Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

I adore Chris Riddell and his talent for storytelling and creating the most amazingly gorgeous illustrations. I continue to add his books to my school library but also to my own collection. I shall die poor! Today I have a guest reviewer with her views on his latest book. Hannah is 8 years old and loves his books too and we have neat discussions about his books.  This is a new series and we are already keen for book two. No pressure Chris! Thank you so much Hannah for your review. You did beat me to reading it first.
Three children, three objects, three places that results in to a thrilling story of mysteries and magic. This story has made my imagination fly because of its characters creative thoughts. It’s the most mesmerising book I have ever read because it’s full of surprises. It has taken top place of my Chris Riddell list because it’s a different structure to his other books and I prefer this type of structure. As soon as I opened this book my eyes fell in love with it. You have to read this book.

        “ A magical story awaits your eyes”.

A book review by Hannah H age 8

Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius. His family has been part of the criminal world for years and the time is now right for a major battle with powerful fairies who live underground. And they are angry! Artemis Fowl and his many adventures were hugely popular a wee while ago but I bet that with the release of the movie later this year, these fantasy novels will be back in high demand.

It goes without saying that reading the book first will enhance your viewing of the movie.

Magic, fantasy, adventure, thriller, fight for survival. Everything is included in this series of books. Check out your local library or shout yourself a copy of the book. You won’t be disappointed as it is an excellent read. Or you can read the graphic novel versions of this series too. I still have a signed copy of the original book tucked away safe on my bookshelf. Really looking forward to this movie.

 

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

By Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

ISBN 9780062414465

Bloomsbury 

 

Wow! Just so excited about this soon to be released novel by two awesome authors.

Pan’s Labyrinth has undergone a transformation which has apparently taken ten years to complete but from what I can see and have heard, the wait has been worth it.

The novel is said to be suitably dark and spellbinding, sinister and magical. There will be “trickster fauns, murderous soldiers, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family”. Everything you want in a great novel. There are also a number of beautiful but haunting illustrations to add to the overall quality package. 

I simply cannot wait. I loved the movie although every time I watched it there is one scene where I had to turn away and close my eyes until it is over. Every time!

This is going to be epic. 

The book trailer is very cool.  Counting down the weeks until July when it will be published. 

 

You shouldn’t come in here. You could get lost. It has happened before. I’ll tell you the story one day, if you want to hear it. 

In fairy tales, there are men and there are wolves, there are beasts and dead parents, there are girls and forests. 

Ofelia knows all this, like any young woman with a head full of stories. And she sees right away what the Capitán is, in his immaculate uniform, boots and gloves, smiling: a wolf.

But nothing can prepare her for the fevered reality of the Capitán’s eerie house, in the midst of a dense forest which conceals many things: half-remembered stories of lost babies; renegade resistance fighters hiding from the army; a labyrinth; beasts and fairies.

There is no one to keep Ofelia safe as the labyrinth beckons her into her own story, where the monstrous and the human are inextricable, where myths pulse with living blood …

A place of Stone and darkness

by Chris Mousdale

ISBN9780143773122

Penguin Random House

 

 

Chris Mousdale’s book A place of Stone and Darkness had me hooked right from the start.

It is a stylishly produced hardback novel which crosses a mix of genres. There is fantasy, adventure and mystery all in a wonderfully imagined, dystopian underground world. Chris Mousdale  also illustrates the book and includes maps of the Striggs world, a glossary of their language, and character portraits, as well as a number of gorgeous earthy illustrations.

Deep, deep down underground is the world of the flightless Striggs.  They have lived there for thousands of years after being forced from the surface by savage humans. The Striggs have adapted to life underground but their world is threatened with pollution to its water and members of the flock are becoming ill and dying. While exploring in one of the tunnels Ellee Meddo, finds a human, a Toppa, as they are known, who has fallen through an old unused well. Toppas are known to be dangerous and feared at all costs but this Toppa is young and hurt and Ellee can’t just leave him. With the help of her brother Sidfred, Ellee hides the boy but eventually he is is discovered by other Striggs and that creates friction and more action. One Strigg in particular, Kass, wants to just kill the boy. The action is fast paced, even nail-bitingly at times, so that it was very hard to put the book down. I just wanted to keep reading.

