The Tuesday List: Parallelisms

What if you could step out of this world, the “real” world, and into another?  All the books on this list imagine just that, in their own way.

1. Roses and Rot, Kat Howard

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At a retreat for artists, where other worlds are explored through visual art, music, writing, Imogen discovers that there is another world waiting just beyond the borders of the property, and is confronted by the question of what she would do, when offered the chance at not only a glimpse of this world, but success beyond her dreams.

2. A Daughter of No Nation, A.M. Dellamonica

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This one is actually the second in a series, but somehow managed to slip past my orderly reading practices.  Sophie returns to the world of Stormwrack, made up of brief archipelagos of land among the wilds of the oceans.  Magic is involved, and a lot of nautical journeying.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E.Schwab

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Follow Kell and his magical coat as he moves between red, gray, and white London, smuggling magical items between worlds, until he meets with Lila in grey London and is confronted by true darkness.

4. A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

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This isn’t really a novel about slipping between parallel worlds, but about the parallelisms that happen when artifacts of one life bleed into another’s, when life in one’s personal world becomes more than they can bear and only slipping into someone else’s life offers and succor.

5. Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho

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Cho moves the faery story into the 21st century with this novel of magic and sorcery in early empire Great Britain, in which a new Sorcerer Royal, former African slave Zacharias Wythe, is tasked with finding the reason for the decline of magic in Britain who runs head on into a young woman, Prunella Gentleman, determined to make her way in the world and learn the true story of her parentage and magical inheritance.

A Daughter of No Nation, by A. M. Dellamonica

It’s
tough being a Millenial—figuring out what to do with your life, reassuring your
parents that you’re eventually going to settle down to a ‘real’ job, trying to
date someone, anyone.  Not to
mention finding out your parents adopted you and your birth parents live on
another planet, a planet of 90% ocean, where people spend much of their lives
on ships and court cases are settled by duels.  With real swords.

A Daughter of No Nation is the
continuation of 25-year-old Sophie’s journey across Stormwrack, trying to
navigate the strange customs and cultures of this strangely earth-like world she
was brought from as an infant. 
Sophie doesn’t entirely understand how her younger sister Verena
transports herself and others between the two worlds, but she’s determined to
find out the nature of this water-bound planet, and to help her mother Beatrice
out of prison for bigamy—Sophie’s existence means the marriage between Beatrice
and Sophie’s father Cly was never really annulled. 

A Daughter of No Nation is a cross
between U.S. pop culture television shows like CSI and Nature, with a splash of
Full House and a dash of Pirates of the Caribbean thrown in for
spice.  Dellamonica whisks the
reader across the planet on ships that never seem to hit a patch of calm
seas.  Sophie and her brother Bram
are your typical whiz-kid siblings, each with their own breed of genius and
drive, solving problems and re-inventing sciences like forensics and biology
among people who rely on astrology and text-based magic to accomplish
anything.  A Daughter of No Nation is a non-stop thrill-ride with a splash of
romance thrown in for emphasis.

Readers who enjoy fantasy
in a more contemporary setting will love the way Dellamonica translates the
culture of Stormwrack through the parlance of Sophie’s 21st-century
vocabulary.  A Daughter of No Nation is a lighthearted romp that combines the
mystery of Waterworld with the magic
of Harry Potter and the widely
varying cultures of classic worldbuilding like Lois McMaster Bujold, Kate
Elliott, and Terry Pratchett.