We’re all going through something right now, aren’t we? The world is looking pretty grim and unappealing, and more and more of us are being advised to socially distance ourselves, which is great for the introverts and bookworms, but we’re not all built to hide away.
The book series I’m recommending in this post are picked particularly because they’re so engrossing. Falling broadly under the umbrella of paranormal or fantasy romance, I’ve chosen these for people who want to get away for a while. A little escapism never did anyone any harm.
1. The Parasol Protectorate, by Gail Carriger
Set in an alternative Victorian London, this series follows the adventures of a preternatural spinster (at least at first), in a world of vampires and werewolves. What she lacks in soul, she makes up in personality and this entire series is a fantastic read.
Listen. I’m not sure how to express how much I enjoy these books and how jealous I am of any of you getting to read them for the first time. The first book was given to me by my friend, Sofie, as we sat in the Tate Modern cafe on the South Bank, with no intention of seeing any art, so much as eating cake, and I believe that the protagonist of this series, Alexia Tarabotti, would appreciate that.
In the first book, Soulless, we meet Alexia as she has an unfortunate incident with a rude vampire, and we’re introduced to Lord Maccon, large, brash, Scottish and, of course, a werewolf.
These books are a delight, and we get to enjoy how London society might have been rather different, with vampires and werewolves as a relatively accepted part of life. While I thoroughly enjoy the central romance, do keep your eyes on my favourite character, Professor Lyall, who is Lord Maccon’s long-suffering beta.
The great news is, if you enjoy this series, there are some spin-off novellas (my favourite being Lyall’s story, Romancing the Werewolf), as well as a prequel series (Finishing School) and a sequel series (Custard Protocol).
All in all, these are highly enjoyable collections of books to lose yourself in for a while.
2. A Course of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas.
My friend, Chelsey, recommended these books to me a couple of years ago, and I think I’ve re-read them about five times already. A Court of Thorns and Roses. That these books stand up to re-reading says it all, really. In fact, I think you should read them twice, just to see how differently you view things on a second go round.
The main character is Feyre, a young human woman, who provides for her impoverished family by hunting. When she accidentally kills a faerie in the woods, she is brought to Tamlin’s court to make recompense. We soon learn that all is not right in the land of Prythian and everything that Feyre thought she knew about faeries is not quite accurate.
There’s so much action, so much political intrigue and so much high romance and drama that I was absorbed by these books and probably read the first three within a week. A fourth book was subsequently published and I believe there are more to follow – I certainly hope so, because the world of Prythian and the incredible characters deserve so much many more books.
If you’ve read them, let me know what you think. Especially. You know.
3. Guild Hunter Series, by Nalini Singh
I’m not gonna lie. I can’t blame these on anyone else but they are full on my guilty pleasure read, except I don’t think women should ever be made to feel guilty about reading romances.
These books focus mainly on Elena Deveraux, a Guild Hunter, whose job it is to track down vampires who’ve broken their contracts with the angels who made them. Set in an alternative version of our world, the hierarchy is considerably different. Ruling the world is the Cadre of Ten, Archangels who preside over their own territories. Raphael is the Archangel of New York, America is his territory and despite his vast power, his attention is turned towards Elena when the Cadre hire her to hunt down something considerably more dangerous than a rogue vampire, in the first book, Angels’ Blood.
Every book has a central romance, mostly Elena and Raphael, but others involving Raphael’s Seven – his most trusted men (a collection of vampires and angels and, well, whatever Nasir is). Every romance so far has been heterosexual and I suspect that’s how it’s going to continue, but if anyone reads these books and doesn’t see the chemistry between Illium and Aodhan, I don’t know what to say.
I utterly adore the world-building in these books and how, despite the fantastical background, the characters are believable and there are so many of them I can’t help but root for.
Of late, I’ve been re-reading these books by listening to the audiobooks and, aside from the weird Oirish accent for Aodhan, it’s a genuinely enjoyable way to pass the commute. Or the self-isolate, I guess.
So, boys and girls and babes – are there any paranormal or fantasy romances series you’d recommend? My next post will include some considerably more diverse books, in terms of sexuality, but I am always open for recommendations from our readers.
Now, stay safe, wash your hands and call your parents, if you’re on calling terms.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.