Fantasy

Jan 18, 2021

The Gilded Wolves​ by Roshani Chokshi is the story of a unique and talented group of teenagers and the eclectic leader who holds them together. The characters are already a seasoned group of treasure hunters by the time the story begins, but the mission that the book sends them on is an important one. The acquisition of this ancient artifact has the power to alter each of their individual lives for the better. The story is set in 1889 Paris and Chokshi takes full advantage of the lush setting, with prose that paints a picture of a world as beautiful as it is harsh. The characters and their

Jan 13, 2021

There is a breakout from Azkaban! Sirius Black is on the loose, and he is trying to find Harry Potter, for Black was a supporter of the Dark Lord. Sirius Black is also known for killing thirteen people with a single curse. Because of Harry Potter’s defeat against the Dark Lord, there was a downfall for all the dark wizards, including Sirius Black. Azkaban guards heard Sirius Black saying “He’s at Hogwarts...He’s at Hogwarts,” which happens to be the place Harry studies at. Even though Harry is protected by spells and Professor Dumbledore, he is not safe. Read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of

Jan 9, 2021

The Silvered Serpents ​is Roshani Chokshi’s brilliant follow up to ​The Gilded Wolves​. It picks up with the characters grappling with the extreme loss they face at the end of ​The Gilded Wolves​. Fractured and confused, they go on one final, all important, mission. Matching the story’s darker tone is a setting shift from Paris to Russia, an icy world that is once more beautifully illustrated by Chokshi’s prose. My problems with this book are essentially the same as with ​The Gilded Wolves​. First, the character ages do not at all align with how mature they feel. The author really should have

Jan 7, 2021

Marvel Fairy Tales​ is a graphic novel compilation of several different stories written and illustrated by C.B. Cebulski, Claire Wendling, and many others. I loved the idea of this book and was excited to see my favorite Marvel characters transported into some of my favorite fantasy worlds, but I was disappointed by the execution. There is no character or plot development; the stories all have a great beginning, but there’s no build-up to their climaxes; all of the stories suddenly end and feel almost incomplete. Despite the lack of story development, the illustrations were phenomenal, and I

Dec 31, 2020

The Cup and The Prince was a largely enjoyable read that featured charming characters, an amazing world, and a strong plot. The idea of winning a competition under false pretense was really interesting.


The plot immediately separated itself from other titles because of the pretense. Since Zora technically lied to compete for the Blood Cup, she's put into a more precarious position than other characters. She must keep her reasoning a secret from other characters, causing tension. Being tied to all three royal characters was also a good choice because it showed the contrast in each of Zora’s

Dec 23, 2020

A Wizard of Earthsea​ by Ursula K Le. Guin is the classic tale of how Ged, a young wizard, comes into his powers and repairs the mistakes of his youth, restoring balance to the land of Earthsea. Along the way he attends a school of magic, battles a dragon, and faces true evil. I really wanted to love this book. It’s high fantasy with a cult following and I wanted it to capture my heart the way that it has for so many people over the years. But ​A Wizard of Earthsea ​is unlike any other fantasy that I have ever read in that it isn’t very heavily plotted and there isn’t a ton of detail. All of

Dec 18, 2020

Beatrice Clayborn is a young, powerful sorceress secretly practicing magic in a patriarchal world that doesn’t allow women the freedom of sorcery. Beatrice’s greatest dream is to become a Mage, but her family is relying on her to secure an advantageous marriage in order to avoid financial ruin. There’s only one problem with this — once married, she will be locked into a collar that will cut off her magical powers to protect the children she will inevitably bear. While scouring the bookshops of Bendelton, Beatrice discovers a grimoire that could help her become a Mage, but she is swindled out

