Want books with cool narration? | SFF Recommendations [CC]

Welcome back to dead good book reviews. I’m 
Judith, and you are watching another video  
here on the channel today, I thought it’d be 
fun to do another listy kind of video. I’ve  
not done one of those in a few weeks maybe, um, 
today I want to talk about books that have an  
interesting narrative structure. Because I have 
a lot of books on this list. Some of them I own,  
some of them I don’t, it’s just easier to 
ask editing Judith, please could you edit the  
covers in I have 11 books on this list. Some 
of them I haven’t read for a very long time,  
I thought this list would be much easier 
to put together than it ended up being.  
Because I read a lot of books that have arguably 
fairly standard narrative structure. And finding  
ones that had a little something unique to them 
maybe was more difficult than I expected. But I  
have compiled that list for you. And I’m going 
to present it and Stop waffling. Now. first up,  
I have what will not surprise anyone I talk 
about this in almost every single listed video.  
I don’t know why. But it’s chorus of dragons, 
doo, dah, dah, dah, dah. I have a video for this  
whole series

that I did very recently. So if you 
would like to find out more about it in detail,  
you can go and check that out here. But just 
to talk about the narrative structure. This is  
a series which is compiled as a set of kind of 
Chronicles that have been compiled by characters  
in the books who are reading a book from within 
that world. And they have footnoted and commented  
on various elements of the story, which you 
then get to read, but also within the story,  
oftentimes, not in every single book. But in 
most of them, you have different characters  
telling different parts of the story. And then you 
jump back to the place in which they are telling  
that story. And you go through it all. And it just 
makes for a really interesting read where you can  
follow it easy enough, you can know where you 
are in time, you can know what you’re doing. But  
it just means that you get a really interesting 
set of perspectives on the story. Because also,  
quite often you’ll have two characters who were 
both there. And you’ll get different perspectives  
on how honest that story was, and what they 
thought about various different things that went  
on. And it’s hard to describe without spoiling it, 
but for example, a character describing another  
character’s parents doing it. And their reaction 
to that it makes it so much fun, you get to know  
the characters in such a different way, you 
get to know the characters at different stages  
of their life, which I found very enjoyable, 
especially because it is kind of a book about  
different generations and growing up. And so such 
I just, it’s such a great series, the narrative  
structure is one of the big selling points for 
me, I know some people who didn’t get on with it,  
I think actually the first book where obviously 
most people would start, it is least strong,  
or maybe arguably book one and two, because 
they’re most looking back on the distant past. But  
I think that once you get to book three and four, 
it just, it really excels because at that point,  
you’ll also understand more about who’s telling 
the stories and why I absolutely recommend this  
series. It’s one of my favorite epic fantasy 
series. Go for it. Enjoy yourselves. You’re  
welcome. Next on my list, I have the Memoirs of 
Lady trent series, again, a series I’ve talked  
about many a time, I’m very specifically going 
to be talking about the spin off book, Turning  
darkness into light. Because this book, more 
than any of the others contains diary entries,  
newspaper reports. And so such that really 
just round out the corners of this world. I  
love the original books for being memoirs it works 
really, really well. But something about that that  
other book where you just sometimes learn more 
about different elements of the story through  
the newspaper articles, and you can infer 
quite a lot about the bias of that society  
through the newspapers. And the other character’s, 
diary entries give you a bit of insight into why  
they’re acting the way they do. It rounds 
it out wonderfully. And as a story that is,  
in some ways, it sounds very boring in that 
you are dealing with people who are translating  
ancient tablets, there’s translations in there as 
well. But they are translating ancient tablets,  
not particularly exciting. But a lot goes on 
in this world. And the tablets have a lot of  
meaning for the world and for various different 
aspects of society that I think just oh it just  
makes it work extremely, extremely well. And 
as a person with a background in archaeology,  
it really spoke to me. And I wish that archaeology 
got reported in the news in the way that it  
perhaps used to or does in fantasy books. Alas, 
most people aren’t interested in, we found a  
slightly different shaped rock. Yeah, one that I 
haven’t talked about in a very, very long time. If  
I’ve ever talked about it on the channel, I don’t 
know that I have is world war z I don’t even know  
who this is by I read this on the recommendation 
of a friend at an archeological dig actually,  
how interesting who I said, I had no interest in 
zombie books. I have no interest in watching the  
film, because I think it had just come out at 
the time I was reading it perhaps I certainly  
had a digital cover. That was the film. So it must 
have been around about that time. She said to me,  
no, no, no, you need to read it because it’s 
completely different than what you would think.  
And it is what world war z is is a series of 
interviews that take place after the zombie  
apocalypse has sort of been managed. It’s not 
over, but it’s been managed. And they look at  
various different aspects of society. And it’s 
kind of simultaneously How did they cope? Or  
how were they affected by the zombie apocalypse. 
