The Night Gardener reads like a classic that’s been around for 50 years. I was shocked to find out it was published in 2014. It feels like the kind of book that’s been on shelves forever, next to A Wrinkle in Time and Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s good, creepy fun for kids.
Retribution Falls is a fast-paced steampunk adventure, led by a charming rogue and a ship full of misfits. Framed for murder, the captain and crew must figure out who framed them while avoiding the authorities.
I’m seeing a trend in fantasy stories with extensive world-building. While many of them reveal the world through the usual quest for the Magical Thingamajig, the more recent trend is to reveal this strange world via the investigation of a murder. A detective must visit a number of dangerous places and confront strange characters (just like the folks on a quest).
Titus Groan is completely different from any fantasy book I’ve ever read. It’s surreal, poetic, brutal, and brilliant. Its characters, who have all wrapped themselves in different kinds of madness, plod and scramble their way through the seemingly endless sprawl of Gormenghast Castle. They vie for power, plot vengeance, and engage in long-followed but nonsensical rituals.