Passport Books: Travel Through Literature In These Trying Times

During this difficult time, a lot of us are looking for comfort in different places. Some of us have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. Reading has always been an escape for me. So today I’m going to recommend some books that have managed to keep my mind busy by dragging me into their rich world of fantasy and intrigue.

The Reader

The Reader by Traci Chee

The Sea of Ink and Gold series by Traci Chee is absolutely amazing.

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Traci Chee’s writing is remarkable. She writes very well in a way that I can’t get over. the book felt amazing and really transported me into it. The setting descriptions were amazing, the way she describes Kelanna, the fictional world and the politics of it.

Related: Book Review | The Reader by Traci Chee

Six Of Crows Collectors Edition

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

This duology is amazingly written. It took me forever to start reading it and when I did, I regretted not starting sooner. The dregs will take you on a heist of a lifetime.

Descendant of the Crane

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Okay, I have not finished reading this book but I beg you to read it. Joan He’s writing is flawless, it reminds me of a quote by Anton Chekhov:  “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This is what Joan He does, she transports you into this Chinese-inspired fantasy so clearly.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

Daughters of Nri

Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo

Strong-willed Naala grows up seeking adventure in her quiet and small village. While the more reserved Sinai resides in the cold and political palace of Nri. Though miles apart, both girls share an indestructible bond: they share the same blood, the same face, and possess the same unspoken magic, thought to have vanished with the lost gods.
The twin girls were separated at birth, a price paid to ensure their survival from Eze Ochichiri, the man who rules the Kingdom of Nri. Both girls are tested in ways that awaken a mystical, formidable power deep within themselves. Eventually, their paths both lead back to the mighty Eze.

The dedication to telling an authentic African fantasy that Amayo had is commendable. The hair, the attire, the food, the world, the mythical creatures, everything was so well written. This Nigerian-inspired fantasy will take you to the Kingdom of Nri.

Related: Book Review | Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

This book didn’t disappoint at all. It was everything a fantasy novel needs to draw in readers who live for fantasy and those like me who don’t quite love it as much as they used to. Amazing worldbuilding? Check. Vivid storytelling that makes you feel like you’re in the book? Check. Characters that make the plot? Check. Romance that doesn’t drive the story? Check.

Related: Book Review | Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

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I hope these books can take your mind of the current situation. As someone who suffers from anxiety, reading has been very helpful in quelling my anxiety around everything that has been happening.

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