Book Jar Recs is a weekly feature where I recommend three books based on an idea, theme, or random word. Each theme has been randomly pulled out of a jar (inspired by a TBR jar). If you have any ideas you’d like me to put in the jar, feel free to share them in the comments below. You can also read my introduction post on this feature here.
This week’s theme is ‘alternate reality’. I’ll be sharing some books that take place in alternate worlds or an alternate version of our own world.
Melissa De La Cruz has always been an all-time favourite of mine and it only made sense to pick this up. The Ring and the Crown is a rather fast read, but enjoyable nonetheless. This is an alternate version of our own world where the British Empire never fell and remains the most powerful in the world. The current ruler, Queen Eleanor the Second has remained ruler for centuries with the help of magic and her Head Merlin, Emrys.
Now her daughter, Princess Marie-Victoria is trying to figure out where she fits in the grand scheme of things. With the help of her friend, Aelwyn (Emrys’ daughter) they come up with a plan to switch places. The two meet new and old friends and learn some important lessons. While I did feel as a book with five POV’s, it should have been longer, I’d still recommend it, particularly if you’re a fan of De La Cruz.
Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra can be described as Sherlock Holmes meets Jane Austen. This takes place in London, England 1872 and is a slightly, alternate version of London, but remains mostly true to the time and place. Seventeen year old Leonora Somerville should have no issues finding a husband – she’s beautiful and soon-to-be very rich. There’s just one issue: her speech disorder which causes her to stutter and mimic other people’s voices. Behind her back she’s called Mad Miss Mimic and her sister is determined to get her married before Miss Mimic has all of Leo’s potential suitors running off.
I loved Leo! She’s a funny character who is both determined to make her sister happy (conforming to society) and listening to her Aunt Emma by doing what makes Leo happy. I definitely enjoyed reading this sort of conflict. The slightly alternative reality comes in as Black Glove, a terrorist group using street urchins to set off explosives around the city – their goal, have the ban lifted off of opium. Then there’s the charming Francis Thornfax, a potential husband for Leo and the ruggedly, handsome Tom Rampling, a working-class boy under Leo’s brother-in-law. When it seems like Tom is connected to Black Glove, Leo decides to do her own detective work and figure out the truth. This is one fantastic thriller you don’t want to miss out on!
An old-time classic, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis is my favourite of the Narnia series. Polly meets Digory, the nephew of her next door neighbour, and while Polly has always considered Digory’s uncle odd, she never expected to be sent to the Wood between Worlds. It’s there that Digory and Polly discover other worlds, like the one that holds a powerful sorceress and the recently born Narnia.
I found Digory’s uncle Andrew to be a very interesting character. He creates these rings from dust said to come from Atlantis; the dust inherited from a woman he met several years ago. I love exploring alternate worlds, so this Wood between Worlds was a compelling element to read about. The book carries the same sort of charm as the rest of the series, but also works as a standalone, so you can read it without feeling the pressure of investing in six other books.