-Manya Bharadwaj 12 AICE P
The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights, their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
I can’t resist books based on Greek mythology, so this one was a pretty natural choice for me to pick up. I absolutely loved it. Madeleine Miller uses language in a way that brings out all the pathos and emotion of the story, and the whole book has this sort of nostalgic feel. If you’re familiar with European history, you’ll know that the story of Achilles is a tragedy – so be prepared for a bittersweet ending.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But the fey despise humans. As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
If you’re like me and you’re obsessed with fantasy, The Cruel Prince is a perfect choice. It’s a book filled with betrayal, cruelty, and revenge, and it’s honestly fascinating. Every character is dark and usually morally grey, which makes this a refreshing change from the normal hero/ heroine complex that many books have. Besides, it’s completely addicting and has the kind of thrill where you’ll try to finish it on one sitting.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the center of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This series is an interesting take on traditional fairy tales, to the point where you can clearly see the inspiration, but it’s very creative as well. The four books are based on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White, but they all weave together seamlessly to form an action-packed story. It also ticks off most of the boxes on a checklist, including high stakes, humor, and romance.
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game.
When they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion. But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home.
And I Darken is based on actual history, but is fierce and brutal. It tells a mesmerizing story from the perspective of an almost feral, yet intelligent princess, and her struggle for her country. A large portion of the series is set in the Ottoman courts, so there’s a large focus on manipulation, power, and influence. Essentially, it focuses on politics and war, but through an engaging and complex method of storytelling.