In lieu of participating in Wyrd and Wonder on my blog this week I’ve been reading FOURTH WING by Rebecca Yarros. Or, trying to, at least, in between other things that cropped up this week. Regardless, today’s prompt is mythology, or celebrate a subgenre. If I had planned better, I would have saved my recently-created list of Arthurian retellings for today. But alas. (Please check it out if you missed it!) Instead, my focus is to celebrate Celtic mythology, which is just as fun to read.
Allow me to be frank in that I don’t know much about Celtic mythology. However, I inadvertently many times a year seem to read fantasy books inspired by it. This inspiration usually isn’t evident to me when I read the synopsis. Or perhaps it’s not evident to me because I am not educated in it. (Highly possible.) Nevertheless, I do enjoy them when I read them. So allow me to celebrate Celtic mythology and share it via a list.
Daughter of Erabel series by Kristin Ward
I first became aware of this self-published series thanks to a blog tour lead by The Write Reads. As such I have reviews for THE GIRL OF DORCHA WOOD, BLOOD OF THE LOST KINGDOM, and A STORM OF WRATH AND RUIN. This is a well-written and fast-paced story with many different plot lines weaving together. I’m looking forward to the fourth book. It introduced me to a lot of different creatures from Celtic mythology.
The Girl of Dorcha Wood Synopsis
Dorcha Wood is all of these.
And none of them.
The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all. There is danger in the dark forest. Monstrous things, remnants of the Aos Sí, lurk in the shadows, hunting the unwary should one be careless enough to cross those borders.
But to seventeen-year-old Fiadh, Dorcha Wood is home. A haven. It speaks to her in the rustle of the wind through the leaves, in the wild things that come to her hand. It is a forest whose secrets become known only when it chooses to reveal them.
Hers is a simple life until the outside world shatters it.
Gideon, a warrior whose memory is as lost as his strength, finds his way to Fiadh’s healing hands. With his arrival comes the wrath of Lord Darragh, the ruler of Felmore. A man whose violence rivals that of the nightmarish beings of Dorcha Wood.
Fiadh finds herself thrust into a world brimming with suspicion and cruelty, seething with hatred and vengeance.
She turns to Gideon. Setting herself on a new path where she will confront the reality of old hatred, the consequences of things hidden, and the truth of who she is.
The Daughter of Erabel series blends Celtic mythology and young adult dark fantasy, taking readers on the journey of one young woman caught between the world of men and the kingdom of elves.
Elements of Cadence duology by Rebecca Ross
I have not yet read the second book in this duology. But I can at least attest that A RIVER ENCHANTED has some lovely prose and reminds me of a bedtime folklore. Despite the plot line of missing children, it has a timeless, cozy vibe to it.
A River Enchanted Synopsis
House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.
Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.
The Magician’s Daughter by H.G. Parry
Like the Elements of Cadence duology, THE MAGICIAN’S DAUGHTER also has a cozy bedtime story feel to it. The vibe is reminiscent of coming-of-age fantasy series from the late 1990s like SABRIEL or THE GOLDEN COMPASS. The Celtic mythology isn’t as overt in this standalone book as it is in the last two series. But it’s there!
In the early 1900s, a young woman is caught between two worlds in H. G. Parry’s spellbinding tale of miracles, magic, and the adventure of a lifetime.
Off the coast of Ireland sits a legendary island hidden by magic. A place of ruins and ancient trees, sea salt air, and fairy lore, Hy-Brasil is the only home Biddy has ever known. Washed up on its shore as a baby, Biddy lives a quiet life with her guardian, the mercurial magician Rowan. A life she finds increasingly stifling.
One night, Rowan fails to return from his mysterious travels. To find him, Biddy must venture into the outside world for the first time. But Rowan has powerful enemies—forces who have hoarded the world’s magic and have set their sights on the magician’s many secrets.
Biddy may be the key to stopping them. Yet the closer she gets to answers, the more she questions everything she’s ever believed about Rowan, her past, and the nature of magic itself.
Gael Song series by Shauna Lawless
Set in the late 10th century, the Gael Song series starts with THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN. It’s also in the historical fantasy subgenre and true events and people inspired many aspects of this story. It’s a fabulous debut with Irish mythology and two strong women on different sides of the supernatural battlefield, so to speak. Plus throw in some political maneuvering and cunning and you have yourself a great story to read. The second book hits shelves in the U.S. in mid September.
The Children of Gods and Fighting Men Synopsis
The first in a gripping new historical fantasy series that intertwines Irish mythology with real-life history, The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is the thrilling debut novel by Shauna Lawless.
They think they’ve killed the last of us…
981 AD. The Viking King of Dublin is dead. His young widow, Gormflaith, has ambitions for her son – and herself – but Ireland is a dangerous place and kings tend not to stay kings for long. Gormflaith also has a secret. She is one of the Fomorians, an immortal race who can do fire-magic. She has kept her powers hidden at all costs, for there are other immortals in this world – like the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of warriors who are sworn to kill Fomorians.
Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with the gift of healing. Her kind dwell hidden in a fortress, forbidden to live amongst the mortals. Fódla agrees to help her kin by going to spy on Brian Boru, a powerful man who aims to be High King of Ireland. She finds a land on the brink of war – a war she is desperate to stop. However, preventing the loss of mortal lives is not easy with Ireland in turmoil and the Fomorians now on the rise…
I’m sure I missed some. But it’s tough to remember everything I’ve read. With that in mind, please feel free to comment with some books you read that celebrate Celtic mythology. That is, what books did you read that include some Celtic mythology inspiration?
I’m not up on my Celtic mythology at all, so it’s entirely possible I’ve read books rooted in that mythology. I haven’t read any of these, but I do have The Magician’s Daughter and A River Enchanted on my list😁
I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some small bits of Celtic mythology in some fantasy books you’ve read in the past! I enjoyed both THE MAGICIAN’S DAUGHTER and A RIVER ENCHANTED…they have a timeless feel to them.
If you’re looking for books with great Celtic mythology, I highly recommend The Falconer trilogy! They’re fae books with a badass FMC, so much character development and depth, a gorgeous world, and amazing Celtic representation! I also recently read Queen Among the Dead which is 100% based on Celtic mythology. It truthfully went a little over my head since I’m not as familiar with their lore, but it was still a fascinating read!
Thank you! I haven’t heard of any of these books, so I appreciate the recommendations!
I loved The Magician’s Daughter!! Great post.
A River Enchanted sounds really good! Especially since you said “bedtime folklore” – those two words made me feel like I’d enjoy the book!
A River Enchanted does have that more “timeless” story feeling to it, which reminds me a bit of how The Golden Compass and all those books are written…also like Sabriel by Garth Nix.