In order for the community to work and survive, the Striggs believe in the mantra; “Be one, be all, be everything”. When the group decide that they must return the boy, to the surface, this mantra becomes more important, especially when faced with danger from other humans. The world of the humans is violent and one of social decay. If the Striggs are discovered by humans it could mean the end of their world. I can tell you, their worlds do collide and the suspense built so quickly I was almost holding my breath wondering what was going to happen next. 

I loved this novel for so many reasons. The fast-paced action, its total believability, its warmth, the friendships, the loyalties and even the subtle messages. Yes, there are messages about our environment, trust, human kindness and taking risks. This is a wonderful read and one that I predict will go far. Great for older readers and with its buff coloured pages is ideal for children with dyslexia.  Loved it!

This would make a good class read aloud and teacher notes can be found here to explore this novel further.

The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic

By Cressida Cowell

ISBN 9781444941425

Hachette Children’s Books

 


I loved the first Wizards of Once book. I’m actually listening to the audio edition for the second time while I wait for the sequel, just released. I love the bright, bold cover which is so appealing. It looks to have the same wonderful features; magic, fantasy, danger, quests, humour and of course, wizards. I just know, this sequel is going to be twice the fun.

As much as Zar and Wish are meant to hate each other, I have a feeling things will change and a growing respect for differences, will be found. 

It is so hard waiting for the next book in a series, sort of like waiting for Christmas. Sometimes I get so excited waiting, that I have to remember that I’m actually an adult and need to be a little patient. Trip to the bookshop very soon.

 

 

This truly impressive book trailer is a collaboration between several groups; students, Duffy Books in Home, Colenso, Bloomsbury Publishers and the New Zealand Book Council.

Statistics show the sad reality that many boys do not read. In an attempt to change these statistics the group have made this fantastic trailer as an incentive to get boys reading. The trailer is based on J. K. Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

Hopefully students, boys in particular, will be inspired to read the book before seeing the movie. The trailer is definitely exciting and certainly a wonderful way to hook readers. I’m completely hooked. I love it. The illustrated edition is one of those special, beautifully bound books that make a wonderful gift that becomes a pleasure to read again and again.

Well done to all involved for this top class production. If you want to read a bit more about the process of  making the trailer you can click here. Or you can click here if you want to listen to Jo Cribb (CEO of NZ Book Council) as she discusses Making bookworms of boys. 

As a school librarian I have regularly seen boys and girls watch book trailers and then look for the books on our shelves. It works!

 

Nevermoor: The trials of Morrigan Crow

By Jessica Townsend

ISBN 9780734418074

Hachette Childrens Books

 

Thoroughly enjoyable read. A wonderful mix of fantasy, and mystery. Lots of very likable characters and some not so likable ones too. We meet young Morrigan Crow shortly before she is supposed to die. Morrigan you see, is cursed and blamed for all the bad things that have happened in her town. Her fate is to die at midnight on Eventide. However, in comes a stranger by the name of Jupiter North who rescues her and takes her to Nevermoor. It is a place few have heard of with all sorts of magical creatures and wonderful characters. Jupiter North has plans for Morrigan, plans she doesn’t understand but there is something special about him that makes Morrigan trust him. So begins her new life in the Hotel Deucalion in Nevermoor.

Morrigan is compelled to particpate in a number of trials in order to become part of a very elite group called the Wondrous Society. Each contestant must have a knack, something that makes them special and will help them in the final trial. In the trials she must compete against 500 others for one of only 9 places. Making the group will allow her to stay in Nevermoor where she is finally making friends and beginning to feel happy.

