The best books that throw genre into the blender

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up watching 80s Saturday morning cartoons, playing RPGs such as Final Fantasy. Those cartoons and games didn’t care about genre, they cared about telling a story, about making you care about the characters. Hence you could have wizards driving space cars, or knights battling giant robots and so on. They were proof of how wonderfully crazy our imagination can go when we threw labels away and just create stories. The books in this list allow themselves to do that and go bigger, go bolder, showing us the readers what’s possible if we let loose. I hope this list takes others on such wonderful rides, like they did with me.

I wrote...

The Withered King

By Ricardo Victoria,

Book cover of The Withered King

What is my book about?

Fionn is the wielder of a legendary Tempest Blade, and he's blessed – or cursed – by the Gift. Though his days as a warrior are long over, his past leaves him full of guilt and regret. Life has other plans for him when he agrees to help a friend locate a missing person.

Gaby and Alex never expected to become heroes…until they met Fionn. As an ancient evil arises and consumes the land, Fionn must help them to master their own Gifts and Tempest Blades. Together the three of them, and their friends, will chart a course aboard the flying ship Figaro to save the planet. Will Fionn's past be an anchor, or will he overcome the one failure from his former life before time runs out?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Lord of Light

Ricardo Victoria Why did I love this book?

This is a classic that even inspired art from the great Jack Kirby (New Gods, Fantastic 4). It’s written in such way that works both as a SF or a Fantasy novel, but I say that it’s one of the best examples of science fantasy.

Take a mythological/religious tale like the Rig Veda and the quest of Buddha for illumination and use it as the backbone for a story about a lost colony, deities of human origin, oppressive rulers vs. a rebel group and the original inhabitants of a faraway planet, and a generational struggle between immortal beings that affect the technological progression of a society.

It’s an action-packed philosophical mind trip. No wonder why this book won a Hugo and was nominated for a Nebula. 

By Roger Zelazny,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Lord of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine a distant world where gods walk as men, but wield vast and hidden powers. Here they have made the stage on which they build a subtle pattern of alliance, love, and deadly enmity. Are they truly immortal? Who are these gods who rule the destiny of a teeming world?

Their names include Brahma, Kali, Krishna and also he who was called Buddha, the Lord of Light, but who now prefers to be known simply as Sam. The gradual unfolding of the story - how the colonization of another planet became a re-enactment of Eastern mythology - is one of…

Book cover of Wrath of the Fury Blade

Ricardo Victoria Why did I love this book?

How hard would it be to solve a crime in a society where, systemic inequalities aside, you can get away literally with murder thanks to magic? Well this is the question that Constable Reva Lunaria and her new partner Ansee will have to answer, while cutting through a lot of red tape, politics, an elusive killer, and the very foundations of their elven society.

This book (the first of a series) takes the old buddy cop /odd couple comedy set up, mixes with political intrigue, a whodunit thriller, and places it in a fantasy setting, where tensions run high, time runs short, criminals run away, and you are left with a pressing side question: will Reva ever manage to finish her freshly baked sweet roll?

By Geoff Habiger, Coy Kissee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wrath of the Fury Blade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The brutal murder of Lavale fey Avecath, the King's First Magistrate and advisor, interrupts Constable Inspector Reva Lunaria's day off. The victim's status makes this a high-profile investigation, bringing with it unwanted attention from Senior Inquisitor Ailan Malvacea of the Sucra, the King's secret police. The manner of the victim's death makes this case even more intriguing. A body cut perfectly in half - from top to bottom - is a rare occurrence, even in a city filled with all manner of magic weapons. All of this would be challenging enough, but Inspector Lunaria must also deal with a new…

Book cover of A Twist in Time

Ricardo Victoria Why did I love this book?

Take one of Dicken’s most famous characters, give him a timey wimey mcguffin straight from Doctor Who, a ghost girl with a knack to design wonderful gadgets, a dash of snark, the good looks of John Boyega, and the personality of a young Bruce Wayne looking over the downtrodden of a steampunk London, and you get one of the most peculiar and freshest depictions of Oliver Twist committed to paper in recent years.

I love this book because it has a lot of heart, and takes an old classic, giving it a continuation that is not afraid of going bigger and crazier adding elements from different genres, be it superhero, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy. It should be made into a movie.

By Brent A. Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Twist in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Black Magic

Ricardo Victoria Why did I love this book?

I know this one is kinda cheating because it’s not a novel, but rather a single tome (a large one at that) manga.

But first, it’s by the master Masamune Shirow, of Ghost in the Shell fame. Second, this is one massive epic science fantasy adventure where magic and technology run with Clarke’s Third Law, where a side effect of the quest is one of the crucial events in evolution of life on Earth. Where gods and supercomputers and androids can cast spells while in a flying car chase in a cyberpunk city.

This story is not afraid of putting together seemingly opposite concepts and makes them work in order to tell a story about free will, and the fate of ‘humanity’. It’s so bonkers that it has to be read.  

By Masamune Shirow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It`s a time in the future -- a time where the creation of life itself has evolved to include biodroids named after the ancient Greeks and cyborg warriors programmed to destroy. The power struggle between the various synthetic life-forms and the humans could mean the end of all life. But there is one, named Typhon, who may be able to prevent that. This collection is the first-ever-published work of the genius behind Ghost in the Shell -- Masamune Shirow.

Book cover of Abomination

Ricardo Victoria Why did I love this book?

Cosmic horror and fantasy have shared a close relationship since the times of Robert E. Howard. But historical fantasy and cosmic horror? Now that’s different.

If you are a fan of series such as The Last Kingdom, or enjoy a bit of cosmic horror in the vein of the Cthulhu Mythos, this is for you. Written by Gary Whitta, who also wrote the script for Rogue One. Set during Alfred the Great’s rule, this is a story about a knight that saves his kingdom at great personal cost thanks to the dabbling in dark magic from a deranged monk.

The tension and trepidation grow with every page. And that’s just half the story. Don’t let the body horror distract you, this is at its core a story about family love.

By Gary Whitta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Abomination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Whitta is a master of suspense. Abomination grabs you and doesn't let go." ―Hugh Howey, New York Times-Bestselling Author of Wool

He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her…

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Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

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