Archive for the 'Fantasy' Category



Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages: 391

RAC:  Yes

Nora is paired with Patch in science class and always feels a bit uncomfortable around him, especially since he seems to turn up wherever she is.  The more time she spends with him, however, the more drawn she feels to him.  Her best friend and the school counselor warn her he is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted, but she cannot help but feel like she is in fact safe with him.  Meanwhile, another new boy has come to her school, Elliot, and he is determined to befriend her.  While Nora’s best friend thinks Elliot is wonderful Nora cannot help feel like something is a bit sinister with him.  After a series of bizarre events in which Nora either hallucinated or someone is purposefully messing with her, she must decide which boy would be taunting her with dangerous situations.  Is her life actually in danger and why?

This story is yet another fallen angel romance, but somehow still finds a way to be unique and interesting.  Patch and Elliot both have reasons to hurt Nora, yet they both seem genuine at times when they want to befriend her.  While Nora’s mother is absent for an enormous part of the book and her best friend seems to make the worst choices ever, Nora seems to take things in stride despite the fact that she finds herself in severe danger over and over.  The ending provides some answers, but there is still a lot readers will want to know as this fantasy romance unfolds.  Fans of Unearthly, Fallen,  and Halo will enjoy this title as well.

The Road to Dendura by C.L. Lewis

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  261

RAC Book:  Yes

Creed Griffon goes to a private school where students occasionally go missing.  After  a girl who tends to bully Creed she goes missing, he is immediately a suspect due to the altercation they were overheard having prior to her disappearance.  Meanwhile, Creed keeps having disturbing dreams that slowly start bleeding into his real life.  He comes to find out he is much more involved with the paranormal activities at his school than he could have ever realized and it might be up to him to save the missing students.  The more he learns, however, the more danger he finds himself in.  Can he find out what he needs to in order to survive?  Can he clear his name even as evidence mounts against him in the disappearance of the girl at school?

Fantasy fans will love this book, especially ones who like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.  The story moves quickly and engages young readers from the beginning.  A few of the plot details seem a bit murky at first, but clarify as Creed begins to learn more about his school and his personal situation.  The characterizations develop as the story goes on and readers begin to care what happens to them.  All in all, a nice fantasy read that should have no problem finding an audience.

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  306

RAC:  Yes

Alison wakes up in a psychiatric facility with no memory of how she got there.  She has always had the special ability to see colors and taste words, but her mother always told her to hide this for fear of mental illness.  A new doctor tells Alison he believes she has synesthesia, which means she has a heightened sense of all five senses and is considered a real medical condition.  She learns she confessed to killing a friend, but the body has not been recovered and she has no recollection of actually killing her.  As her new doctor tries to help her, Alison comes to find out there is a lot she does not know about him.  Can she ever find out what happened to her friend?  Can she ever prove she is not a danger to society so that she can be free again?

The beginning of this story grabs the reader right from page one.  The story takes many unexpected twists and turns and the eventual explanation of what happened to Alison’s friend will take many readers by surprise.  The synesthesia is an unusual condition that will intrigue readers since it is a real condition that does not signify mental illness.  Fans of mystery, fantasy, and realistic fiction will all find themselves engrossed in this captivating story.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance

# of Pages:  484

RAC Book:  Yes

Bethany, Gabriel, and Ivy are all angels who have been sent on a mission to watch over a small town.  Gabriel and Ivy have participated in several missions on earth, but this is Bethany’s first one.  As such, Gabriel is very concerned that she is not ready to live among the humans.  Bethany does have some trouble adjusting to simple human tasks such as eating and grooming because these tasks do not exist in heaven.  When she meets a boy at school she instantly feels an attraction.  While she tries to hide from her feelings, Bethany cannot stay away from Xavier and he begins to fall for her as well.  She has been warned repeatedly that an angel and a human dating can lead to disastrous results, but she cannot help herself.  The only problem is that she does not want to mislead him.  Can she tell Xavier who she really is?  Will he accept her?  Can she stay focused on the evil forces around her that are her mission to stop?

This angel romance story has become extremely popular among high school girls who enjoyed Twilight, Fallen, and Shiver.  The threat towards the couple seems a bit predictable at times, but will entice young readers nonetheless.  The story is definitely unique compared to other similar stories on the market right now.  Bethany’s sweet demeanor and strength to go after a love she knows is special will keep readers begging to know more about what happens to Bethany and Xavier.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

Genre:  Science Fiction

323 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Thomas is back in the third and final installment of The Maze Runner series.  Thomas begins in solitary confinement where he is tortured for several weeks before he is told what the final plan for WICKED will be.  He is reunited with the friends that are still alive, but the organization wants to give them their memories back and he believes this is somehow a trap.  He refuses and must escape with Minho and Newt.  Once they escape to the real world they find that the Flare is much more advanced than they realized and worry that it will be impossible to find a cure in time to save mankind.  When WICKED informs Thomas he must turn himself in for one final test in order to save the human race he reluctantly agrees, but what is he agreeing to?

