Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book hangover. Series hangover. Serious hangover.

The term "book hangover" shows up in the Urban Dictionary!

When you've finished a book and you suddenly return to the real world, but the real world feels incomplete or surreal because you're still living in the world of the book.

I just finished the last book in a trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor,  and I'm going through a bad book hangover. I don't want it to be over! I want prequels and sequels and spin-offs! I want more mythical creatures, more clashes between our world and Eretz, a fantasy parallel world.  I want more of the characters: Karou and Akiva and Liraz, Zuzana and Mik and even Fake Grandma and the White Wolf. I want more of Prague and Morocco and Rome, and the Kirin caves and Astrae and the Far Isles. Chimaera and seraphim, Stelian and stormhunters.

But more of what I want is not likely to show up for another couple years, if ever, so in the meantime I'm chewing over just what drew me so much into this series. I've read several very good series over the years but only one other (the Lord of the Rings) has gotten under my skin as much as this one.

Things that drew me in both series, the Smoke and Bone series and Lord of the Rings:

1) rich world building, including mythology

Both Eretz and Middle Earth have different sentient races, cultures, traditions, rich histories and mythologies and languages. Middle Earth also had a detailed geography (Eretz needs a map! please, Ms. Taylor, make us a map!)  I've started other fantasy series that have similar world building richness, such as Game of Thrones, but was never tempted to finish the series, so there's something more than excellent world building

2) epic scale

Nothing short of the entire world (or even worlds, plural) is at stake and there is a generational aspect to the story, with a long history of conflict.

3) destiny

Can Aragorn reclaim the lost throne of Gondor that is rightfully his, but so much stands in the way? Can Karou and Akiva realize their dream of peace finally, the end of the thousand year war between their races?

4) longing stories

Not just love stories, but longing stories (and stories, plural). Aragorn and Arwen, Eowyn and Aragorn and Faramir; Akiva and Karou, Ziri and (spoiler). Longing for other things too, like the the elves longing for the West or the dwarves for their lost Moria. Karou longing to know who she is in the first book, Eliza longing to know who she is in the third book. These books convey a deep pathos, a twining of love and loss and sacrifice.

5) layers and intertwining threads

My head spins trying to think of how the authors fit together all the layers of stories throughout the series, with complicated histories and prophecies and  twists, set-ups, and implications.

6) family, friendship or fellowship

The nine in the fellowship of the ring (including the one traitor) and all their different personalities and quirks and a little bit of picking on each other or one-upping each other. Zuzana and Mik and Issa as Karou's friends and foils and Hazael and Liraz as Akiva's.

7) laugh out loud moments

No explanation needed.

Other admirable series I've read:

Iron King, Iron Daughter, Iron Queen, and Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Wings, Spells, Illusions and Destined by Aprilynne Pike
The Harry Potter series, of course
The Mitford series, by Jan Karon (not fantasy, but arguably just as much world building!)

Series I plan to finish:
Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
Shadow and Bone, Seige and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Archived, The Unbound and hopefully a third book by Victoria Schwab
The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Have you ever had a book hangover? and what kind of literary cocktail caused it? (grin)


  1. OMG! I have just reached the half way mark in Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I'm trying my hardest to read it slow b/c I don't want it to be over! Such an AMAZING series!!
    I'll have to check out the titles you listed above! I have read Sabriel and can't wait to finish the Abhorsen trilogy. Did you hear about the prequel, Clariel, and the new book covers? Check out it out here: http://www.fangirlish.com/cover-reveals-clariel-by-garth-nix-finished-abhorsen-trilogy/
    Thanks for sharing! xoxo
    Michelle ~ Book Hangovers Blabs Books

    1. Oh I hadn't heard about Clariel yet!! Very excited - love those covers though Clariel looks a little creepy (and I should not be surprised). Thanks for sharing!

  2. Haven't read this series yet, but book hangovers are the worst...and the best because that phenomenal story is still swirling in your brain at all waking hours! And some non-waking hours. ;) I had book hangover syndrome so bad after finishing AC Gaughen's Lady Thief.

    1. Lady Thief is on my list.. I read Scarlet last year. Yup, it's weird how book hangovers are the worst and the best. :)

  3. I'm just about to start D of G and M. It's funny I'm afraid to start because I KNOW I won't want it to end. Did you read NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS?

  4. I have not yet read a Laini Taylor book, which my friends tell me is a CRIME. It's just that I haven't had enough time!! I really need to get my hands on DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, though, because it sounds awesome judging by the way you and everyone else have been raving. I've read GRAVE MERCY, but I need to grab those sequels in a bad way!



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