Dec 14, 2020

After her mother dies in a car accident, 16-year-old Bree Matthews enters an Early College program at UNC-Chapel Hill. During her first night on campus, she witnesses a demon attack — one that she shouldn’t be able to see. When a mage’s attempt to erase her memory backfires, her own magical powers are awakened and she uncovers an erased memory from the night of her mother’s death. With the help of her peer mentor, Nick, Bree infiltrates the Order of the Round Table, a secret organization consisting of descendants of King Arthur and his knights, as she believes they may have something to do

Dec 11, 2020

The Tower of Nero ​is the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series. It follows the Greek god Apollo turned mortal Lester Papadopoulos, as he continues his quest to restore the power of the prophecy, take down the power-hungry Roman emperors, and regain his seat on Mount Olympus. I haven't loved the Trials of Apollo series as much as other Rick Riordan series, but this book was truly excellent. With plenty of cameos and appearances from other beloved characters, this book left me feeling incredibly nostalgic. However, Rick Riordan’s classic humor also shined throughout the

Dec 4, 2020

The Night Country is the chilling sequel to Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood. After returning to New York City from the Hinterland, Alice, an ex-Story, attempts to live a normal, human life. Even though Hinterland citizens are still trickling into New York, Alice vows to leave her past behind. However, she quickly learns that escaping the Hinterland was far from the end — Hinterland characters are being slaughtered, one after another. Something sinister lies behind the murders, and Alice is running out of time to find the killer. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Can you hear the hidden clock?


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Nov 30, 2020

Lira has seventeen hearts in her bedroom. As a siren, she kills a human prince and takes his heart every year on her birthday. By doing so, she proves that she will be strong enough to take over her mother’s throne and become queen one day. However, after Lira disobeys her mother, she is punished by being transformed into a human — one of the creatures she hates the most. To win back her mother’s favor, Lira must claim the heart of Prince Elian, an infamous siren-killer and the heir to the most powerful kingdom in the land. Yet, as they set off on a quest to find an ancient artifact with the

Cover photo of the book Wench

Wench

3
Rated by
Nov 23, 2020

Wench was a promising title that ultimately fell short for me. I loved the idea of following a tavern wench as she tried to get back her tavern and found it was really interesting. I was also pleasantly surprised by the role magic played in the story. However, the book ultimately failed to please me. Tanya was the only character who had a real arc. Other characters felt unimportant and under-developed. They had very little backstory and served no purpose beyond helping Tanya. They didn’t feel like real people. Relationships also suffered. Most of the relationships Tanya has by the end of the

Nov 9, 2020

Harry Potter thinks he is just a normal ten-year old boy living at his uncle and aunt’s house. Harry thinks that his life is terrible, but what he does not know is that his life is about to get a whole lot more interesting. Harry finds out he is a wizard! When he goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he becomes friends with Ron and Hermione. The Sorcerer’s Stone is moved, which gives the wizard immortality. The Dark Lord is trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter is trying to protect it. Will Harry defeat Voldemort, and save the Wizarding World, or will he fail?

Aug 27, 2020

A Court of Thorns and Roses​ is the first installment in an ongoing book series by Manhattan author, Sarah J. Maas. It was first published in 2015. The series has four published books, with another, ​A Court of Silver Flames​ , expected to publish in January 2021. ​A Court of Thorns and Roses​ is a retelling of ​Beauty and the Beast ​ with a very dark twist. Nineteen-year-old Feyre’s world is split in two. The immortal faeries to the north are deadly and vicious, while mortals have their own sort of cruelty. The only thing separating the two races is The Wall, an impenetrable force built

Outrun the Wind

By Elizabeth Tammi
4
Rated by Anne G
Jul 22, 2020

"Ugly words don't always mean ugly feelings."
― Elizabeth Tammi, Outrun the Wind


Elizabeth Tammi shows that she is a talented writer with this story about the Greek myth Atalanta. I enjoyed that this book addresses the harsh realities of Ancient Greek womanhood while also giving the women of steel protagonists a happy ending. There is not any shaming of women who are not as physically capable as the strong female Atalanta, which was a breath of fresh air. It is definitely a slow burn romance about Greek gods and goddesses, but the ending is worth it. If you grew up reading books about

