If I could have one thing this October, other than the books on this list, it would be for candy corns to have their redemption. Look, 2020 is the thing of nightmares, and somehow we’re still here and thriving (sort of). With Halloween season comes the unseasonable rampage toward a sweet treat that is just minding its own business.
But enough about candy corn rights. This October I woke up to a full moon, my spirits lifted by the promise of magic, mayhem, and more, encouraged by this month’s releases. Faustian bargains, epic fantasy, islands for those in despair, WITCHES. What’s on your TBR this month?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - V.E. Schwab (October 6)
The year is 1714, and somewhere in the French countryside, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever. It’s an act of desperation, and because of it she is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. For nearly 300 years, Addie LaRue travels across continents, never being remembered save for the freckles on her face. Then, one day, 300 years later, Addie crosses paths with a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
A prolific writer, V.E. Schwab is a veteran of fantasy fiction. In her latest standalone novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, she flexes her beautiful prose and sets the stage for an unforgettable tale.
The Once and Future Witches - Alix E. Harrow (October 13)
Witches of the world hear my call! There is no better time than now to dive into this magical read. Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January) is back with her sophomore novel and I have been waiting! The Once and Future Witches welcomes you to New Salem, a place that hasn’t seen a witch since the wild, dark days before they were all burned. Witchcraft has been reduced to nursery rhymes and child’s play. Women exercise their power by voting. But the Eastwood sisters?They aim to turn the tides for their own. They said witches' rights! Forces of darkness are all at play as the Eastwood clan fight to survive.
Black Sun - Rebecca Roanhorse (October 13)
Are you longing for a big world fantasy you can sink your teeth into? The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy by Rebecca Roanhorse is everything I’ve been waiting for. European fantasy is cool, but I’m looking for something fresh. Inspired by the Pre-Columbian Americas, Black Sun has it all: Celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and, my personal favorite, forbidden magic.
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is a time of celebration. This year, it coincides with a solar eclipse, an event that marks the unbalancing of the world. Out there, is a disgraced ship captain with great power named Xiala, and her mysterious passenger, ready to arrive in Tova on the solstice. Let destiny begin…
The Fourth Island - Sarah Tolmie (October 20)
If you’re short on time but want a novella that packs an emotional punch, try The Fourth Island by Sarah Tolmie. Off the coast of Ireland is the Aran Isles, but hidden among them is a fourth secret island known as Inis Caillte. Populated by the lost, it’s a place you can only find in moments of despair.
So, like, 2020? Not quite.
Inis Caillte is reserved for those who are ready to give in to the darkest emotion and feeling. The Fourth Island ties together several of these points of view as they witness as a body comes ashore, and the mystery of who they might have been.
Where the Wild Ladies Are - Matsuda Aoko (October 20)
If you follow my book recommendations, you know that I’m drawn to all things folklore. Matsuda Aoko’s Where the Wild Ladies Are takes traditional Japanese folktales and puts a modern feminist twist with interconnected stories. You’ve got a busybody auntie who disapproves of hair removal, saleswomen hawking portable lanterns, a babysitter helping out a single mom, a lover who visits every night. They’re all “spirited women” who also happen to be ghosts!
This collection looks fantastical, wild, and fun. We could all use a little bit of that.
Phoenix Extravagant - Yoon Ha Lee (October 20)
This was pitched to me as a steampunk folktale and it sounds like something I didn’t even know I needed? But I want it. Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee follows the jobless Gyen Jebi, an artist who just wants to paint. Unfortunately, Jebi is caught in political machinations. They are recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers. Jebi could just paint and move along, especially after being desperate for so long. But when they discover the depths of the government’s crimes, Jebi can’t stay out of it any longer. The answer? Steal the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton.
Always steal the mighty dragon.