A few weeks ago, I took my first solo vacation with Mike. Considering that we’ve been together more than six years now it was long overdue! On our first night away, we went to a pub, sipped some rather nice scotch (God bless suburbia… it was ridiculously inexpensive), and then went to the bookstore, where I acquired these treasures.
“Shadows” by E.C. Blake
Sequel to Masks, which was filled with sinister magic, an insecure and overcompensating ruler, and the beginning of an awkward love triangle.
In Masks, Mara Holdfast’s life changed forever. As the daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, she had a clearly defined future: a quiet, ordered life in the capital, making Masks with her father and doing work important to the ruling Autarch. But when her Mask, specially made by her own father, cracked and fell to pieces during her Masking ceremony, Mara was exiled from everything she once knew. Soon, she becomes part of an underground rebellion, rejecting the unjust rules of a Masked society and uncovering a horrifying plot of mind control over the entire population of the empire.
In a moment of crisis, Mara finds herself possessed of a volatile magical power that neither she nor any of her allies can truly control. In Shadow,Mara faces terrifying new challenges and dangers as she struggles to understand her unprecedented ability to use all types of magic—and to tear magic from the living bodies of those around her. With the arrival of Chell, a young man from across the sea, the world beyond the borders of the Autarchy of Aygrima begins to make itself felt. Then an act of brutality tips Mara dangerously close to madness…and in the midst of a desperate and bloody battle, she discovers just how horrifying her power can be….
“The Birthgrave” by Tanith Lee
As a teenager, I was more than a little bit obsessed with Tanith Lee’s Claidi Journals, a series about a young girl who finds out that everything she knew about herself was a lie. So when I saw a mass-market paperback by the same author about a girl who wakes up inside a volcano, I had to take a chance. I’m in the middle of reading this one now, and it’s hella weird.
A mysterious woman awakens in the heart of a dormant volcano. She comes forth into a brutal ancient world transformed by genocidal pestilence, fierce beauty, and cultural devastation. She has no memory of herself, and she could be anyone—mortal woman, demoness lover, last living heir to a long-gone race, or a goddess of destruction. Compelled by the terrifying Karrakaz to search for the mysterious Jade that is the answer to her secret self, she embarks on a journey of timeless wonder.
Rediscover this realm of brilliant cruel beauty and seductive immortal ruins, of savage war and grand conquest, of falling stars and silver gods.
This 40th anniversary edition of legendary fantastist Tanith Lee’s debut novel includes its original introduction by Marion Zimmer Bradley