Morrigan is both strong, yet fearful, funny, yet serious. Most of all she is in need of friends and the belief that someone loves her and believes in her.

There are so many wonderful, quirky characters in this book, not least of all is Fenestra the Magnificat, head of housekeeping, who despite her grumpiness is really kind of cool. There’s Frank the vampire dwarf  but whatever you do, don’t call him a dwarf vampire.

Jessica Townsend has created a delightful magical world, with believable fantastical characters and a mystery that needs solving. Just what is Morrigan’s knack? Morrigan herself, doesn’t even know and the only person who seems to know is Jupiter North and he won’t tell her. A great read and hanging out now for book two. I bought the paperback copy as soon as it was out but if you can get your hands on the hardback that would be even more special.

 

If reading this as a class novel you can find teacher notes here. It would certainly make a good story for a read-aloud or a student bookclub. Loved it!

 

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L’Engle

Loved this book as a child. SO excited it has been made in to a movie. Love the fact that parts of it were filmed right here in New Zealand.

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

 

Copyright for this trailer of course belongs to Disney. Can’t wait for this to come out next year but I do encourage you to read the book first – as always!

Impyrium

By Henry H. Neff

ISBN 9780062392053

HarperCollins Childrens Books

 

This is such a brilliant trailer. I love it! So much time and energy has gone in to this top quality trailer.  This book is definitely on my “must get hold of a copy now” list.

“In the first book of Henry H. Neff’s new high-stakes middle grade fantasy series, two unlikely allies confront a conspiracy that will shake the world of Impyrium to its core.

For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall.

Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them.

One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.”

Look out for this one. I know I will be!

Magrit

By Lee Battersby

Illustrations by Amy Daoud

ISBN 9781925081343

Walker Books Australia

magrit

 

What a treasure! This is a very special and beautifully produced novel for readers from nine up.  Heart-warming, touching and sad all rolled in to a wonderful story where the truth is the hardest of all things to find. Beautifully written, I was hooked from the very first page. I just wanted to take Magrit home with me. I sat in the sun reading this today and just didn’t want to put the book down or do anything else. I had to keep going until I found out how the story ends. So I did just that. Sat and read until I knew Magrit’s truth. While I think this would be great for parents to read to children, I am also inclined to think this is one of those special books that readers will love for themselves and make their own connections to Magrit, Bugrat and the Master Puppet.  I bought this book for the school library where I work and I know it will be a hit – but the thing is – I have to return it to school for others to read but I really don’t want to. I actually want to read it all over again. Hmm – late night coming on!

“Magrit lives in an abandoned cemetery with her friend and advisor, Master Puppet, whom she built from bones and bits of graveyard junk. She is as forgotten as the tiny graveyard world that surrounds her. One night as Magrit and Master Puppet sit atop of their crumbling chapel, a passing stork drops a baby into the graveyard. Defying Master Puppet s demands that the baby be disposed of, and taking no heed of his dire warnings, Magrit decides to raise the baby herself. She gives him a name: Bugrat. Magrit loves Bugrat like a brother, friend and son all rolled into one. But Master Puppet and the newly discovered skeleton girl know all too well what will happen when Bugrat grows up – that the truth about them all will be revealed. Something Magrit refuses to face”

The knot impossible

 4th book in the quartet of A tale of Fontania

By Barbara Else

ISBN 9781776570041

Gecko Press

knot.jpg

While this is the fourth book of tales from Fontania it is like the others, a standalone novel with its own stories. Each book can be read on its own but what does connect the books is the place itself. Fontania is a place of mystery and magic with a bit of mayhem in-between.

The knot impossible is the story of  Rufkin a young boy for whom so much seems to be going wrong.  His complete and utter fear of performing leaves his acting family with no choice but to leave him in the care of the Mccacks, while they tour.

