Mandi’s Reads: “Sweet, Sweet, Fantasy, Baby”

IStock Fantasy World

I have a rich fantasy life. Most of my hours are whiled away with daydreams. I’ve been on bed rest with the flu for the past five days, so I’ve had plenty of time for fantasies of all sort (when I don’t have my head in a toilet or vomit bucket, that is). My main fantasies have been about my current love interest. I think I might actually be in love with him. I haven’t told him this because what if I tell him I love him, and he says he loves me, too, and then I realize I don’t love him anymore because I only want what I can’t have and as soon as I get what I want, I don’t want it anymore? What will I do then? No, it is far, far better for me to fantasize about my love interest than it is for me to actually tell him I would like to have lots of sex and babies with him.

I live in a snowy mountain town, so my main fantasies lately have been about my love interest and me getting stranded in a cozy log cabin (well-stocked with food and firewood, as well as a generator with plenty of fuel because I am a practical fantasist). The strangest part of my fantasies is that they usually end tragically, either with my dream lover dying, or with him cheating on me and me packing up my life and going on a solo trek across Australia, where I wind up in Broome and meet a handsome man who takes me sailing in crystal blue tropical waters and then makes love to me in his villa overlooking the Kimberley Desert. Then he is bitten by one of Australia’s many poisonous snakes and dies. In my grief, I journey to England, where a bearded Prince Harry decides he has a penchant for bookish brunettes. My fantasies segue into other fantasies, and I am a Black Widow daydream serial killer.

It may seem that all of my fantasies have to do with sexytimes with handsome men. This isn’t always the case. I have mentally won more Oscars than Daniel Day-Lewis. I am a Pulitzer Prize winner. I’ve hiked to Machu Picchu. I’ve danced with the penguins in Australia. I’ve had a great many adventures in my mind. Even as I write this, I’m fantasizing about going into the bathroom and plucking the weird hair that sporadically grows on my neck.

When I’m running low on daydream inspiration, I turn to fantasy novels. They inspire my imagination and take me places, like a world where dragons once ruled or a cyberpunk magical city in the Middle East.

The Dragon’s Path
By: Daniel Abraham

Dragon's PathI have been going through A Song of Ice and Fire withdrawals. I’ve read all the novels and seen every episode of every season. I needed something to sate my desire for swords and dragons. Luckily, I came across Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series, and it is everything I was looking for. Sure, the dragons in this first novel of the series are long-dead, and there’s not nearly enough incest to make it a good match for GoT, but it will do for now. Plus, it came highly recommended by George R. R. Martin and Junot Diaz. Can’t get much better praise than that. There are four main characters whose narratives intertwine. Cithrin and Marcus, a banker and warrior, respectively, are my favorites. They have some sexual tension that I’m going to need to build in a slow burn. They smuggle and fight and plot and are mostly good, but with enough questionable morals to keep you guessing. Meanwhile, Dawson narrates his upper-class shenanigans. He stands for everything I work against in real life, but such is the talent of the author that I find myself rooting for him to succeed and worrying about him when he fails. The fourth character Geder, well, I accidentally spoiled myself on what happens to him throughout the novels, and there has never been a more unlikely, yet natural and believable, character arc. If you like long journeys fraught with danger, and epic battles, and nefarious plots, and coups, and magical humanoid creatures, then this is for you.

Reads well with: “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett and brandy

 

Alif the Unseen
By: G. Willow Wilson

Alif the UnseenI will read anything with “magical realism” in the description. If you combine that with “cyberpunk dystopia,” I’m like, “How did you learn my innermost desires for a novel? Are you a witch? I sentence you to the dunk test!”

Alif is a hacker—a spurned, lovelorn hacker who is in a love triangle with the head of security for his country. Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, which may have magical repercussions on computers and Alif’s very life.

Sure, I only understood about every third word of all the IT descriptions, but I understand love, and I understand magic.

Reads well with: Robert Smith and tea (Like, the good, properly made tea. Not some microwaved Lipton crap)

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