Question for those who have read the Carousel books

Before I ask the question, I shall Issue a Warning.  To wit:


This is the only Warning that will be issued.  Thank you for your attention.

Off in Another Part of the Internet, someone has observed that the Carousel books are to Urban Fantasy as Cozy Mysteries are to Hardboiled Detective.  They further wonder if there is a subgenre of Cozy Fantasy, which I believe there is not, though I’m willing be proved wrong.

Most importantly, however, is the request for More Like This from other authors — which is to say, now that he has finished the Carousel books he would like to read more books like them — and asks for titles.

Now, I’m derned if I know of anything just exactly like the Carousel books — I was trying for a Certain Deliberate Effect, and I think I pretty much hit it (in case there was any doubt, I’m rather proud of the Carousel books).  I could offer a list of anti-Carousel books, by which I mean those books that the Carousel books were written to. . .refute.  But, with the exception of maybe deLint, sorta-sometimes, I’m coming up blank on the “if-you-liked-this-then-you’ll-like-that.”

So! for those who have read at least two of the Carousel books (those being, in order of publication and event: Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, and Carousel Seas) — can you help a fellow reader out with authors/titles/subgenres?


31 thoughts on “Question for those who have read the Carousel books”

  1. I’ve read all three Carousel titles twice, and I have to say I think they are pretty unique. (and splendid, lets not forget splendid!) I personally like Wen Spencer in more or less the same way I like Sharon Lee books, but I wouldn’t say they were the same. Though I must admit I am having trouble wrapping my head around the notion of Cosy Fantasy, and applying it to the Carousel trilogy. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  2. Yep, I read a lot! Nothing quite like the Carousel series is out there! Maybe the Guardians of Destiny series and the Sons of Destiny series, etc. from Jean Johnson, though they are more Fantasy Romance, ie. VERY Steamy! On second thought, the stuff from Sherwood Smith comes way closer! Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft series is also in the running. For fun and enjoyment the Lawrence Watt-Evans’ Legends of Ethshar series starting with the Misenchanted Swords are a hoot! Jim Butcher does the we are on Earth thing and do magic, but much darker, I could go on far a long time and get no closer! None have the Bill Cosby instead of Eddie Murphy feel, if you get what I mean, while still being present day earth based! The Myth, and Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin are funny but not even close to the same!

  3. I remember this subject coming up on #scifichat one week on twitter. Several folk mentioned small press or self-published titles – none of which I can remember because this was several years ago and I have read a ridiculous number of books since. (NB Cozy defined as 1) no/little blood, 2) amateur detective – may or may not be linked with a professional detective.)

    That being said, I think the closest to the Carousel books are the Tanya Huff books that start with the ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM.

    There are a bunch of urban fantasy/mystery but they’re a little grittier than yours.

    Charlaine Harris’ Harper Conelly series that starts with GRAVE SIGHT? Maybe?

    Actually I am not sure I’d call your Carousel books cozies. There a healthy dose of suspense in them. Really healthy dose.
    Note – I have not read the 3rd yet.

  4. Off the top of my head, Charles deLint is almost, but not quite, the same. I would add CE Murphy’s Urban Shaman books to the *almost*. Hmmm, “Cozy Fantasy,” I like that. Sadly I haven’t run across anything else *quite* like the Carousel books. I keep looking because I lovelovelove the Carousel books!!

  5. Sharon, although I don’t think there is anything else like your work, which I love, the reader might enjoy the October Daye books and Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. Those are the only ones that come to mind and are not, of course, an exact match. Good luck on the list.

  6. Bad news: there are no books I consider on a par with the Carousel Books, of which I have read 2.5 about a dozen times (counting each separately 🙂 ). I have been able to get my wife to read and enjoy these books – that is unique among my fantasy reads.

    Books I enjoy for similar reasons:
    R.L. Naquin’s series that started with Monster in my Closet.
    Mary Janice Davidson’s series that started with Undead and Unwed. It loses its way after a while IMHO.
    Some of Thorne Smith’s books. Perhaps Nightlife of the Gods is the closest match.
    Manning Cole’s ghost stories, available as reprints from Rue Morgue Press (most of Cole’s are spy stories; the ghost stories are Brief Candles, Happy Returns, Come and Go, The Far Traveller)

    Not as similar, but similar in tone and field and enjoyable are Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.

  7. i agree they are pretty much in a class by themselves and I don’t think it is cozy exactly, and I agree with Lauretta about Tanya Huff. There is also a taste of Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, and some of Wen Spencer. I have read two of the three.

  8. I’ve read 1 full Carousel book, & some of the short stories.
    I’d go with the Mercy Thompson & the spin off “Alpha and Omega” as having some similarity. The next (after, yes, Mr. DeLint) would be… mostly kids books; Diana Wynne Jones. And Thorne Smith is perhaps a long ago influence on you, I adore his “paranormal” things, there is crazed stuff, and marvelous, lengthy, obscurely worded torrents of words describing so many things so delightfully.
    The late Charlotte McLeod did at least two books that might fall into the category, as steps off the beaten path of her more classic “cozy mysteries”; these are “Curse of the Giant Hogweed” and “The Grub-and-Stakers House a Haunt”.