Much like the rest of this series, there are many twists and turns and no easy answers.  The characters act with bravery and fear to help them navigate these difficult situations.  Readers will learn more about the truth behind WICKED’s evil plans, but not everything is revealed and that is okay because readers know enough to piece together what happened before the series began.  The ending is believable, acceptable, and satisfying without going over the top.  The finale of this trilogy is so strong is makes the first two novels even stronger, which is a feat in itself.

White Cat by Holly Black

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Cassel lives in a world where magic is possible, but illegal and not everyone is capable of doing it.  He is the only member of his family who cannot perform some type of magic.  He currently goes to a private boarding school to try and get away from his crazy family, but that is all jeopardized when he mysteriously sleepwalks onto the roof of the dorm and is mistakenly believed to be a suicide risk.  Years prior to this incident Cassel believes he killed his best friend although the memory is a bit hazy.  Now, he is having weird visions about a white cat and sleepwalking and he starts to wonder if his family is telling him the truth about what happened that fateful night years before.  Would his family use their powers on him?  Can he find out the truth before it is too late?

Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book partly because it is so unique.  It is not the same book we’ve all read a thousand times, but instead brings a new and modern twist to the magic and fantasy genre.  Cassel’s family all have real and understandable motivations, but that does not mean they all make the correct choices all the time.  Cassel is faced with some hard truths as he learns the facts and must decide how he will proceed.  The book is entertaining and engaging and will keep readers asking for more.

Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  326

RAC:  Yes

Michael Vey has known his entire life that he’s special.  He can somehow conduct electricity through his body and it sometimes shocks people that he touches.  Due to this abnormality, his mother has done many things to protect him including moving to another state and working a dead end job.  She pleads with him to never reveal this strange power for fear of persecution, even though he is constantly bullied at school.  One day as he is getting bullied his emotions take over and he zaps the bullies.  His actions are witnessed by a  cheerleader and  he is shocked by her reaction.  He is even more shocked when he finds out that there are others like him and there is a menacing force trying to gather them all together.  Can he keep himself and his mother safe?  Can he protect himself against the forces that want to find him and use him for their own gains?

This story was interesting and reminded me of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Witch and Wizard series based on content and writing style.  Michael has tried to hide his gift his entire life, even as his life continues to get worse.  When he finally embraces his power he finally realizes that he does not need to be the victim anymore.  Michael’s friend, Ostin, is an important member of the story as he helps Michael realize his true gifts.  The story is exciting, dramatic, and menacing.  Fans of fantasy or science fiction will not be able to wait for the next installment.

The Vision by Jen Nadol

**Special Review**

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  229

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to The Mark, Cassie is now living in a new place with a roommate and trying to make it on her own.  She has the ability to see marks that mean a person is going to die soon.  She has found that if she intervenes it can save a person’s life, but she does not know if it has any negative affects and decides to find out more about her gift.  One way she studies death is by working at a funeral home and studying the different ways people handle death.   When her roommate informs her of a girl at a nearby mental ward, Cassie begins to wonder if they in fact share the same gift.   When she goes to meet with the girl she sees a mysterious boy from her class and begins to wonder about his intentions and motivations.  As the two get closer she learns that he may have more to teach her than she thought.  Can she trust this mysterious boy, Zander?  Are there others out there like her?

Cassie’s gift creates an interesting premise for a book and there are many worthwhile situations that help her better understand how her gift can affect people.  One great example is when the father of a classmate dies.  There are a few mentions of her past from the first book that may confuse some readers if they have not read it, but the new characters in this book prove to be engaging.  The relationship dynamic between Cassie and Zander changes with every revelation they learn about each other, but it is still unclear what their ultimate relationship will be like.  Fans of supernatural and fantasy will enjoy the story, but will probably want to start with the first in the series.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  435

RAC Book:  Yes

Clara knows she is part angel, but she is still startled when she begins getting visions for her calling or mission.  The mission requires her family to move from California to a remote town in the mountains.  She believes her purpose is to save a teenage boy from a forest fire, but she has a lot of training to do in order to succeed with her mission. She also finds herself growing closer to someone who does not have anything to do with her purpose and her mother hints that she could be in a lot of trouble if she loses focus and fails to prepare for her calling.  What will happen if she cannot find her inner strength to complete the duties she must as a quarter angel?

This story has caught a lot of attention in my media center and high school girls are loving it.  The story does grab the reader’s attention at the beginning and the buildup to Clara’s calling is appropriate and well paced.  The ending leaves a lot of questions and in some ways does not measure up to the buildup, but readers will want the next one that much more.  Recommended for fans of The Fallen.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  458

RAC:  Yes

Benny has grown up in a world where there is a constant threat of zombies.  When he was very small his mother and father were killed by zombies and in his eyes his older brother, Tom, did nothing to save them.  Tom has now become a famous zombie hunter, but Benny thinks he is a coward who ran away from danger when he should have stepped up.  Benny is of age to find a job and cannot seem to find his niche.  He is forced to work with Tom in order to earn his food rations and what he sees on Tom’s hunts surprise and horrify him.  The world of zombies is not as simple as he once believed.  Can Benny make peace with his brother and find his own way in this world of fear and survival?

