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Ava Reid Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Wolf and the Woodsman (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Juniper & Thorn (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ava Reid is a fantasy fiction author from Palo Alto California that is best known for her debut novel “The Wolf and the Woodsman.”
The author was born in Manhattan but was brought up in Hoboken, New Jersey, right across the Huddson. As an adult, she moved to the friendly and sunny neighborhoods of Palo Alto, from where she writes her novels.

She went to Barnard College from where she earned a degree in political science, majoring in ethnonationalism and religion.
Once she graduated from college, she worked several jobs that included volunteering for a resettlement organization, at the office of a United States senator and her most recent being at an Artificial Intelligence robotics startup.
She published “The Wolf and the Woodsman,” her debut novel, in 2021.

Reid’s inspiration for her debut novel came to her when she was reading about Hungary. She was then working on the content for a paper that had been given to the class and ended up researching Hungarian history after going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole.

She sort of stumbled on a throwaway and casual sentence that told of how the first Christian King of Hungary named Saint Stephen had arrested his nephew and had his eyes gouged out for the crime of being a pagan.

The brutality and symbolic resonance was so visceral that she would spend several weeks thinking about it. What kind of zealous devotion would result in such barbarousness. After conducting a little more research, she came to the conclusion that it was from such actions that the modern state of Hungary came to be.
She is hardly the first person to conclude that state building sometimes calls for brutal violence. Ava Reid believed it could be a good basis for a fantasy story. She would then collect disparate threads of culture, politics and history to write her debut novel.

Ava Reid was significantly influenced by her academic studies in writing her novel. Majoring in political science, she worked on all manner of subjects from state building, ethnic nationalist and religion, all of which she found good fodder for the fantasy genre.
Her most immediate influences for her novel were Catheryne Valente, Naomi Novik, Leigh Bardugo and Katherine Arden. Even though “The Wolf and the Woodsman” is more of a classic sorcery and sword type fantasy, Ava has always been more interested in writing that bridges the speculative-literary gap.
Some authors that have been a significant influence in this regard include the likes of Kelly Link, Karen Rusell, and Carmen Maria Machado. What she loves about these authors that she includes in her novel is the wit and strangeness.

“The Wolf and the Woodsman” by Ava Reid is the story of Evike, a woman who lives in a forest veiled pagan village. In a society full of magic, she is an outcast as she does not have any, which makes the villagers believe she is accursed.

The villagers believe that her Yehuli father corrupted her bloodline as he worked for one of the most fanatical kings of the realm. When soldiers come looking for a pagan girl to sacrifice to the Holy Order of Woodsmen, Evike is given up by her fellow villagers.

But then on the way to their village, the Woodsmen and their captive are attacked by monsters that slaughter all the soldiers and their entourage except for the cold one eyed captain and Evike. All alone, they will now have to depend on each other.

She soon realizes that he is no typical Woodsman as he is Gaspar Baranu, the disgraced prince. He had been sent on the mission to find pagan magic his father needs to consolidate his hold on power. The prince is afraid his overzealous brother is conspiring to overthrow his father and instigate a brutal reign that would damn the Yehulu and pagans alike.

Together with Evike, they make a pact to stop his evil kin. As their journey takes them from the cold northern tundra to the smog filled capital, what had been mutual loathing slowly becomes affection bound by a shared history of oppression and alienation.

Ava Reid’s “A Study in Drowning” is an excellent romantic fantasy and feminist literary thriller that has been referred to as “Hazel Wood” meets “Possession.”
The lead in the story is Efy Sayre, an architecture student. She has just won a contest and is to design the family manor that is to be the home of her favorite author. She finds herself in a crumbling and remote estate full of disturbing secrets.

Working with a student who is very much her rival, she needs to solve a mystery that is decades old. But there are dark forces that are both magical and mortal working against them. Moreover, finding the truth about the dark forces may just be their downfall.

While this is Reid’s young adult debut, it is an incredible work that goes from crumbling and dreary settings to tender romance and intimate settings.
Effy is an interesting and likable protagonist as she is a vulnerable and traumatized woman who is struggling to find her foothold in a society that will do anything to ruin her life.

She is the epitome of survivors who work hard to ensure that she survives anywhere. This is a novel about how survivors are forgotten, spoken over and ignored. Still, the novel manages to be hopeful and heartbreaking.

“Juniper and Thorn” by Ava Reid tells the story of the last true witches living in a city that has been slowly shifting to industry after years of practicing magic.

Marlinchen and her two siblings have become something of a tourist trap as they beguile their clients with nostalgic charm and archaic remedies. Marlichen earns rubles divining secrets, even as she tries to placate their xenophobic and tyrannical wizard father.
Everyone thinks that he keeps his daughters too sheltered from the outside world. But what they do not know is that the sisters usually sneak out every night to revel in the thrills and amenities of the city.

They particularly love the ballet theater recently opened in town and this is where Marlinchen meets a handsome young man that makes her heart skip a beat. But as their late night trysts become more frequent and fervent, so does the threat of her father’s magic and rage.

Even as the city bustles with enterprise and flourishes with culture, a monster is lurking among them suffused with old world power and borne of resentment and intolerance.

Caught between desire and blood, progress and history, Marlinchen needs to draw on her own magical powers to try to find her place in the city and keep it sage.

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