And it’s what you would expect you’ll get a few  
kinds of people who were stuck in big battles and 
so such but more often than not the things that  
really stick with you reading the book, certainly 
for me, is the ecological impact or the impact on  
very small families or individuals or things you 
wouldn’t expect. So they’re my favorite essay  
in the whole thing, essay interview. And the 
whole thing is, they talk to you somebody who  
is a whale conservationist, and this is maybe a 
minor spoiler. I don’t think it’s spoiling the  
book for you. Honestly, it’s fine, but they 
talk about how How when humanity took to the  
water to avoid zombies, they ended up killing 
all of the whales because they needed food.  
And people stopped caring because they thought 
the end of the world had come. And it’s just a  
really interesting look at the apocalypse because 
it is from this kind of interviewing, looking back  
on it perspective, and it works incredibly well. 
And I recommend it quite often, if you don’t like  
zombies, I wouldn’t read it, they does contain 
some spooky zombie stuff. But it’s just a really  
fascinating book. And it feels really well thought 
out dark and deepest red by AM McLemore which I  
will be talking about in an overbooked video very 
soon. So keep your eyes peeled for that. In fact,  
if all goes to plan, it will be coming out 
in two weeks. So if you haven’t subscribed,  
subscribe for that. This is on here. It’s not a 
particularly unique narrative structure to do a  
dual timeline kind of book. In fact, I think 
there’s probably some others on this list.  
But I was having trouble making this list. So I 
thought I would include it. And this we have one  
narrative that is in the 1500s in Strasbourg, and 
one that is in the US that is modern day. And what  
I like about this is it doesn’t just have history 
is repeating itself in these two narratives.  
And aren’t I clever as an author, but you have 
one narrative kind of interacting with the other  
and learning about your history and choosing 
not to repeat it or seeing what’s different,  
more than what’s the same. And I very much enjoyed 
experiencing that. And I think it’s a really good  
example of a dual narrative book that works or 
dual timeline, book that works. And I think,  
especially when you’re dealing with kind of queer 
narratives, and when you’re dealing with that,  
at the other intersection of things like 
race and identity and various other things,  
I think it just does a really good job of 
showing, this is how things were in the past.  
And here’s the hopeful parts of that. And here’s 
the nasty parts of that. And here we are in the  
future. And here’s how far we’ve come. And here’s 
how far we’ve got to go still. And I just really  
liked the way that those were paired together. 
That is a kind of fairy tale retelling of The  
Red Shoes, combined with a sort of historically, 
fiction kind of look at a town that got cursed  
to dance. And it’s very interesting, the Broken 
Earth trilogy by NK Jemisin, which starts with  
the fifth season. I absolutely recommend these 
all the time, love NK Jemisin love the way she  
does narration, it comes into play in a lot of her 
works. And there’s a lot of different narrators,  
there’s a lot of interesting playing with second 
person. And so such but I think the fifth season  
really exemplifies that and using that to create 
mystery and intrigue and to set up parts of the  
book that you don’t expect to come in later. 
I’m not going to spoil any of it for you. But  
I just would say if you’re looking for interesting 
narrators NK Jemisin is an author that you really,  
really want to explore, and I would personally 
start with the Broken Earth trilogy. I think  
it’s fantastic. It’s sort of semi, not even 
post apocalyptic, like fantasy apocalyptic.  
It’s just wonderful. You’re just gonna have to 
trust me on this because I need to do a reread  
before I talk about in any detail. But it is so so 
good. Another book that I haven’t read in a very  
long time. And when I did read it, I only read 
it once. And I think it was from the library,  
the Raven Tower by Ann Leckie this is on 
the list because every time I’m recommending  
this book to someone or someone says, oh, I 
should read this, should I read this? Maybe  
I always go, yes, it’s got a really interesting 
narrator And it’s because it’s narrated by  
some thing you wouldn’t expect someone you 
wouldn’t expect hard to say. And again,  
I don’t want to spoil it for you. But it’s just 
a really, really interesting fantasy book. And I  
very much enjoyed it, I think it is well worth 
looking at if only because it’s so different  
from everything else that you will at least feel 
that your palate has been cleansed in some way  
Raven tower ann leckie which is interesting, 
because Ancillary Justice, I did not really  
like that much. And that does have some similar 
narration elements to it, but it just wasn’t  
for me. Whereas this this I very much enjoyed one 
of my early overbooked videos is for the tangled  
lands. This is a collection of short stories. It’s 
one of two short story collections on this list.  
Yes. And I like this for being a collection 
of short stories all set in the same world  
that sort of follow on from one another but are 
not about each one is not about the other. It’s  
more that the events of one story affect the 
events of another. So you see the consequences  
of the actions of the former story in this story. 
And it’s a really interesting sort of fairy tale  
inspired world where people have used too much 
magic, and it has caused brambles to show up  
everywhere and kind of a Sleeping Beauty sort 
of way. And they can’t be dealt with. And they  
massively affect society. And they banned the use 
of magic, except the elite are still definitely  
using it because the brambles are still turning 
up. And what does that world look like? How do  
you deal with equality in that kind of world and 
it’s just so well written and it’s so underrated  
and I have heard no one talking about it ever, and 
I always want people to so read the tangled lands,  
it’s a really good collection, and it’s not super 
long, so you’ll get through it really quickly.  