  9. I second the nominations for Tanya Huff and Wen Spencer. Michelle West’s Elantra series is less cosy, but has some similar feel. As does Kelly McCullough’s Broken Blade series. The similarities comes more from the idea of someone having a rightful role and learning how to cope with it than the intimate setting. They both also have a nice sense of humor.

  10. I agree with everyone else that the Carousel books are unique, but I also think that there are some books that have a similar tone, or perhaps a style of storytelling that is nearly as mesmerizing. I loved Tanya Huff’s “Keeper Chronicles” for example, because they had a cozy tone to them, and I also felt that some of Mary Stewart’s latter works had the same tone to them. Also, Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde trilogy was similar in the way the story is told. Oh, and Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarborough’s Petabee series is very similar in storytelling to the Carousel series. Come to think of it, so is McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer series.

  11. I second the October Daye books, although for me the similarity is more about the characters. I also agree about Tanya Huff.

    I don’t think they necessarily fit into a sub genre now, although they may be the harbingers of a new one. Urban fantasy seems to be becoming a bit less urban lately.

  12. Barbara Ashford, Spellcast and Spellcrossed. I loved both of them. It is set in a small Vermont community theater with some very big secrets. A New Yorker finds herself drawn there after her life in the Big City falls to pieces, along with assorted other lost souls, who all receive parts they “need” in a performance of Carousel. I don’t want to say too much more, because it was so much fun uncovering the mysteries. If you like musical theater, that will definitely add to the charm of the books.

  13. You might try Ilona Andrews new one “Clean Sweep”. I think she’s working on a second in the series. I would call “Clean Sweep” a “cosy fantasy” type, although it works with beings from other planets, not other dimensions. Still has the “must not let the normal humans know” aspect, while dealing with several different types of otherworld beings.

  14. Nobody mentioned Barnburner and Gunshy? Not so much on magic but does have a strong likable protagonist. If you liked Kate you’ll probably like Jennifer, too. I certainly did.

  15. I think James Hetley’s Stonefort books (Dragon’s Eye, Dragon’s Tooth, etc.) might be a good fit for people who liked the Carousel books.

  16. I’ve read two of the Carousels. Yes, cozy fantasy really does exist – take a look at Debora Geary’s witches, or Mercedes Lackey’s Luna books. No, cozy fantasy doesn’t have to have a detective – that’s a cozy mystery! And yes, that is the Tommy Hambledon Manning Coles who wrote those.

  17. I’d have to go with Anne Bishop’s Others series (Murder of Crows, can’t remember the other one). They’re on my cozy reading/comfy shelf along with the Carousel books and everything else by Sharon and Steve.

  18. Several of the Robin Hobb series have a very strong earth magic componant – specifically “The Forest Mage Trilogy”. I agree that Petabee series and Chrystal Singer are also. That said, each series and world is unique as is the Carouse series.

  19. Linkmeister: as Lacey said, yes, same Manning Coles. The ruemorguepress has the first several of the series. For others: “Drink to Yesterday” is WWI era, darkest of the Hambledon series, and the most realistic. Later ones lighten up more; “With Intent to Deceive” is post WWII and introduces us to Forgan and Campbell, a delightful pair of bit players that will remind one of some trenvay, and who recur from time to time in later books.

  20. I would recommend Ilona Andrew’s Edge series– action with a touch of romance, which I think fits with the Carousel books. Also Barbara Hendee’s Mist-Torn Witches, which I hope she does more of.

  21. I’m not actually a big fantasy reader, but I remember a wonderful series I read while in college. The first book was Mythago Wood. I really don’t remember the details (I must look the book up again), but my reaction to those books reminds me of my reaction to the Carousel books.

  22. Having just finished the trilogy, I want more, more, more. Did someone upthread say there were Archer’s Beach short stories available? where can I find them?

  23. Two short stories — “Emancipated Child,” and “How Nathan Archer came to be a Prince in the Land of the Flowers,” are collected in echapbook Surfside, available at Smashwords, BN, Amazon, Apple &c.

    A third short story, “The Gift of Music,” can be read for free at the Baen site:

  24. Seanan McGuire’s InCrypted series is, in my opinion very like the Carousel books -based in family traditions and duties, respectful of different types of fantastical creatures, about protection and balance, lighter, fun, etc. While I also enjoy her October Daye books, I find them much darker and grittier in tone. (I have to take a deep breath and mentally prepared for painful journeys with a Daye book- whereas I look forward with having my heart lightened by the InCrypted and Carousel series). Books that make you smile and laugh are a good thing.

  25. My ultimate cozy fantasy book recommendation is Mercedes Lackey’s The Fire Rose, closely followed by the kids’-but-joyful-for-adults book Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede. I am interested by the claim that the Carousel series is cozy.. For me it was kind of unsettlingly creepy like a good horror novel! And very similar in flavor to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Witchlight series.

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