Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy novels’

The Wizards of Once

By Cressida Cowell

ISBN 9781444939576

 

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

The cover alone of this magical book just beg you to pick it up and turn it over and hold it close. Purple, blues, blacks and white and the rustic and fiery title stand out and immediately you just know this is going to be a good book. And it is good book. A very good book.

Cressida Cowell long known for her wonderful How to train your dragon series has come up with another wonderful series. Her illustrations are both comical and dark. Some make you smile, others have a haunting quality to them making you just a little afraid (or a lot!).

The story grabs your right from the prologue.

Once there was Magic. It was a long, long time ago, in a British Isles so old it did not know it was the British Isles yet, and the Magic lived in the dark forests.

So the setting is already becoming pictures in our head. We know we are going into a dark and scary place where anything is possible.

When Xar and Wish meet they immediately hate each other and very much distrust each other but suddenly they are forced to work together for there is evil happening. Witches have returned and witches are bad, dangerous and to be feared. This book has it all. Magic, fantasy, pace, danger, adventure and humour to remind the reader they are actually safe even though the world they are reading about seems so real and scary.

Xar is arrogant, a little selfish but also a little sad and flawed which is why we can’t help but like him. His father shows only disappointment towards him as his magic has not started as is expected of a boy his age. Wish is a warrior but lacks any warrior-like standard her mother Queen Sychorax demands so is also a disappointment. It is a shared sadness at not being quite good enough that Xar and Wish have in common. Both have something to prove and it is this connection that draws them together despite their hate for each other and the different worlds they come from.

There are many other characters involved as both Xar and Wish each have their own companions. I do particularly love Squeezjoos a little hairy fairy belonging to Xar. He is funny and brave and in danger mostly, which is part of the whole adventure, trying to save Squeezjoos life.

This is a really good read which has been beautifully produced. Large text size, lots of illustrations to break up the text and lots of little bits in between like the Spelling book pages. The map of the Warrior Empire and Wizard Wildwoods is also a wonderful treat. I do love a book with maps as they add so much and help me build pictures in my mind as I travel with the characters.

Great fantasy novel for readers aged nine up. Can’t wait for the next book – really can’t wait!

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Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone

By J. K. Rowling

Illustrated by Jim Kay

ISBN9781408845646

Bloomsbury

 

9781408845646

First thing this morning I picked up my copy of this book and I have done nothing else but paw over the pages. Wow! Double wow! It is simply awesome. This is the same wonderful, magical story we know and love but vividly illustrated in how I can only describe, as stunning. It is beautifully packaged in hardback and the end pages alone are so hauntingly beautiful that it took me ages to turn to the next page, as I was totally mesmerized by the art work.

The pages depicting Diagon Alley are just perfect with their crooked and disheveled  shops. I so want to go shopping there and walk the same streets.

Harry’s loneliness is captured so vividly that you can’t help but be moved by his total vulnerability. Love it. Draws you right in to Harry’s world.

It is a beautiful spring day here in Christchurch, New Zealand with temperatures heading towards 27 degrees C. I need to get in to my garden but I really can not move. I just want to sit here and read this over and over. It really is a stunning book and one that I am sure will not only fly off shop shelves but it will become a firm favourite and a treasured and much-loved book for so many readers.

For those who already love Harry, Hermione and Ron, this is gorgeous. For those who have yet to meet Harry, this is the way to do it. Hop on board the Hogwarts train to a magical world of make-believe.

Jim Kay discusses his pictures here.

The impossible quest

Escape from Wolfhaven Castle

By Kate Forsyth

Scholastic ISBN 9781743624067

After a dreadful attack on Wolfhaven Castle, there are only four who manage to escape. It will be up toTom, Elanor, Sebastion and Quinn to save their people but danger is all around. Their mission is to find four magical mythical beasts but the task is not an easy one. Nowhere is safe and they are the most unlikely of heroes. Will they escape, will they find the beasts? This is the first book out of five in a new fantasy series.

Fast paced and perfect for middle grade readers.

Click to visit the Impossible Quest site and find out more info and have some fun.

 

The luck uglies
By Paul Durham

ISBN 9780007526901

Eleven year old Rye O’Chanter has seen much in her short life. She has grown up in Village Drowning’s treacherous streets and forgotten cemeteries. But on the night of the Black Moon Rye becomes convinced that the terrible Bog Noblins have returned from the forest Beyond the Shale. Bog Noblins are supposed to be extinct so how can Rye convince people that they are wrong and that danger is everywhere. Who will protect them from the creatures.
And what of the stranger named Harmless who encourages Rye to question everything she knows. Rye is confronted with secrets she must unravel but danger lurks and it just may take a villain to save the village from monsters.
This is book one in a new trilogy which I have just bought for school.
I do love the trailer with its mixed media. Great appeal for middle grade readers who will be intrigued by the trailer. I may just have to fight the students to read it first!