The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale
5
Rated by Anne G
Jul 10, 2020

“... If we don't tell strange stories, when something strange happens we won't believe it.”
― Shannon Hale, The Goose Girl


The Goose Girl is a nice Grimm fairy-tale inspired piece of fiction. The fantasy fiction is well written, and quite creative in its own way. I stayed up all night reading this leisurely paced book. This is absorbing, exciting, and has a descriptive writing style. It is a slow moving tale at first, and some might be tempted to stop reading in the opening chapters where we are introduced to the excessively timid Princess Ani. Ani is a girl taken from her position as

The Undefeated

By Una McCormack
4
Rated by Anne G
Jun 24, 2020

In The Undefeated we have a lovely novella with a leisurely pace by Una McCormack. This space opera is an introspective reminiscent view of a sixty-year-old's life. The novella blends science fiction life on other planets, colonialism's rise and fall, and an eerie near-apocalyptic setting.
The science fiction novella in the far future in which a woman travels to her childhood home as war looms between humans and modified humans called "jenjers" that humans have enslaved. Much of the story is the protagonist Monica and her homecoming.  I enjoyed the lyrical writing style and the journey

Akata Witch

By Nnedi Okorafor
5
Rated by admin
Jun 9, 2020

“Lesson one,” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard.”
― Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch


This young-adult culturally diverse fantasy, set within the modern times, centers on Sunny Nwazue, an adolescent born to Nigerian parents in the United States. A couple of years before our story begins, Sunny's family moved back to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where our primary woman of steel currently lives with them just outside a tiny town. Sunny “confuse[s] people,” she explains in her own voice, not only thanks

Apr 24, 2020

As the daughter of the duke, Ekata was born into a world of cut-throat politics and tenuous alliances. Unlike her siblings, though, all she wants to do is escape and study the life sciences she finds so fascinating. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances throw her into the thick of the court politics she has tried all her life to avoid. She must learn quickly how to navigate her situation and hold her head high if she wants to retain her position- and her life. I love the political intrigue throughout the book. It's not something that I've found done in a compelling way in many YA books, but

Apr 17, 2020

Shortly before the library closed due to the novel coronavirus, my co-worker, Adam, loaned me a set with all five of the original Planet of the Apes films - three of which are currently in the Johnson County Library collection, and two of which are available to stream from home on IndieFlix. This pentalogy (five!) of films includes Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). I really only had plans to watch the first film, and maybe try out

The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson
5
Rated by admin
Mar 4, 2020

 


Ah, the one and only Brandon Sanderson. If you are a fan of high fantasy you are probably familiar with his works and can reminisce on the first Sanderson book you experienced. I say experienced- not read- because working the way through a Sanderson novel alongside his characters is an adventure. I started digging into Sanderson’s works with the Mistborn trilogy, which I highly recommend. The trilogy is a great introduction to Brandon Sanderson’s works as it is shorter, but still provides that intricate worldbuilding and thought provoking storytelling for which he is so well known. Since

Three Hands for Scorpio

By Andre Norton
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     Three Hands for Scorpio is the last adult book for young adults of Lifetime Grand Master of Fantasy, Andre Norton, who passed away on March 17, 2005 after a long and extremely fruitful career.  Her magically detailed world-building skills, upright, against-all-odds characters, and fast pace will be sorely missed.  Tor rushed a copy of this book of women-of-steel into print, so that the 93-year-old author could see it before she died.  It is the last manuscript she penned alone, and has an action-packed storyline.  I have read most of Ms. Norton's books, and especially enjoyed her women

Deerskin

By Robin McKinley
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     You know, sometimes you just need some escapist fantasy about self-discovery in women.  McKinley's seventeen-year-old girl Lissar was just the ticket for me last night. Deesrkin is a beautiful, haunting, and sometimes painful coming-of-age story that ends with a message of hope.  The first half of the fantasy fiction is really about the traumatic aftermath of a violent assault and rape by the heroine's own father.  These dark themes are handled appropriately, realistically, and with great compassion but they do make for some hard reading in the gateway fantasy.   