It’s just an enjoyable set of stories. I would 
say it’s also very, very sad. If you’re like  
me and things being unfair upsets you, it will 
upset you but in a good way. The other short  
story collection I have on this list is recently 
out it’s boys beasts and men by Sam Miller and  
short story collections often include multiple 
different kinds of narration. What I think is  
interesting about the structure of this book is 
that it is a collection of short stories that  
have been published at various different points 
in Sam Miller’s Career, but throughout them all in  
between each story is a little chunk of another 
story that just ties them all together. And I  
find that really interesting as obviously all of 
these were written at different times they weren’t  
written to connect And they found a way to connect 
them that doesn’t feel super clunky. It feels very  
genuine. And it actually makes for a wonderful 
story arc in the book itself. And as somebody  
who often find myself getting a bit stuck in short 
story collections where I’m kind of like I don’t,  
I’m jumping from one thing to another, it doesn’t 
really fit. I’m going from space to cowboys,  
I don’t, I don’t know what I’m doing. I really 
appreciated that link between them just making  
it all flow and giving the whole book this sense 
of movement that a lot of short story collections  
for me, don’t have Can you tell I like things to 
be connected up, because it’s the same for the  
tangled lands. Another book that is presented as 
a series of interviews, this isn’t sci fi, this is  
historical fiction, I guess Daisy Jones and the 
six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I think everyone  
and their mom has already talked about this, I 
just wanted to bring it up as I really enjoyed  
it as a set of interviews, similar to World War Z, 
except that that’s looking at the world. And this  
is more looking at the history of a band. It’s 
a beautiful book, it gets lots and lots of hype,  
it deserves it, it’s a really enjoyable read. It’s 
emotional, it’s difficult at times, but it just  
hits the spot. And if you want something that is 
very easy to read, very quick to read and feels  
very different. Because of that interview style, I 
would say go for it. If you read it, and you find  
that you’re not enjoying it, I wouldn’t keep going 
because it does stay the same interview style  
throughout. But I think it’s just a really good 
way of telling a story. The Masquerade series is  
another one that I’ve talked about fairly often, 
it’s one that I always find myself not quite  
understanding. So I’m not super confident about 
talking about it, but I have read them all. So  
here you go. I enjoy a lot of elements of this 
book. I think particularly in the later books,  
maybe book two and Book Three, there’s some really 
interesting use of the narration and use of the  
prose to convey a lot of different aspects of 
character, especially in kind of an almost,  
it’s not quite a descent into madness, but it’s 
that kind of thing going on. And it makes it quite  
difficult to read to be fair, because it’s already 
quite a chunky book with a lot to understand in  
terms of the economics and you throw in a whole 
different element of narration in there. And it  
gets even trickier. But I do think that it works 
really well as a depiction of what’s going on in  
the book. In the book itself. I really like that 
I like a book that can show me what a character is  
going through through the page. That’s another 
epic fantasy. It deals a lot with economics,  
he deals a lot with the power behind empire and 
how to pull down an empire from within. It’s a  
great series, it is a little bit complicated, in 
my opinion, possibly a little bit overcomplicated,  
but I really liked the story. And I’m very excited 
to one day, potentially read the end of it,  
one day it will come out. And last on this list 
is a series that I added to it very recently,  
which is why this is 11 and not 10, which is a 
nice round number. This is the Tensorate series  
by neon Yang, the first book perfectly fine, 
the second book from a different narrator.  
Even better. The third one is also similarly 
to a number of the other things on this list  
is told in various different things. There are 
transcripts of interviews in there, there are  
reports, there are letters, there are other bits 
and bobs within it as a way of telling the story.  
And it works really, really well because the third 
book is a lot about a cover up, or corporate cover  
up as it were. And I think that telling that 
through reports and having to read between the  
lines is one of my favorite things. I love a 
book where you have to read between the lines,  
I would say that if you are going to read this 
series, I would actually start with book two and  
go back to book one, and then read book three, 
which sounds ludicrous, but I think but one is  
perfectly fine. It does its job it does what it 
needs do. But Book Two is really really really  
good. And Book Three is even better. And then 
Book One feels more like a prequel to those  
I have not yet read the fourth one I am going to 
it is on my list, but I thought I would bring up  
because Book Three fits so nicely with this prompt 
and I wanted a chance to plug the series again,  
that sort of fantasy with a big exploration of 
gender particularly in the first book and then  
it goes more into other ideas as they go on. It is 
well worth reading I would recommend it. Bonus one  
is that Lemony Snicket biography Did anyone else 
read that as a kid and be very confused? Because  
I sure did. What other books do you know that have 
an interesting narrative structure narratorr do  
something interesting on page I would love to 
know please do plonk them down in the comments  
below while you’re down there commenting if you 
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Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you 
in the next one. It’s gonna be some bloopers now  
welcome back to dead good book reviews, good book 
reviews and welcome back. Well no that’s what no

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