My Favorite Things: Nice Dragons, Sugar Skull Stormtroopers, and a Fresh Take on Lovecraft

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week is all about a genre bending book series, work-friendly geeky accessories, and another Tor.com story that provides a fresh take on the Lovecraft mythos (we’ve already raved about one here). Read on for more!


Nancy’s Favorite Thing is… the Heartstrikers Series!

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About three years ago, I found myself disillusioned with urban fantasy. It was probably just the books that I was reading, but everything I picked up just felt like a second rate version of something I had previously read. I was distancing myself from the genre when I stumbled upon Rachel Aaron’s Heartstriker Series. I was immediately hooked. Here was the pacing, and urban setting I loved from urban fantasy, mixed with traditional fantasy elements (dragons), plus post-apocalyptic world building. The series focuses on Julius Heartstriker, a young dragon who finds himself an outcast from his own clan. The reason? Julius is a good person, and in a world where dragons are expected to be ruthless and ambitious, nice dragons just don’t get very far.

The series (beginning with Nice Dragons Finish Last) is such a joy to read. Thanks to the strong characterization, unique setting, and thrilling set pieces, the pages just fly by. Before you know it, you’re at the end of one book and eager to pick up the next. This is what happened to me when I recently finished up the third book, No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, which brought in a rather timely political element to the series. The ending was equal parts exciting and heartbreaking, and but left me feeling strangely torn. On one hand, book four just can’t come fast enough. On the other, book four looks like it’s also going to be the final Heartstriker book. I just don’t want this series to end! If you enjoy fast paced genre bending speculative fiction, I’d suggest picking up the Heartstriker series ASAP.

 

Casey’s Favorite Thing is… The Litany of Earth

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I am absolutely in love with Ruthanna Emrys’ novelette The Litany of Earth, which you can read FOR FREE here. The story is one of many that draws its inspiration from Lovecraft’s legendary mythos.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t read nearly enough of Lovecraft’s work to be able to speak about this story within its proper context. This story makes me want to go back and attempt to play catch up.  As problematic as Lovecraft’s work is in a modern sense, it is a rich body of work that skilled writers have mined to create wonderful new works.  Emrys has done very well by the source material indeed.  The writing is gorgeous, the characters are beautifully rendered and the story does something I’ve never seen: it recasts the Deep Ones in a sympathetic, glorious light.  The protagonist, Aphra, once lived in Innsmouth.  She and her family were blessed devotees to the Aeonist religion.  The government, in all of its knowledge and power, raided Innsmouth (and other towns filled with similar people) and took its citizens away.  In Aphra’s own words, “The state killed my father, and locked the rest of my family away from anything they thought might give us strength. Salt water. Books. Knowledge. One by one, they destroyed us. My mother began her metamorphosis. Allowed the ocean, she might have lived until the sun burned to ashes. They took her away.”  The story reveals more of Aphra’s history and her current situation.  I don’t want to say too much, as I want to avoid spoiling the tale for anybody who decides to check it out.  I loved this so much that I bought the ebook version from Amazon so that I could read it again whenever I wished.  It’s a truly lovely piece of writing.

 

Keyes’s favorite thing is… Loungefly Handbags and Accessories!

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This is my work bag. As in the bag I carry to work. And yes, being an attorney I have carried this bag to court. More than once. And I have had more than one judge compliment it, which scared the dickens out of me the first time it happened (it is rarely a good sign when a judge looks at you and tells you to approach the bench on an unrelated matter after a hearing).

What I love about Loungefly Accessories is that they allow me to fly certain important parts of my geek flag in a manner which is tasteful and does not make me look as if I raided my 8 year old niece’s closet (though on second thought I totally should do that: my eight year old niece is hipper than I’ll ever be). Just because I may actually BE a giant child doesn’t mean I always want to look like one.

You can get Loungefly products at an array of retail stores (I got this one at a comic shop in Flagstaff, Arizona) and online.


Any thoughts on the selections above? Let us know in the comments!

3 Comments

  • Lane Robins October 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Oh the Ruthanna Emrys novella is amazing! I loved that, and I adore her and Anne Pillsworth’s rereads of Lovecraftian stories.

    Reply
  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier October 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Love the look of the bag. Feel like mine are all dull by comparison.

    Reply

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