Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

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.

 

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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.

Spark
Book 1 Kindled
By Ginger Malacko

Nathan Christopher Coville has pretty much just died. He misses his family, especially his little brother and even his home town. Instead of Heaven, Nathan finds himself deep underground in an invisible world. A world full of guardian angels, and demons. His own mentor has deep dark secrets which create even more dangers for Nathan.
But even more dangerous is the threat to his own home town. Suddenly it is up to Nathan to be brave enough to save his home town and all the people living there.
This debut novel from Ginger Malacko is aimed at middle grade readers.
If you are wanting to read about “magical miracles and destroying demons with fireballs” then this just might be what you are looking for.
If you can’t wait until this book is available do take the opportunity to read the first page here.

The bone season
By Samantha Shannon

This is one of those crossover books that sits neatly on the adult fiction shelves but for many mature YA readers this will also be one to read and enjoy.

It is the year 2059 and Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London. It is part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. Paige scouts for information by breaking into other people’s minds. She is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
Paige is caught and arrested and encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. The creatures want the voyants for soldiers in their army. Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper who must train her and keep her safe but who is also her natural enemy. In order to regain her freedom Paige must risk everything.

This is the first book in what is proposed to be a seven book deal. (Not sure I want to hook into a series that long as I’m not very patient waiting for books to be written especially if they are good but will find out after I’ve read the first one which has had great reviews and a great trailer).

The glass puzzle
By Christine Brodien-Jones
ISBN13: 9780385742979
Due for publication next week.

The cover of this book appealed to me even before I saw the trailer so already it is on my want to read list.
Fantasy, adventure, three kids, and a secret portal leading both ways. Good can get out but evil can get in. And just what or who are those half-human, half-creatures after. The discovery of a glass puzzle unleashes ancient forces that could destroy everything and everyone. Can eleven year old Zoe and her cousin save the day! I sure hope!

The flame in the mist

By Kit Grindstaff

I stumbled upon this trailer and love it. Within minutes of watching it I was reserving the book at my local library.  This trailer has a haunting quality to it which is fitting considering the story involves  a few ghosts.

There’s evil-a coming from up on the hill
If the Mist doesn’t get you, the Agromonds will.

—From an old Anglavian rhyme”

The land of Anglavia is shrouded in a  sinister mist created by the cruel rulers; the Agromond family. They control everything and everyone. On the night before her 13th birthday, Jemma, a girl with fiery red hair realizes she is not who she thinks she is. This realization changes everything. Ghosts, an ancient prophecy and a mysterious book all lead Jemma on a dangerous journey. The Agromonds however, have their own agenda – one which could have fatal consequences. Jemma and her  friend Digby, as well as her two telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie must fight for survival against all manner of enemies to defeat evil and find out the secrets of her true identity. Sounds like a good fast paced fantasy, supernatural novel and one I await with eager anticipation.

I love the music and the haunting, taunting voices in this very well produced trailer. The reviews I have read are all five out of five stars.