     If you have any

Dealing With Dragons

By Wrede, Patricia
5
Rated by admin
Feb 21, 2020

"Well I'm not a proper princess then!" Cimorene snapped. "I make cherries jubilee and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs-- or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!”


I have slowly been making my way through a long list of fantasy fiction books I have wanted to read or reread.  Dealing with Dragons is one of those re-read upbeat books; possibly it was “the” book that honestly got me hooked on reading. 


I cannot sing enough praises about this fast-paced book, in particular for its excellently written main character.  This is one of the best “fractured fairy

The Secret Hour

By Scott Westerfeld
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     The Secret Hour has a very imaginative paranormal premise, and it was enjoyable to read; I finished this book for reluctant readers in two sittings.  I love the idea of a hidden hour after midnight where only a select few can visit, and the continuing threads of mystery and “what’s going on?” kept me reading this urban fantasy.  The characters are not all best buddies, but are unique individuals with their own motivations which are shown in the fast pace.


     The premise is original and interesting with a compelling writing style.  It is definitely written with a young adult audience

Feb 4, 2020

If you like romance, space, and getting back at greedy T.V. companies while saving NASA- this story is for you. The protagonist is witty, sarcastic, and likable, the side characters complex, and the plot is compelling. What more could you want? Stamper creates a story that revolves around very human experiences: the compulsion to fix what you love (even if it’s not your job), the rush of young love, sticking up for yourself and others in the face of opposition, and a love of space travel. Hard to imagine a better book.

Jan 13, 2020

Once a generation in the aquatic village of Varenia, when the prince of Ilara-a nearby kindgom-comes of age, the most beautiful girl of age is chosen to marry the prince. Nor and Zadie, two twins, and the most beautiful girls in Varenia, have been hounded by their mother for their entire lives to maintain their beauty, as she does not want to pass up the chance to have a princess as a daughter. Due to an accident years prior to this "choosing," Nor saves Zadie's life in an accident and receives a small scar, and her hopes of setting foot on land are destroyed... Until Zadie is injured, leaving

Middlegame

By Seanan McGuire
4
Rated by Heather C
Dec 18, 2019

I am not one that is normally drawn to the fantasy genre.  I mean, sure, I read all of the Harry Potter books (because they were fantastic!).  I am a huge fan of the Xanth series and don't even get me started with the Incarnations of Immortality series (if you haven't read that series, I highly highly recommend it) but I find myself drawn more to thrillers or mysteries or anything with vampires and witches.  So, with that being said, I love how this book drew me in from the get go.  


Just the blurb on the jacket alone got me excited to read this book:


Meet Roger.  Skilled with words

Trickster's Choice

By Tamora Pierce
5
Rated by Anne G
Dec 11, 2019

     I previously read Trickster's Choice with courageous teenage girls a little over a decade ago, and I wanted to revisit it.  I had forgotten just how easy it is to get drawn into Aly’s adventures which cause her to become a slave as a girl, and I am so glad to have revisited because it was similar to visiting with an old friend.  This is the story of Alianne Cooper, who wants to be a girl spy, and is the daughter of Spymaster Cooper and the famous Lioness of Tortall and champion of the throne.  Certainly Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite writers in this genre, and Alianne (Aly) stands

Dec 9, 2019

Not unlike Disney's "Mulan", Rain, daughter of a Neshu grandmaster and a Neshu fighter herself, is unwilling to let her twin brother and father leave to fight in the war. Especially because when she'd been little, she and her brother had fallen sick, and Rain was accidentally given the medicine reserved for the family's only son- leaving her brother with slight cognitive scars. Certain that her brother won't return from the battlefield, Rain disguises herself as a man and goes in his place, making every move to remain undiscovered including taking a powder to hide her monthly bleed. Many of