Hey, everyone! I’m finally back with another ABC Book Challenge post. I decided to do this to add more variety to the blog and also because it looked incredibly fun (and so far, it is!). Once again, thank you to Sofii @A Book. A Thought. for introducing this tag to me, and for her support. You should definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already!
Here’s the challenge: Every week (though I have not strictly been following this, haaaa), I’ll have a post sharing my most favorite titles as well as those on my current TBR list that start with the corresponding letter. (For weird letters like Q, X, and Z, I might have to bend the rules a little and just have those letters somewhere in the title, but we’ll see.)
This week is the letter L!
Favorite Titles That Start with “L”
Loki by Mike Vasich is a novelized account of the Norse myths about Loki, the god of lies and mischief, weaving some select tales to form a narrative about how this iconic trickster figure brings about the Twilight of the Gods. I read this book after falling in love with Tom Hiddleston’s version in Thor (as did we all), so it was a lot of fun to discover this book and fall in love with the Norse version. Other characters like Freya, Odin and Tyr feature prominently and help tell the story, and the book is super accessible for those wanting to break into Norse mythology for the first time.
Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp is a scream, in the best way. If you love Darth Vader, the Emperor, the Empire, and the Dark Side in general, this is your book. Set between episodes III and IV, this book is basically a field-trip-turned-survival-mission to the rebel-supporting planet of Ryloth, featuring Palpatine and his newly-turned, cyborg apprentice, Darth Vader. There are some other imperial schemings going on in the background, but Vader and Palpatine’s interesting teamwork and “camaraderie” are the highlights here. As Palpatine seeks to test Vader’s loyalties, he also clenches his fist around the galaxy. Vader, meanwhile, is trying to forget his past as Anakin and decide if he will continue to serve Palpatine or betray him—and, yes, every mention of Padme wrecked me.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was my first exposure to magical realism. I latched instantly onto this story about the De La Garza family and its youngest daughter Tita, condemned by Mexican tradition to remain unmarried and look after her mother until she dies. Naturally, Tita falls in love with Pedro, who marries her sister so they can remain close but are forced to circle each other with unconsummated passion. The drama reaches Spanish soap opera proportions in this one, but I loved it—and I especially loved how Tita’s emotions influenced her cooking, her happiness making her food transcendent while her despair made people sick to eat it. Every chapter also opened with a recipe that I’d always planned to make but never did… Maybe it’s time to get a copy of this one.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is a childhood staple. I read this before I’d even heard of Harry Potter, and it’s always had a place in my heart, even though I haven’t really read the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia. (I was a kid who was very confused about reading order vs. publication order.) But I loved this magical world, so much better than our own ordinary one yet fraught with war and peril. I loved the Pevensies, even Edmund once I stopped being mad at the little shit. (Because didn’t those Turkish delights sound like the most appetizing thing you’d ever heard of? My mouth still waters at the thought.) Aslan and the White Witch were amazing characters, and Tumnus was an instant fave, especially because of the treachery. I really want to go back and read this now, haha.
Legendary by Stephanie Garber greatly exceeded my expectations. While I’d enjoyed Caravel well enough, I wasn’t sure how I’d receive the sequel—but Garber made me fall in love with Tella, who is a much more interesting protagonist than her sister Scarlett (sorry, Scar). Curiously, though, this book also made me lose interest in Legend entirely, which was a big draw for the series in general. I did not like nor am I convinced about who Legend ended up being; it was boring. BUT Garber introduced the Fates and the real MVP, Jacks the Prince of Hearts, and that elevated this book and this series in an enormous way. I can only hope that Finale manages to measure up, tbh.
The Last Command by Timothy Zahn was such an explosive ending to an already phenomenal trilogy. I can admit that much even if this book hurt me so bad uuugghhhh! Luke and Mara’s conflict comes to a head, to say nothing of the confrontation with Jorus C’baoth, who is literally the worst bastard in the entire universe. Han and Chewie are trying to unite the smugglers, and Talon Karrde is as A+ of a character as ever. Leia continues to try and hold the Alliance together, turning to some unexpected help, while Thrawn continues to advance on the rebellion with as much formidable finesse as always. I can’t stress enough how good this trilogy is and how it highlights some of the best work ever produced in the Star Wars universe.
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is also a well-done novel and one of the best contributions to the new canon of Star Wars. For once, we get a story featured during the heart of the Empire’s expansion and recruitment period, following two young cadets who are unaware of the Empire’s true treachery. The most they know is their Republic is now an Empire and serving is the best way to obtain a better life than the one offered by their Outer Rim planet. And then Alderaan is destroyed by the Death Star, triggering a series of questions about the nature of the thing they serve. Ciena and Thane now have to choose what they are loyal to: the Empire, the Rebellion, or each other. If you’re looking for actual depth in Imperial characters, moral ambiguity, the exploration of the conscience, friendship, betrayal, loyalty—then here you go! Gray’s got you!
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo is a masterful stroke of short stories combined with original fairytale creation. I’m in awe of anyone who can do this because coming up with new fairytales is a much harder talent than it sounds. I enjoyed how some of them resembled our own—“Ayama and the Thorn Wood” mirroring The Beauty and the Beast—while others took on completely original lives of their own—“The Too-Clever Fox.” Plus, the Darkling features as a character in one of the stories, and it’s the actual best. The illustrations found throughout are also pleasing to the eye, literally coming to life on the page. I’m so envious of the sheer craft of this book found on every level. It’s amazing.
Books on My TBR List That Start with “L”
That’s all! Hope you enjoyed this one.
As always, I look forward to hearing what books you’ve enjoyed that are featured on this list. Which ones do you also want to read?