Posts Tagged 'Fantasy'

The Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Number of Pages: 258

Bridget and her mom were both huge fans of RM Haldon’s fantasy series. They were frequently read it together before her mom died. After her mom’s death, Bridget corrected something Haldon said at a book signing and he asked her to be his assistant to help him keep track of the many details embedded in the books. She created a big database to keep track of characters, weapons, etc. They mostly corresponded through email, but then one day the emails change and become more cryptic. She begins to suspect Haldon is in danger, but no one believes she works for him or even knows him. He is a known recluse and the police think she is just a crazed fan. Can she crack the code of his emails in order to find the truth? Can she find anyone to believe her before it’s too late?

Fans of April Henry and Stephen King will enjoy this title because it brings all the suspense and drama that Henry usually brings with a little bit of Misery for a more modern audience. The story moves quickly between Haldon and Bridget as the story unfolds. The ending is satisfying as there isn’t a quick, neat ending, but instead is messy and believable. Recommended for reluctant readers who want a quick, fast paced mystery.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Genre: Fantasy

Number of Pages: 418

Deka has been dreading her purity ceremony for her entire life since she has always felt like an outsider. A purity ceremony is when a village tests the blood of all girls who have turned 16 to see what color it is. If a girl’s blood turns red, she is welcomed into the community, but if it doesn’t she is considered unnatural and put to death. On the fateful day, some monsters attack the villagers at the ceremony and Deka steps up to help, but in doing so shows that she has the ability to communicate with them. One of her friends, horrified by what he saw, stabs her to see what color her blood is and it runs gold. She is then tortured for weeks while they figure out what to do with her, but then a mysterious woman comes and offers her the chance to come with her and fight with girls just like her against a powerful foe of the kingdom. This may be her only chance to escape a life of torture and regret. Does she have the strength to fight for a people that would hate her based on the color of her blood? Can she find a way to get to the truth of who she really is?

Deka’s story is engaging from the beginning as it is so easy to identify with a girl who just wants to fit in and make her father proud. Unfortunately, things are not that easy and instead she faces pain, both physical and emotional, as she watches everyone she ever loved turn against her. The history of these magical people, or Alaki, takes awhile to be revealed, but in the process Deka learns a lot about the many girls who came before her and the sacrifices they made. The ending is especially satisfying as it is revealed who she can really trust and who has betrayed her. Fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Grace and Fury will enjoy this title.

The Dreamsinger by Edward Myers

Genre: Fantasy

Number of Pages: 201

This unique fantasy story revolves around a world where music contains power and is therefore controlled by the Masters. Allu is musically talented, however, and is invited by the Masters to train on how to properly yield its power. Allu meets a young man named Ned and everything changes as she realizes just how unjust their society is and how little control most people have over their own lives. Together, they begin a dangerous adventure in order to try and free everyone from the confines the Masters have set for them. Can they succeed in freeing the power of Music from the Masters? Will they be able to flee the long grasp the Masters have on the region?

This story is fun and exciting right from the beginning and readers will enjoy the interesting take on music being the source of all power. Allu and Ned are properly fleshed out so that it is obvious to see what their motivations and weaknesses are as they embark on such a dangerous mission and readers will want to know what happens to them on this journey. Recommended for male and female readers as well as fans of fantasy, adventure, and reluctant readers.

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Genre: Fantasy

Number of Pages: 376 p.

Anouk was created by a witch who uses her as a maid and refuses to let her outside the house they live in. She calls her a “beastie” because Anouk was originally an animal. She is not the only “beastie”, however, as the witch has also created several others who perform other functions around the house. Anouk has always been relatively happy, even though she is severely punished whenever she makes the witch mad, but she knows her fellow beasties are not so happy. When Anouk discovers the witch murdered in her bedroom she knows she and the others will be blamed so they go on a quest to try and find another spell to keep them human, but they only have three days before the original spell fades and they become animals once again. Can they find a way to stay human? Can they find out who killed their master?

This fantasy story is full of suspense and adventure as Anouk and her siblings strive to clear their names and stay human. Along the way they meet several interesting creatures, but not all of their intentions are pure and it’s difficult for them to know who they can trust. The author does a nice job of introducing the reader to this fantasy world and it’s easy to see this is only the beginning. The first in a series, this is recommended for fans of the Cassandra Clare novels.

Prom Nights From Hell by Meg Cabot and others

Genre: Short Stories/Fantasy

Reading Level: Ages 14 and up

# of Pages: 304 p.

RAC Book: Yes

This book contains all fantasy short stories written about prom nights. The authors who contributed stories are all ones young adult readers should know from their other books. These authors include Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, and Lauren Myracle. The stories focus on prom night in different ways, but put a new spin on it by including various other fantasy elements such as the grim reaper, dark magic, and vampires. One of the stories, “The Corsage,” is a retelling of the famous story “The Monkey’s Paw” which may or may not be interesting to students who are familiar with this story. As someone who does know the story, it seemed a bit predictable and uninteresting. The other stories had many original elements and should intrigue any readers who are fans of the Twilight series or Wicked Lovely. Readers looking for fluff stories on prom night will be disappointed, however. Fantasy readers will like it, but will want more from these characters.

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 548 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Iowa High School 2008 Award Winner

Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are living in the year 1895 struggling with their families, boarding school, and of course the magical realms they discovered in A Great and Terrible Beauty. Gemma is responsible for the magic she released at that time and must find a way to bind it all together so that not just anyone can abuse the magic. Gemma knows she will need help along the way, but it is unclear who she can trust. Miss McCleethy, their new art teacher, seems very interested in Gemma and her secrets, but Gemma is not sure if she can trust her. Miss Moore, the teacher Gemma got fired in the last book, surfaces again and Gemma wonders if she is the one who is supposed to guide her into the realms. Finally, Pippa, the girls’ former friend and schoolmate is now trapped in the realms and seems to be the same, but Gemma is not so sure she has not been corrupted.

In addition to all of their worrying about the magical realms, there are other issues at hand as well including Gemma’s father’s addiction to opium, a prospective suitor, and Ann’s lack of family during the holidays. Bray does a nice job of balancing life in the late 19th century with the fantasy world they often visit. The problems of both worlds seem equally alarming and disastrous. Bray moves the story into a much more exciting path than the previous book as Gemma, Felicity, and Ann try to control the magic they set free in that book. The characters, both secondary and primary, develop a lot more in this book so that the reader can understand more about their backgrounds and motivations throughout the story. A page turner for fantasy readers, much more compelling than the first book.


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