One of the reasons I love the speculative fiction is the constant addition of new twists and ideas from other genres. Nowadays you can get books sci-fi westerns, or historical fiction fantasy to sate your every niche genre desire. Some of these combinations make more sense to me than others. If you had asked me if I would enjoy a fantasy + legal thriller combo, I may have laughed in your face. The last legal thriller I read was a Reader’s Digest John Grishman novel I found at my grandparents’ house. It was also the last legal thriller I remember reading. However, In Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone manages this genre amalgamation in superb form, offering a fresh twist to habitual fantasy readers and a gateway to fantasy for legal thrillers fans.
In the past few years I’ve moved more to reading more comic books than novels. When I do read a book, it happens to be something classic I’ve read at least once before. This has to do with a general feeling that I’ve lost touch with my favorite genres (sci-fi/fantasy) and I no longer recognize names of up-and-coming authors. The only way to remedy this is to read more, so I was happy to come across a recommendation for The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.
Full disclosure: the recommendation came from a Verge article titled “8 Stories to Read while you wait for the next season of American Gods. That should give you an inkling as to the subject matter of the book — fantasy and myth! The Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasilia, a Russian girl, through childhood and early adulthood as she navigates between the living fairy tales in only she can see and the Christianity that dominates her village. I’m going to do my best to stay away from spoilers in this review, so I’m going to speak more generally about some of the aspects I appreciated.