Posts Tagged 'magic'



Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  400

RAC Book:  Yes

2010 Iowa High School Book Award

Jena and her four sisters use a secret portal to sneak into the woods to dance with the magical creatures every full moon.  When Jena’s father gets ill and is sent away to recover, she is left in charge and her cousin Cezar begins to take over.  Cezar believes that women are frail and need to be looked after by men.  As Jena struggles to take care of her sisters, their home, and her father’s business she always has her best friend, Gogu, by her side.  Gogu is a talking frog that only she can hear.  As Cezar becomes frantic trying to control the five sisters, Jena starts to worry that all is not well in the wildwoods either.  Can she protect her sisters and everyone else she cares about from a power hungry dictator?

This fantasy story begins a little slowly as the characters are introduced, but accelerates quickly as the family battles Cezar on a daily basis.  There are some twists and turns along the way, but a few are fairly easy to predict.  The end will leave readers wanting more.  Highly recommended for fantasy lovers.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

Genre: Fantasy

# of Pages:  411 p.

Iowa Teen Award Winner 2010-2011

RAC Book:  No

Conn has been living on the streets getting by picking locks and pickpocketing.  One day Conn pickpockets from a powerful wizard named Nevery and he responds by taking Conn as his apprentice.  In order to be a wizard you have to have a powerful stone called a locus magicalicus and Conn is only allowed 30 days to find his  or else he won’t be allowed by the council to remain an apprentice.  Meanwhile, Nevery has been called back to town in order to help resolve the problem of the declining magic supply.  The levels of magic have drastically gone down and no one knows why.  Magic is used in all aspects of this town and the town would die without it.  Somehow, Conn believes he and Nevery must work together to solve the problem of the missing magic.

This is a fun, light-hearted fantasy story with many interesting characters and plot twists.  Many junior high and upper elementary students will love to step into this world.  It would be fun to do with small groups as well.  Anyone who enjoys Harry Potter will find these delightful.

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  314

RAC Book:  Yes

Whit and Wisty are brother and sister and believed they lived normal teenage lives.  That is until one day when they are arrested and charged with witchcraft.  There is a new government in their world called the New Order and this government is gathering up anyone it feels to be a threat.  Whit’s girlfriend had disappeared shortly before his own arrest.  They are taken to a terrible prison where they have to fight angry dogs for food and get whipped on a regular basis.  Whit and Wisty do not know anything about witchcraft, but when they get upset they do seem to be able to do impossible things such as stop objects in midair and burst into flames.  As they start to come to terms with the fact that they may in fact be a witch and a wizard, they are faced with the sobering fact that they are to be executed for their crimes.

For fantasy lovers this story is a lot of fun.  Whit and Wisty are interesting and well-developed characters who are dealing with a difficult situation that is similar to the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust all at the same time.  They are also concerned with finding their parents who managed to escape getting arrested in the first place.  The beginning of the story definitely grabs the reader’s interest and the crazy events that follow manage to keep it all the way until the ending of this first book in the series, which unfortunately comes too soon.

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

persistance

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 212

RAC Book: Yes

Erin grew up believing she was mentally ill because from time to time she becomes an alter personality, a personality which is extremely violent. Over the years she has visited many hospitals and therapists and is taking multiple medications to try and help her condition. She is very surprised when two friends of hers reveal themselves to be shapeshifters and tell her that she is not Schizophrenic, but in fact many of the hallucinations she has are actual magical things that do exist in this world. The only question is how to convince Erin that she is not crazy and how to stop her alter personality from taking over her mind.

This is a complex fantasy story packed into a short amount of pages. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional as they struggle to figure out the situation and correct it without causing any undue harm to anyone else involved. Although the characters are not entirely human, they are rational and compassionate when they need to be. Fantasy lovers will enjoy following Erin’s story as it is revealed. The ending is a bit abrupt, but definitely worth a read.

