For the last two years, I've been taking part in the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews.
The first link will take you to the list of topics; the second one goes
to the homepage, where you can find a post with everyone's responses each
week. Feel free to join in!
Today's prompt is "Books I bought for the cover or title", and (as with last week's Binge-Watching topic) I find myself thinking that it's been a while since I did that.
Which is a shame, because I love a well-done book cover and I follow a lot of fantasy artists on Twitter precisely so I can look at their work. But I don't really see them on books anymore, or at least only if I'm browsing through something like the Amazon Daily Deals... which I think reflects a shift from shopping in bookstores for physical books, to reading ebooks almost exclusively and therefore choosing books based on people mentioning them on Twitter.
At this point, I am far more likely to buy a book because of someone's description -- "Lesbian Necromancers in Space!" or "Murder-mermaids!" for example -- than I am based on the cover or the title. And I essentially never buy without reading the blurb, and sometime a page or two of the sample.
Still... even in the face of all that, I can think of at least two books that I very much enjoyed and that I would have bought on the strength of the title alone:
Set Fire to the Gods -- Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons:
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games, throwing Madoc in Ash’s path. She realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking -- T. Kingfisher:
Fourteen-year-old Mona isn't like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can't control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt's bakery making gingerbread men dance.
But Mona's life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona's city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona's worries...
Honestly, I'd highly recommend either or both of these (or the two I mentioned in passing above). Set Fire to the Gods has adventure, romance, intrigue both divine and mundane, conflicting loyalties, and gladiatorial games that take the place of conventional wars. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking is one part adventure, one part coming-of-age, and just a teeeeeeny bit of intrigue as well. Both books were fun and immensely satisfying.
Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!