Posts Tagged 'magic'



Fire by Kristin Cashore

fire

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  461

RAC:  Yes

In this companion to Graceling, Fire is half human and half monster.  She is amazingly beautiful and has the ability to control people’s minds, but due to the horrible things her father had done she chooses not to use her abilities and often covers her multi-colored hair.  She lives in a remote area with her best friend, Archer.  The Kingdom Fire lives in is in great turmoil as other kings are trying to take control of King Nash’s land.  After offering a warning Fire sensed to Nash’s mother he extends an invitation for her to come to the castle and help him identify other possible threats.   Fire chooses to go to the castle even though she is terrified of how people will react to her after the heinous deeds her father committed because she believes she must help save the kingdom she has grown to love.  As time goes on, however, it appears that whoever is out to get the king also wants her.  Can she save them all from certain destruction?

Fans of Graceling have enjoyed this title since its release and it has been named an Iowa Award Winner for 2013-2014.  Fire’s story is compelling as she struggles against a reputation she did not earn simply because of who her father is.  She is surrounded by strong, open minded people who yearn to overcome their bias of her, which is refreshing.  The plot is fast paced and involved an elaborate plot that most readers will not figure out too early.  The ending is very satisfying.  Recommended.

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.

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.

Legacies by Mercedes Lackey

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  308

RAC Book:  Yes

Spirit must attend the boarding school Oakhurst Academy when her family is unexpectedly killed in a car accident.  Upon arrival Spirit is notified that she is a legacy at the school, which means that one or both of her parents attended this school.  The school is a boarding school for orphans who have magical abilities.  Despite the assurance she has magical abilities, Spirit cannot seem to find any affinity to any magical gifts.  As the school year progresses, students start disappearing and Spirit and her friends take on the task of finding out who or what is causing these disappearances.

For fantasy fans, this story will be a page turner.  The character development does not seem as developed as in other popular fantasy series, like Harry Potter, and there is virtually no involvement of adults so it is unclear who actually knows what is going on with the mysterious disappearances.  The mystery itself is interesting, but there are many unanswered questions regarding Spirit’s past and her actual magical abilities.  Recommended for serious fantasy fans.

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  292

RAC Book:  Yes

Tamsin was proclaimed to be the most powerful witch in her family at her birth, but by her eighth birthday no gifts had appeared and the family believed she was without any powers.  When Tamsin is 17 she is working at her family’s magic shop when a bumbling English professor comes in to ask for her help in finding a lost item.  He mistakenly believes she is her talented older sister and she lets him because she wants to prove she is useful to the family.  She finds his object, but learns he did not tell her the truth about his intentions and she may have unwittingly put her entire family in danger.  Can she find a way to save her family?  Can she find the power within herself that she was predicted to have?

Fans of fantasy stories will enjoy this one as Tamsin and her many magical family members struggle through this attack on their family.  Time traveling, spells, and potions are all present and used in a unique way.  There are a few times when the plot seems a bit cumbersome and confusing, but fantasy readers will power through.  The ending leaves some questions, but most will find it satisfying.

Jinx by Meg Cabot

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  254

RAC Book:  Yes

Jean or “Jinx” as she is called has a habit of finding bad luck wherever she goes.  Due to this bad luck, she moves in with her Aunt’s family in New York City in order to escape from a tough situation back home in Iowa.  When Jinx arrives she is hoping to bond with her cousin, Tory, like they used to when they were younger.  However, the Tory she remembers is gone and has been replaced by a magic obsessed goth girl who believes she is a witch and wants Jinx to join her coven.  Jinx has bad feelings about playing with magic, for reasons which are revealed later, and refuses.  Tory becomes enraged and begins to wage a war against Jinx so that she will be humiliated and will return home.  It does not help matters that Jinx hits it off with Tory’s neighbor, whom Tory also has a crush on.  Can Jinx convince Tory to leave black magic alone before it hurts her or someone she loves?

Jinx’s story of moving to New York City and trying to fit into a new family, school, and atmosphere will interest teen readers.  She tries to do the right thing even when she knows it will bring her bad luck or cause her to get into trouble.  The characters in the story are fun and endearing, but Tory’s plot to control Jinx gets way out of hand and might startle some readers.  All in all, a light fantasy read that Meg Cabot readers will enjoy.

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.


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