Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: ten books for historical fiction fans

*Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish*

So this is our first top ten Tuesday post, and we thought we'd kick it off with a list of ten books that every fan of historical fiction should read! 

In no particular order, here are our top picks:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 

Our blog's namesake, The Book Thief is a game changer when it comes to historical fiction, narrated by Death and set in Nazi Germany during WWII. If you haven't read it yet, we both recommend that you go and pick up a copy right now and get reading!

2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
“And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?” 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is definitely targeted more at children, but is still a classic historical fiction book, focusing on Bruno (the son of a Nazi officer) and his friendship with Shmuel, a Jewish boy who is in Auschwitz, which Bruno lives next to due to his Father's work. The truly heartbreaking aspect of this story is the innocence of Bruno (e.g. his belief that Auschwitz is a farm called "Out-With" or the Führer is "The Fury"), and the way that WWII destroyed the innocence of the two children. 

3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
"The War is always going badly."

Deathless has, for a few months now, been Becky's favourite book - and this is coming from a girl who doesn't like to choose one specific favourite. It is a historical fantasy set in WWII era Leningrad (St. Petersburg), filled with Russian mythology whilst also showcasing the horrors of living in Russia during the war. A definite must read. 

4. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin 
“The wolves of war are gathering. They sing a song of rotten bones.” 

We will be posting a full review of Wolf by Wolf shortly, so we won't give too much away here! It is an action packed book based around an alternate post-WWII setting, in which Hitler has won the war.

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
"Careless talk costs lives."

Another book with a WWII setting, Code Name Verity is the story of two British girls during the war. Their plane has been shot down over France, and one of the girls has been captured by the Nazis and given two weeks to tell them everything she knows about the British war effort. 

6. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

Burial Rites is inspired by the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a woman who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Iceland, 1829. The novel showcases Agnes's last days leading up to her execution, and the alternate sides to her tragic story.

7. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys 
“War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.” 

Salt to the Sea, inspired by true events, follows four refugees seeking freedom towards the end of WWII. A poignant read that is still so relevant to what is happening in our world to this day.

8. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
“There are no bargains between lion and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.” 

The Song of Achilles is a bit different from the previous books we've mentioned - it's a historical fantasy set in Ancient Greece, filled with mythology, and is a retelling of The Ilyad.

9. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
“Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?” 

Between Shades of Gray follows Lina, a young Lithuanian girl, and her journey to a Siberian work camp during Stalin's rule of the Soviet Union - a journey based novel unlike any other, and inspired by what many would have had to go through during WWII.

10. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers 
“There is no shame in scars."

The His Fair Assassin trilogy, consisting of Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart, is a historical fantasy series set in Brittany (France) in the 1400's. It focuses on the convent of St. Mortain, where Death's handmaidens are trained to be assassins. Each book follows a different girl from the convent and their missions to the royal courts of Brittany, killing those who Death has marked. It is a thoroughly enjoyable series with just the right amount of history and mythological elements thrown in! 

We hope you enjoyed our selection! Are there any other historical fiction books you'd add to this list of must-reads? Let us know in the comments!

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