Florilegium means a volume of writings, an almanac, a compendium, or an anthology of works. My interpretation of this quirky word is a love for books that are in a series.
| Do you stay invested in a tale so much that you don’t wish it to end | Do you prefer to read standalone books or series and why? |
** Long post alert**
This is my most favorite genre and I can go on and on about it. Actually I have gone on and on in this post and make no apologies for it. So I won’t be offended if peeps skip the details and just read the highlighted parts.
The biggest reason why I read is the immersive experience of stepping into another world, layered with culture and traditions through strong characters and plots. Fantasy fiction is hands down the hero of all the genres I love to read the most. I think my fascination with this genre began with the Arabian Nights and later with Alice in Wonderland. Both are fantastical tales with soaring imagery and magical motifs.
The Florilegium of Fantasy Fiction
Fantasy fiction is set apart by the supernatural and magical elements in this genre. The stories maybe historical, romantic, mystery or a combination of all three. But the core of the plot is magic. So Fairy Tales, Myths, Legends are all perfect examples of this genre and often these are woven as retellings by the writers.
A typical fantasy fiction begins with a dangerous Quest which the Hero has to go through while struggling with a Conflict between good and evil. Mythical creatures, fantastical characters, other worlds, an adventure and the subsequent Return of the hero are all trademarks of this spectacular fiction.
I often become far too vested in the fantastical world and its characters of these florilegium. I admire the detail and imagination it takes to build the supernatural world, complete with a language, traditions, culture, and fashion. These fantastical worlds borrow similarities from Medieval, Gothic, Victorian and Renaissance eras in the most innovative fashion. One of the things that I love the most about fantasy fiction are the beautifully illustrated maps of the make-believe worlds of the tale.
The best thing I like about this genre is that it often comes in a series of 3 or more books. So the story doesn’t end after one book but continues on for a few more books. The detailing is so fine and real that I can happily lay submerged in the series for as long as the writer can write the books.
So here I am talking about 5 such fantasy florilegium that I cannot get enough of in this post. If you are a serious fantasy fiction buff, then this post is just for you.
Intrigued? Pin it for later!
An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir
1 – An Ember in the Ashes
2 – A Torch against the Night
3 – Reaper at the Gates
4 – A Storm beyond the Sky
This Florilegium is a set of four books. The tale has three protagonists, each one point of a triangle and facing off against each other, though centered on the same goal.
Elias – A near orphan who is raised by the Kehani of a tribe, till his grandfather claimed him. His mother is the dreaded commandant who seems to thrive for power and cares a nought for her offspring. So when he chooses to escape the empire instead of protecting it, she issues a death warrant for him.
Helen – Elias’s best friend and the next-in-line for Death Shrike and utterly devoted to the empire. When she is ordered by her new emperor to bring back Elias, dead or alive, Helen is torn apart but races to do her duty.
Leia– A common scribe who escapes a empirial Mask even as her brother is captured. She swears to help him get free and sets out on a journey which takes her right inside the wolf’s lair. Her own mother was one of the key resistance leaders who was betrayed and killed.
“All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”
They all encounter strengths and weaknesses of each other and themselves, to emerge out as Allies and now race against time to save the empire by uniting all factions into a whole and protect the heir apparent.
Through Tribal Folklore, the realm of the Departed souls and the city of jinns, the three uncover myths and legends even as their friends and family start falling away to enemy attacks.
Books 1,2,&3 are simply amazing and I raced through them all but the 4th one faltered as it swung off the warpath into romantic liaisons which were really quite unnecessary and the ending was quite rushed and could have been edited better
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time begins in an age when the previous age has broken up and a new dawn is taking place to set in. The older world order is crumbling and trying desperately to get a hold in this new world. They are the villains of the piece and are associated with the Shaitan and are on the wrong side of the force/energy.
The other side is the White tower which is by default on the right side of the power and this is the side that is trying to find the new saviour who has been born to save the world from breaking again. he is referred to as the Dragon and needs to be found in order to be trained by the right side to defeat the other side.