A sense of abandonment weighs heavy on his mind but soon he is drawn in to a great adventure of his own, rescuing a little boy and sailing heavy seas. He meets many characters on this journey, some are good and others downright bad. There are cave-lizards to be avoided and just what is it that is lurking beneath the sea. A little fantasy, a little steampunk and a whole heap of thrills. Rudkin’s biggest problem, is deciding whom to trust! And of course he needs to work this out before “the end-of-days”. This is another great read from author Barbara Else and of course beautifully packaged by Gecko Press. Barbara’s use of language is creative and quirky with its own little idiosyncrasies which adds to the story. It is great to see a character grow and Rufkin does. He finds courage where he least expected to find it so to me  – that is just wonderful.

There is still plenty of summer holiday here in the Southern Hemisphere to find a copy of this book and enjoy reading before school starts up again. A great book for middle grade readers.

I love the supporting map on the inside cover.

An ember in the ashes

by Sabaa Tahir

ISBN 978-1595148032

                                                            20560137

Laia is a slave fighting for her family and all she holds dear set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Rome. Living with her grandparents and older brother, they are poor. They do what is expected of them by the Empire. To challenge the Empire means death. Elias is a soldier who desperately wants his freedom.

“But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”

Do check out the book’s website where there is maps of the Laia’s world, character info and heaps more.

I love the cover of this YA book and the trailers too are very tempting. This is definitely one I will be looking out for.

The iron trial
Book 1 in the Magisterium series
By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Random House
ISBN 9780857532503

What a combination of authors. Best selling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have combined their efforts to create a new magical series for middle grade readers and I have no doubt that this will be a huge success.

“Think you know magic?

Think again.

The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.”

“Most people” does not include Callum, who mistrusts all magicians. In fact he tries desperately to fail so that he doesn’t have to go to the Magisterium but his efforts are in vain. He gets in and so begins a journey of magic, adventure and good versus evil. However, deciding just what is good or evil is half the battle. I love the cover of this book and the wonderful drawings at the start of each chapter. This is going to appeal to readers who love a good story and need a new series to sink their teeth in to and the holidays is the perfect time to start reading.
Click here if you want to read a sample chapter before rushing out to get your own copy.

Dorothy must die
By Danielle Paige

I have always been a fan of fractured fairy tales and the wonderful picture books with a twist in their telling. The same goes for young adult novels with their twists and turns in the retelling or revisiting of traditional fairy tales or famous books. And this I believe will be no exception. Set in the World of Oz, Dorothy somehow managed to return to OZ and took control. No longer sweet and innocent Dorothy has now let power go to her head and no-one is safe.
It may just be up to the other Kansas girl Amy Gumm to save the day. She has been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and trained to fight. She will definitely need those skills! Her mission is to remove the tin man’s heart, steal the scarecrow’s brain and even remove the lion’s courage. But that is not all! Once she has done that she must kill Dorothy. But in the land of Oz not all is as it may seem.
Magic, fantasy, good and evil, a crumbling yellow brick road and of course a good old tornado all together for what I think will be a great YA novel. Just waiting for it to hit the shelves any time soon.

I am so looking forward to this one. I love the way the author has given a nod to Judy Garland, the original Dorothy whose proper name was of course Frances Gumm.

The thickety : a path begins
By J. A. White

ISBN:9780062257246

This is a new fantasy series just perfect for middle grade readers. The cover is eye-catching and the blurb even better.
Kara Westfall and her little brother Taff have been shunned by the people in her village for years, ever since their mother was convicted of the terrible crime of witchcraft. Magic is considered evil and criminal. The villagers live in fear of the forest covering most of the island. A dark, mysterious place they call the Thickety. It is in this forest, that they believe magic and monsters lurk.
A strange bird lures Kara into the Thickety where she discovers a book with powers of its own. It is a book she believes may once have belonged to her mother.
I love the trailer to this book and I really cannot wait for this to hit the shelves. Magic, fantasy, good and evil. What more could you want.