The #WyrdAndWonder Challenge | Lean into Jorie’s Swept Away Straits!

Posted Friday, 3 May, 2024 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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We LOVE challenging each other during #WyrdAndWonder with prompts which inspire responses which can be taken literally by the words of the prompt itself or become explored more creatively by what sparks a response from the reader, blogger or social Fantasy lover to share with us during the month of May. This year, I’ve decided to post complimentary discussions featuring the prompts I am responding to via Instagram on our @WyrdAndWonder feeds. As it was a goal of mine last year but not one that I could fulfil properly.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

By the third day’s prompt, there was ONLY one series in particular which I felt best befit the category of choice – as it was meant to be focused on a narrative and/or characters’ arc you simply did not want to remove yourself from and thereby, make either an immediate return or revisit it as oft as you dare shortly after having concluded your stay within the story or stories. For me, the bar was set especially high by the writerly wisdom and clarity of serial arc within this narrative by Nightingale herself. There are other series out there where I have felt an equally strong affection for and oft return inside multiple times to carry-on with the rhythm of their tales and the adventures of their characters – but for me, in particular, this series is quite the special experience and I felt was celebrating the theme of being ‘swept away’ into the straits of Nightingale’s imagination and not quite knowing if I knew the way back into our own world by the end.

Hands down – my number one pick in this moment of time for Swept Away Straits is none other than The Tales of Tarya series:

Swept Away Straits collage graphic for Wyrd And Wonder created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit:

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Harlequin’s Riddle (book one) : (see also Review)

Columbines Tale (book two) : review forthcoming this Summer

Pierrot’s Song (book three) : review forthcoming this Summer

[ Read the author’s guest post ]

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These were the words I shared after starting to read Harlequin’s Riddle and in many respects, I think this particular series might appeal to those of us who are reading The Night Circus this year because of how reality is a bit suspended and not everything is quite what it seems.

Such a beguiling beginning! We are entreating into a world where actors are lively performers and where a story weaver has a story he feels compelled to share with everyone who will listen. It is his story we are listening to ourselves wherein Nightingale tempts us with the allure of what ‘lies between our dreamscapes and our reality’. It is a notion of suspended time and yet, so much can occur between those experiences it sets a prime foundation of the world she’s built. The suspense of what is looming is enough to grab your interest as it did mine!

There was an immediacy of connection for me as I was reading her words and feeling myself pulled more and more into the world in which she was building in front of my eyes. It is quite hard to describe the layers in which she knit into the story, too. It is such an unusual route of entrance into where the fantastical overtakes the everyday moments of the story, too. In some respects, you’re not quite prepared for what is going to evolve into the forefront of the story.

Except I was able to capture a bit of it within this recollection:

The vision of the performers arriving with their wagon into the small community of Andon held an eclipse of imagination within their curiously adorned travelling stage! Nightingale describes it so beautifully – as an ever-changing magical portal of imagination! Despite the limitations of a wagon, it was how Nightingale talked about its hidden compartments and how those could transfix an audience who knew not what to expect from the performers who had just arrived into their towne. It was a feast for the eyes as seen through Mina’s observations of its decorations, too! I could see why Mina was tempted by their arrival and what their lifestyle might mean to a girl who felt trapped by circumstance and longed to be set free.

During the performance, we first meet Harlequin – a person who is both a persona and an actor, taking on a role which isn’t as readily able to be understood by words alone as he talks in riddles. The performance itself has a casting effect on Mina; wherein her mind re-casts the past through memory and grants her a license of stepping out of sequence of time from those gathered to watch the play. There is hidden magic in this moment – you could sense it, almost feel it by how Nightingale was writing these scenes. And, that is the beauty of Magical Realism stories for me – where you almost do not see the unfolding of the magic itself because you’ve become immersed into the world as if you’ve been a resident of it for a long time.

Their a travelling troupe of performers who affect the lives of those they visit and perform for in different cities within the world of Tarya. And, it is how they affect them that starts to take on a deeper meaning as the story shifts forward. Inasmuch as how much this otherworld they portal inside starts to affect each of them as well. But, without saying too much as I’d like you to have the chance to experience this for yourself – this is part of why this series is a ‘swept away straits’ series for me. It takes so much out of yourself to journey inside this series because your so dearly close to it yourself. Experiencing it all right alongside these characters who feel as if they’re your own travelling companions and you start to question who of them you can trust, too.

Nightingale hints towards the awakenings of this world of Tarya. Where it is not necessarily contained to land but also to dreamscapes and visions. She mentions the Creator too and I had a feeling the mythology and origins of this world was quite a complex part of the story, too. I hungered for more details about how all of this fits together but of course, that would have spoilt the journey through the story! Laughs. I understood now why it was named “Tales of Tarya” as it is through the art of telling stories the world self-evolves and enlarges itself. In that way, I felt it had a kinship with The Neverending Story. And, similar to that story this one has its own fair share of Darkness lingering round the edges. I was intrigued by how Nightingale was going to harness the darker aspects of the world against the Light and what that would mean for the people of this world as much as the story weavers like Mina.

If you want to experience a wickedly exciting Magical Realism and Portal Fantasy series which befits contemplation and rumination throughout your stay within its pages – look no further than picking up The Tales of Tarya and begin your journey with Harlequin’s Riddle.

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In parting, this was the caption of thought I shared via #bookstagram when this response to our challenge was originally shared:

“Part of this novel is Introspective and Philosophical narrative – a credit to the author, for fusing thought-provoking passages which both parlay into the timeline of the story but also, allow the reader to consider and contemplate the deeper themes and subjects she’s embedded into the story. Similar to Shakespeare in that regard, the story itself is layered and has alternative points of view depending on the perspective you have as you enter the novel and the perspective you’ve gained by reading it. I definitely felt she honoured Shakespeare by how she writ this novel and very much tackled his sense of Tragedy and the artfulness of how he chose to use the art of theatre and plays to showcase his observations on humanity.”

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And, what about you?

What did you choose as your own Swept Away Straits?

Did you pick a singular author, book or series?

Or did you focus on multiple authors, stories and series?

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This discussion is part of my showcases during #WyrdAndWonder: Year 7:

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Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 3 May, 2024 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Jorie Loves A Story

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