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of time spans the past and the future simultaneously and switches between the two. The setting could be Europe or America in a very historical era and then perhaps the Renaissance age takes over with inventions being devised. Jordan talks of the Pattern which is the weave of events and destiny of people while the Wheel marks the passage of time.
This florilegium of 14 books can seem quite daunting. I wouldn’t suggest reading this if Lord of the Rings bored you. I would recommend checking out the audiobooks of first couple of books to see if this is something you would dig.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This is a three book series with a short novella in between. The story is of Angels and demons that once coexisted peacefully, till a rift separated them. Some years later one of the demons falls in love with an angel and then hell breaks loose. The tale has monstrous characters which are half human and half animal. Favors or spells are traded in for human teeth and cowrie shells.
Our heroine Karou has blue hair and incredible tattoos painted all over her body. She was actually born with them. Karou studies art at the university and translates her vivid dreams and midnight adventures onto her sketch pad. She moonlights as a teeth collector from dead corpses which she then deposits with her godfather.
Soon he sends her on a quest which leads to a discovery of who she really is. She then has to pick sides and decide for herself what she is going to do with her life
Pick the books to know more as I don’t want to give out any spoilers.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
This is a tale of young magical apprentices who are taken away from their parents at a very young age and given over to a senior magician for tutoring and training. 12 year old Nathaniel is one such apprentice who is looking to seek revenge on powerful magician who humiliated him. Trouble begins when he accidentally summons an 800 year old powerful creature to do his bidding. And the creature in question is none other than Bartimaeus- a notorious jinni who has uber notorious streak.
The series undergoes keen twists and turns as the two form a deep bond and soon become vested in carrying out their vendatta. But fate has other things in store when the magician in question turns the table on them.
I love the impish characters and the challenging situations they get in all the time. The writing is masterful and reminiscent of the classical style.
The Golden Compass trilogy by Phillip Pullman
The Golden Compass trilogy and has been made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. It’s a story about a young girl Lyra and her various intriguing companions like the witches, the bear and of course her alethiometer -that’s something like Captain sparrows compass. It lets her decide the course of her life and the quest she undertakes to find her friend. The author writes in a gripping manner drawing you deep into a magical world where dust is the enemy. Its a wonderfully written fantastical florilegium for YA and I recommend a must-read.
Waiting in the wings
Then there are these five series which are eagerly awaited by me. Some of them have the first book published while the next is awaited or about to be release. I am eagerly looking forward to reading and completing the set soon.
The Kingkiller Chronicle Series by Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind is the first one in the series and is a fabulous telling. But the author has taken ages to bring out the next ones in the series. I will now re-read the first one before reading the second one. There is also an in-between short novella that has been published. As soon as the third one is out, I will begin on this series.
The Roots of Chaos series by Samantha Shannon
Book 1 is The Priory of the Orange Tree and now there is Book 0 A day of Fallen Night which has been published recently and avidly doing the rounds of bookstagram. I was quite taken by this series and am looking forward to picking it up soon.
The Deathless Series by Namina Forna
I read the first one The Gilded Ones and fell in love with the strong feminine protagonist, the make believe world and its folk lore. Next in the series is The Merciless ones which is also out but I am waiting for the cost to drop as its quite steeply priced at the moment 🙁
The Golem and the Djinni series by Helen Wecker
The first and second books have been published, bought and read with much zeal. Now I hear there might be a third one on the anvil which might be a compilation of stories from the first two. Either case, I am looking forward and hope it comes out real soon.
The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
This one is fully out and I am looking forward to reading this one in 2023. I have downloaded some of them on the audible in anticipation.
Well that is it from my end on this topic and I bet you are glad that my rambling has come to an end 😉
Some other notable fantasy fiction books that have been reviewed on my blog:
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
If you dropping in from the challenge, please do drop in your links in the comment box.