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Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok.

September 11, 2017 Comments off

WonderlingThe Wonderling by Mira Bartok. Pub. Walker books, 2017.

Every now and then  there is published a book that raises the bar in Children and Young adult literature. This is such a book.

There is nothing new in  characters going through total misery in their quest to find out who they are or in the fact that the strong will dominate the weak. What is unique about this novel is in the superb way in which the story is told and in the richness of the language used.

The character who we learn later as the Wonderling was not always called this. He was abandoned at a young age with the number 13 on a metal disc around his neck which becomes his first name. He is a fox like creature with one ear and only 3 feet tall who is put in The Home for abandoned creatures run by a Dahlesque character Miss Clementine Carbunkle who feels hard done by.

The Home is a Dickensian type establishment where ill treatment of inmates is a daily occurrence. Number 13 barely survives until he saves a kiwi type bird creature named Trinket who masterminds his escape into the wild world to find out his identity.

His task is fraught with danger as he makes his way to Lumentown where danger lurks in every corner. He is driven by a love of music and knows that in music there is the answer to where he comes from. He is determined even when he is forced to hide in the underground city of Gloomintown from which there is no escape. See how he gets on.

Superbly written in three parts with maps and excellent sketches of all the characters. You will feel every emotion as you read this novel, you cannot help but become involved.

For fantasy/adventure readers from primary through to secondary. You will love it.

Bad Mermaids by Sibeal Pounder illus. Jason Cockcroft.

August 13, 2017 Comments off

Bad MermaidsBad Mermaids by Sibeal Pounder illus. Jason Cockcroft. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

You never think of mermaids as being bad, you think of them as sitting on rocks with clam shells over their womanly bits, combing their long blond hair with fish bone combs, and luring unsuspecting sailors with their womanly wiles.

Not in this book for young readers mostly girls aged 7-12 years.

The World of the Hidden Lagoon and Swirley Shell is turned upside down when the top mermaid Arabella Cod is fishnapped. But who by? many mermaids have disappeared and others have been forced to make shell tops and not to leave their cities.

Whats more Ommy Pike now rules the hidden world with vicious piranhas. Help is fortunately at hand. Mermaids Beattie, Mimi and Zelda are mysteriously called back to Swirley Shell while holidaying on land with legs.

When they enter the password of Ihavenolegs they know all is not well as piranhas chase them. They hijack a fast car called a Clamorado 7 and set out to solve the disappearance of Arabella Cod.

Interesting fantasy from the creator of the Witch wars series. Check it out.

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World – The Dark Arts: A Movie Scrapbook.

August 10, 2017 Comments off

dark artsJ.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World – The Dark Arts: A Movie Scrapbook. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This is not a novel rather an expose of Wizarding phenomenon of the Dark Arts as practiced by Voldemort and his disciples in the Harry Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them.

It deals with the spells like the Imperio, the Crucio and the spell that bounced off Harry Potter as a baby and demolished Voldemort but leaving Harry with the z shaped scar on his forehead.

It deals with the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers including my favourite the delicious Bellatrix Lestrange. It tells you about the crucial concept of the Horocrux, the Dementors and those sinister resurrected corpses or Inferi.

It finishes with the Fantastic Beasts as Newt Scamander hunts the Dark Wizard Grindelwald in America.

Excellently illustrated with various objects and information tucked away in envelops throughout the book. Essentially for Harry Potter film fans but can provide a gateway into reading the books or just enjoy on it’s own

The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein.

July 20, 2017 Comments off

city secret riversThe City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein. Pub. Walker Books, 2017.

When you are in the presence of magic never break your word and never, never, never tell a lie. Unfortunately the main character in this fantasy novel for middle school students, Hyacinth, forgets this, and gets into heaps of trouble in the sewers of London.

Hyacinth and her mother come from America to live in London and experienced travelers will know that Americans are obsessed with the bathroom. Plumbing in London is not it’s strongest point and the hot and cold water do not mix the same as in America.

