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 ‘winter’. Here are some of my favourite books based around that.
I unexpectedly fell in love with Snow Like Ashes last year. When a novel has been on your TBR for so long you worry it won’t live up to your expectations. I was originally wary of kingdoms named after seasons, but Raasch makes it work. The protagonist, Meira comes from the county of Winter, which has been enslaved by Spring – and so Meira’s small band of survivors are determined to save their people. I usually find ‘winter’ or ‘cold’ the antagonist in stories so I loved that things were switched up here. Raasch is an incredibly, talented writer, particularly when it comes to first POV; everything Meira sees and feels is written down. This fantasy debut truly embodies ‘a hero in the making’. My full review of this title is here.
Trapped in Ice by Eric Walters is a childhood favourite of mine. I immediately fell in love with the main character, Helen and the author’s writing. It’s really a fantastic adventure; a mix of fact and imagination. With the recent death of her father, Helen’s mother is hard pressed to find work, and is forced to take up a job on Karluk, a ship headed on an Arctic expedition. When the ship is unexpectedly trapped in ice, the crew and Helen’s family need to decide on a course of action – stay or leave.
I definitely recommend this for the usual middle grade reader, but also feel whatever your age, this makes for a fast, enjoyable read. Walters bases his story on true events [Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913] and people, and found he does a great job of imagining personalities. It’s all the more intriguing having a story told in the POV of Helen, someone with little to no experience in this type of situation and I loved that she wasn’t afraid of asking critical questions. Walters novels are either a hit or miss for me, so I’m glad it was the former.
Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston is set in a post-apocalyptic world frozen by ice. What really sold me was the mix of magic and dystopian themes. Set in New Vegas, Natasha Kestal is a blackjack dealer trying to earn enough for passage to “the Blue”, a mythical land free of cold and snow. Nat has a deep, dark secret and when trying to run from it, meets up with Wes who agrees to take her to the Blue, or as close as possible. Together, Nat, Wes, and his crew start on an adventure full of secrets while battling terrible creatures, rotten from the misuse of magic. I love myths so having the authors include some of my favourite ones as the basis of their world-building was awesome! If you’re afraid of getting stuck with a stereotypical, dystopia novel, fear not, De La Cruz and Johnston blend fantasy and post-apocalyptic themes in an ingenious way.