
After reading Robert Jackson Bennett’s awe-inspiring City of Stairs, I have eagerly awaited each new book. He moves on to a new series with this year’s Foundryside. Bennett excels in creating fantasy worlds that feel exquisitely real: in this new book, Tevanne is an imperial power that succeeds due to its complete control over a powerful form of magic.
Scrivings (words which impose upon physical objects a new way of interacting with reality – making lead as strong as steel, for instance) give four Founding Houses immense wealth and power. The rest of Foundryside is left to scrap it out. Sancia, a young woman and former slave with unusual abilities, steals a relic of indescribable power. The theft sparks the interest of Gregor Dandolo, a veteran trying to create an independent police force just happens to be a member of a Founding family. Together, they blunder into a plot to take control of Tevanne, and the story takes off.
Nothing ever goes quite as expected in a Bennett novel, and once the action starts, it builds inexorably towards what you always know will be a thrilling climax. Foundryside is no different – I already can’t wait for the next!
A Princess in Theory Review
Do you need a book that is going to transport you away for a few hours, and leave you with a giant smile? Yes? Then turn to A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole.
First things first – prepare yourself – this is a book about a lost princess and a prince come to find her. You will be reminded of the film Coming to America. But this is a lost princess story utterly grounded in our own reality, for all that it features is a fictional African kingdom.
Our heroine, Naledi, is a fiercely intelligent graduate student working on her masters in public health, a product of the foster system, and utterly relatable. Our hero, Prince Thabiso, is a spoiled but hard-working prince of a small African nation, seeking out the woman he was betrothed to as a child before her parents fled their country. Hoping to get to know her, he goes undercover, and, well … you just have to read it to find out the rest.
It should be noted Prince Thabiso’s assistant, Likotsi, steals the show – I hear tell that she is getting her own novella soon. And, I must confess, I’ve already read the second book in this series, A Duke by Default, and it is equally charming.
The Aviator’s Wife Review
Unintentionally, this is another book by one of last month’s featured authors: Melanie Benjamin. Similar to The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator’s Wife is her fictional take on a strong, famous woman in American history. Meet Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife to Charles Lindbergh, known as one half of the flying couple. Traveling the world with her famous husband, writing pieces for publication, Anne has a perfect life, so it seems…
Benjamin shares the intimate details of her life, however, and not just the ordeal of her first son’s kidnapping. From the beginning, we learn of her struggling relationship with her husband (and his extramarital affairs), the hardships of fame, and the coming to terms of standing behind her husband and figuring out what she believes in herself. Similar to reading the other book, you’re torn from one page to the next how you feel about her, her husband, and this supposedly perfect American hero’s life.