Alvor by Laura Bingham

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  13 and up

# of pages:  274 p.

RAC:  Yes

Fifteen-year-old twins Erin and Bain grew up living with their grandfather after their parents died.  One day while walking in the woods, they come across a secluded cabin and decide to enter.  They soon discover that this cabin is a bridge to another magical world.  In this world they each possess a special gift.  In addition to this, they have incredible power and begin training in magic and swordplay in order to live in this new world that has been expecting them for many years.  They love the new world, but do not know if they can leave their grandfather and everything they knew their whole lives in order to be a part of it.  Plus, the new world has some dangers that they do not immediately know about.  In other words, not everyone is happy to see their arrival.

This fantasy story is well written and creates two characters that most readers will be able to connect to in some way.  The story takes a leisurely pace, but the adventure is intriguing enough that most readers will follow.  The story felt original in many ways and did not feel like it repeated elements found in many other fantasy stories.  An impressive fantasy story that I will be introducing my students to.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

 

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  15 and up

# of Pages: 322

Storm Front is not a new release, but has recently come to my attention.   Fantasy fans should be aware of this series that follows a wizard names Harry Dresden.  He lives a difficult life in which he tries to make a living as a wizard while constantly being monitored by the wizarding counsel who are looking for any excuse to destroy him.  In this first installment, Harry becomes involved in two cases at the same time.  One is a housewife simply looking for her husband who has gone missing, but Harry soon finds that there may be some magic involved in this disappearance.  There have also been some gruesome murders involving magic and everyone automatically assumes that he is to blame since he is the only self proclaimed wizard around.  As he tries to clear his name he becomes aware that he is now the killer’s next target.  How can he compete with someone he has yet to identify?

This story is a lot of fun and includes a basic private investigator theme with magic and fantasy creatures.  There are some sophisticated topics and adult language, which readers should be aware of, but most fantasy readers will enjoy it nonetheless for its intricate plot and carefully integrated details.  It is easy to see why this has been a popular series and I’m glad I was introduced to it.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 485 p.

RAC Book: Yes

One night when Clary Fray is at a party with her best friend she sees three strange looking teenagers kill another strange looking teenager. When she realizes that no one but her can see any of them she begins to get confused and looks to her mother for answers. Instead, her mother tells her they must go away for the rest of the summer. Clary runs off after fighting with her mother about this abrupt change in plans and ignores her mother’s repeated messages to come home. When she finally feels ready to talk to her mom she answers her phone to her frantic and scared mother begging her never to return home. After that no one can find a trace of her mother. Now Clary has to discover who her mother really is and what she has been hiding from Clary all these years. She also has to figure out who would take her mother and for what purpose. Is there a way to save her mother or is Clary on her own in a new world with people she never dreamed existed?

This fantasy story is the first in a series. Clary’s story follows many twists and turns as she tries to help find out what happened to her mother. The mysterious teenagers she met at the beginning all help her to understand this new world of shadowhunters, vampires, and werewolves she has just discovered. The ending is satisfying and packs a lot of surprises that will make the reader want to read the second one immediately after finishing. A good read for fantasy lovers.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 328 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Aislinn has a secret that only her grandmother knows and that is that she is able to see faeries. All of the women in her family have always been able to do this and so Aislinn was trained at a young age to pretend like she cannot see them, because if the faeires know they are seen they will torment the human who has that gift. Unfortunately, one day Aislinn notices that two faeries keep following her and becomes alarmed enough to tell her best friend, Seth. Seth tries to help her figure out what the faeries want and how to get them to leave, but of course the problem is much more complicated than they anticipate.

Keenan is the Summer King, but his power has been bound for many, many years. Unless he can fulfill his mission and find the girl destined to rule alongside him he will never get his power back and catastrophic things will happen to everyone in the world, faeries and mortals alike. Standing in his way,is his mother, Beira, who is the Winter Queen. She is a cunning and deceitful villain who will stop at nothing to win.

Fans of any fantasy series such as Twilight will enjoy this book. The plot is unique and original and contains a lot of mystery, action, and adventure. There are many rules in place that the characters have to abide by in order to win, which makes the plot complicated and unpredictable. So far it has already caught the attention of many students and I think will continue to pull in readers as word spreads. A must read for fantasy lovers.


Archives