There is a reason for this and it is all to do with magic. Hyacinth borrows a wrench and decides to put the plumbing right and in doing so attracts the attention of the Saltpetre men who kidnap her mother. Who would think that one drop of water could cause so much trouble?

Hyacinth and her neighbour Lady Rosylyn escape into the sewers to stop a great tragedy form happening. The rest you will have to read for yourself. But there are some characters that titillated me, they are the Toshers who live in the sewers and have names like Longface Lucky and Newfangled Troy.

The plot goes along at a rate of knots but readers of fantasy will be enchanted.

Jorie and the Magic Stones by A.H. Richardson.

June 19, 2017 Comments off

JorieJorie and the Magic Stones by A.H. Richardson. Imprint. Serano Press Washburn Tennessee, 2015.

This is a fantasy story for children between 8-12 years. It has dragons, a magic book, a cat that can talk and a girl hero with hair of fire and bright green eyes.

Her name is Jorie and she is not aware of her heritage until she goes to stay with her aunt Letty in a big house with a tarn or deep glacial lake within view of the house. On her first night in the house she finds an old book which tells a history that she is going to become involved with.

Like all good fantasy stories there is a fantasy land called Cabrynthius that was once ruled by Maalog Doonan through the power of three magic stones. The stones are now missing  but it has been prophesised that a Child with Hair of Fire will return to find the stones and restore the balance of power in Cabrynthius.

In the interim period a baddy called Fodomalk from the neighbouring land of Shyloxia who can turn into a dragon is seeking the stones to enhance his own power.

It is down to Jorie and her friend Rufus to find the stones and defeat the baddies.

Written in short chapters in a lofty writing style, this novel is for the gifted reader.

I read it to my granddaughters and they related well to Jorie. Great cover.

 

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts. Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods by Craig Phillips

April 12, 2017 Comments off

giants trollsGiants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts. Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods by Craig Phillips. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

The telling of stories of myths and legends was the reason the storyteller had the best seat by the fire. Here are ten myths legends and fairy tales from nine different cultures that talk about all the mythical creatures mentioned in the title.

Most of the stories you will know already although there was one I hadn’t heard of and it is a beauty. From Sweden is The Boy Who Was Never Afraid. He goes looking for his cow that was stolen by a an old Troll. Who hasn’t? he can’t afford to be afraid and after confronting bravely some formidable opponents he gets his cow back and becomes a hero at the same time. Brilliant.

You get Irish giant Finn  McCool, Russian with Baba Yaga and Momotaro the peach boy plus others. You can’t beat that.

What makes these tales more accessible than they were before is the fact they are written in wide screen comic book illustrations that bring life to the tales. Visual readers will really get into these and so they should.

Less than 30 bucks will get you this impressive book that will appeal to reluctant readers and good readers alike. High boy appeal.

Moa by James Davidson

April 4, 2017 Comments off

moaMoa by James Davidson. Pub. Earths End, 2017.

A comic book story in 5 parts concerning two Moa Rangers Possum von Tempsky and Kiwi Pukupuku. Both ride Moas and are sort of watchdogs cum cultural police cum super heroes who wander round NZ’s bush and seashore sorting out the bad dudes including tough looking pigs, stags and lizards. All the local population are kiwis.

Their adventures fringe onto Maori legends including Hatupatu and the Birdwoman and of course Maui. There is a story of the largest Kauri tree that bushmen want to cut down. Everytime they try it is restored again as it is protected by a Mauri stone.

The last story which is not finished is a serial story concerning the theft of Maui’s magic jaw bone by Otto who wants to use it to fish for his own land and conquer the World. You will need to get the next part to find out how it ends.

Comic book illustrations with speech bubbles from the characters. Lots of action and tongue in cheek humour without offending the cultural aspects.

Another example of the changing way Maori legends and culture are proceeding to appeal to modern kids. I like the movement.