Fans of zombie books will devour this story.  It has the thrill and excitement of the zombie attacks, but also the heart and truth of life under these conditions.  The characters are multi-dimensional and easy to identify with while this difficult society batters them in more ways than one.  The relationship of Tom and Benny is especially special as the two of them begin to move forward while also facing the past that initially tore them apart.  Highly recommended for fantasy lovers.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  440

RAC Book:  Yes

John came here when his planet was destroyed.  Eight others came with him and were separated to keep them safe.  There was a spell placed on them so that they must die in a particular order, but John knows that the three before him have been found and killed.  Therefore, he must move with his guardian to a new place, with a new identity, and extra precautions.  He is the next one to be targeted by those who wish to destroy his people.  At his new school he meets Sarah who seems different than other girls he has ever met.  Can he risk getting too close to her when his life is in jeopardy and his future on this planet is uncertain?  Can he act like a normal teenager when so much is at stake?

This fast paced novel keeps the reader interested from the first page.  There are some lighter parts as well as more action packed sections that balance the story and make it seem plausible in some way.  The characters are engaging and their actions are believable.  Fans of fantasy will enjoy the threat from other worlds, but realistic readers will enjoy the action and suspense.  Overall, a fun read.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  310

RAC Book:  Yes

2011 Iowa High School Award Winner

Mary loses her parents to the “unconsecrated” or zombies who live outside the fences of her village.  Her brother blames her for their deaths and turns her out of their home.  Mary is forced to go live with the nuns who control everything in the village.  Despite her hardships, Mary cannot help but think of life outside the village.  She dreams of seeing the ocean and skyscrapers, but everyone around her focuses on keeping the “unconsecrated” out every minute of every day.  To make matters worse, the boy she loves has asked another to marry him.  Can Mary find a place in this village?  Can she ever learn to be happy?  Or will she have to escape and risk her chances against the zombies?

This zombie story is engaging from the beginning and will keep readers guessing until the end.  The middle lags a bit in places, but readers will want to know what happens to these characters.  The characters and the village setting are written so accurately that anyone can imagine what it would be like to live in constant fear of zombies at your doorstep.  The rules of this life are finite and unforgiving, which is why Mary struggles to find a place here.  Fans of Rot and Ruin will enjoy this one as well.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Genre:  Fantasy/Fairy Tale

# of Pages 304

RAC Book:  Yes

2011 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Kyle Kingsbury is attractive, popular, and rich.  He is also a major jerk who loves to hurt other people.  When he decides to play a cruel trick on an outcast at school he is punished by getting transformed into a beast.  He has two years to find true love in order to be changed back into his handsome self and Kyle believes that is an impossible task.  His father does not even want to be around him because he is too horrified by his appearance and Kyle is sent to live by himself with a maid and a blind tutor.  Despite the hopelessness of the situation, Kyle begins to thrive and change.  So much so that when he finally comes in contact with a girl again he feels he might be able to love her…if only she could love him back.

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is modern and old fashioned at the same time.  The story of Kyle and Lindy is heartwarming and hopeful so that the reader naturally wants them to get together and break the spell.  Readers will notice some symbolism with the roses and some of the character traits.  The characters are well developed and interesting to read about and many readers will enjoy the story, but especially those that enjoy books like Once Upon a Marigold.

Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  359

RAC Book:  Yes

Digger lives as a thief and a spy, but when her partner is killed by the King’s police she must go into hiding so that she does not meet the same fate.  She becomes Celyn, a lady-in-waiting, to a family that is going to a remote castle for the winter.  Digger believes this will be the perfect getaway from the city, but when she gets there finds that one of the guests, Lord Daul, knows her true identity and threatens to reveal it unless she becomes a spy for him.  As Celyn begins snooping around the castle looking for clues she finds much more than she expected and must decide whom she should trust.

Starcrossed begins a bit slow and will frustrate some fantasy readers because fantasy elements are not as prominent as they are in some other books.  However, the plot in this story carries many twists and turns that will keep readers wanting to know more about the people who have come together in this castle for the winter.  Celyn, Lady Merista, and many other characters continue to grow and develop until it seems like the reader actually knows them.  Fans of Graceling will want to check this one out.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  390

RAC Book:  Yes

Chloe Saunders believes she can see ghosts.  After a particularly traumatic experience, she is sent to live in a home for troubled teens.  She is diagnosed with Schizophrenia and even though she does not believe this to be true, she goes along with the therapy in the hopes that she will be released soon.  As she gets to know others who live in the house she realizes that they all seem to be hiding secrets as well.  When her roommate is taken away to a hospital and then later visits her as a ghost, Chloe gets concerned that she may not be safe in this house and tries to find a way out.

Fantasy lovers will devour this story.  It is fast paced and the characters are intriguing.  Nothing is as it first appears and there are many unexpected twists, including a surprising ending that readers will love.  Many questions are left unanswered, but there are two sequels as Chloe’s story continues.  At first glance, this seems like a story that is very similar to many others in the YA market right now, but the ending provided some unexpected surprises.  Recommended for fantasy readers.


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