fantasy

Princess in a white dress holding a mask

Aurelia

By Osterlund, Anne
4
Rated by Anne G
Oct 3, 2022

I can't believe I waited so long to read this teenage romance. This is a fantastic high fantasy about a teenage girl, but you can tell this is the author's debut book. I have confidence Osterlund will do wonderful things with the rest of this trilogy. I had a great time reading the fast-paced story. I want to see what she can do with the romantic tone when she has a little time under her belt.


I adore the character Aurelia. She is the type of woman of steel I always imagined a princess would be. Her blended family situation came across cleanly, with just a little violence.


I had a tough

Back of a princess as she moves through the castle garden

Entwined

By Wallwork, Heather Dixon
4
Rated by Anne G
Sep 6, 2022

Entwined is a fairy-tale inspired fiction of the story The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It's a suspenseful retelling. If I'm honest, the folktale that inspired this fantasy fiction was never been one of my favorites. This author manages to take a rather thin story and turn it into something interesting with a hero that is a strong woman of steel! This atmospheric version is my favorite retelling.


 


As an added bonus, the romantic tone does not bore you to death describing scenery. The castle is as luscious as the cover art, but unlike other versions, it is not the main character. This was

A Wish in the Dark book cover

A Wish in the Dark

By Christina Soontornvat
5
Rated by Kristen Re.
May 11, 2022

“Those who are born in darkness always return.”


 


A Wish in the Dark meshes fantasy and adventure, set in a place similar to Thailand.  The journey begins for Pong, an orphan who was born in Namwon Prison, when he makes his escape when he’s 12-years- old.  The next four years Pong lives in a temple with monks, which is in a village outside the city of Chattana.  Father Cham becomes his father figure and mentor.  He teaches Pong about trusting himself and how to navigate his new freedom.


The Governor of Chattana powers the city with magic orbs that give light, heat, and power.  Who

Cover of NETTLE & BONE by T. Kingfisher

Nettle & Bone

By T. Kingfisher
4
Rated by Gregg W.
Apr 26, 2022

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a quick look at a new title that hits the shelves of the publishing world.


A long time ago in a land far away, three princesses lived in a small kingdom. The oldest princess married the handsome prince of a neighboring kingdom. However, the princess soon died under mysterious circumstances. So the handsome prince married the second princess, to further cement the alliance. The third princess was sent off to live the rest of her live in a convent, forbidden to marry and possibly produce an heir. This third princess

Superman and the Authority

Superman and the Authority

By Grant Morrison, Mikel Janín, Jordie Bellaire, and others
4
Rated by Josh N.
Mar 25, 2022

This is Grant Morrison’s superhero swan song, as they bow out of writing DC and Marvel superheroes after decades of producing some of the weirdest, most colorful, most imaginative mainstream comics. Superman and the Authority makes a good finale for their time with DC. An aging Superman, his powers waning as he gets older, his idealism tempered somewhat by a sense of practicality, assembles a group of younger, edgier supers (including one of his biggest detractors, the villain/anti-hero Manchester Black) to help him save the world in ways the Justice League would probably avoid.


Superman is

Mar 18, 2022

I have not loved a book this much in a very, very long time. I have to be careful about saying that though because it immediately sets the bar at an almost impossible level. This book landed in my hands at exactly the right time. It was the first book I’d been able to read read (as opposed to listen to on audio) since having a baby. With my daughter finally sleeping through the night and in her own room, I was once again able to curl up with a book in bed and let my not-quite-as-sleep deprived brain travel to another place.


This book immediately brought up the same emotions I felt while

Cover for The Once and Future Witches with floral background

The Once and Future Witches

By Alix E. Harrow
5
Rated by Tiffany R
Dec 15, 2021

“Witchcraft isn’t one thing but many things, all the ways and words women have found to wreak their wills on the world.”


“A witch is just a woman who wants too much”.


The Once and Future Witches is a deftly told historical feminist fantasy novel about three sister witches who help bring witching back into the world. The story unfolds alongside the late 1800s suffragette movement, and the women's movement soon turns into the witch's movement as the ways of witching slowly spread through town, and women reclaim the power they lost to time.


The novel is rich with historical details but

Nov 30, 2021

Welcome to #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a brief look at a new title that's hitting the shelves - and patrons' holds lists - at your library.


I always love spotlighting fantasy novels, however it can sometimes be a difficult thing, as fantasy novels often come in a series, so patrons rarely want to jump in to the third book in a series if they haven't read the first two yet, but in this particular case, the series is so strong, I might have to make an exception. Or, better yet, point you toward the FIRST book in the series to get you set up for the latest installment. Today markes the

Covers of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy-The first has a stag, the second, a sea dragon, and the third a phoenix.

Shadow and Bone Trilogy

By Leigh Bardugo
5
Rated by Tiffany R
Apr 26, 2021

Shadow and Bone, a TV adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's bestselling fantasy trilogy of the same name, launches on Netflix, April 23rd. Some are calling the show the next Game of Thrones. A huge GoT fan, I knew I had to read the books before the TV series hit the airwaves because let's face it, the books are always better than the show. 


I managed to read the entire trilogy in a month and have moved on to Bardugo's Six of Crows duology that follows. Needless to say, I'm a fan. Bardugo has created a captivating universe set in what feels like the Russia of long ago but with magic. In Shadow and

Apr 20, 2021

Baked beans, bog mutants and interdimensional travel are the ingredients in this hilarious middle grade debut novel by John Cusik. 


I listened to the audio version of the book, which I highly recommend.  The narrator, Gary Furlong, does a remarkable job of giving life to the full cast of strange and quirky characters with the added bonus of doing so with a British RP accent. 


The story begins in the 21st century.  Lola Ray, a typical, responsible older sister, is looking forward to a vacation away from the annoyances and hassles of her everyday life.  However, at the airport something

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 Anne G
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 to

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 Megan K.
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 Anne G
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

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

The Assassins of Tamurin

By S. D. Tower
4
Rated by Anne G
Nov 1, 2019

     The Assassins of Tamurin is on my top ten favorite adult books for young adults list.  I read this Asian-influenced fantasy for the first time nearly 15 years ago, and I have probably read it at least that many times since.  The Canadian author made me fall in love with the characters, even the characters I think I hate.  Everyone in this fantasy fiction is detailed, alive, and real.


          This culturally diverse book has an engaging story line and a lovable strong female lead character.  When I re-read this I thought it was too good to be a first effort; the story flows along

Just Ella

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
4
Rated by Anne G
Oct 21, 2019

                “Why did everyone like that story so much when it wasn’t true?  Why was everyone so eager to believe it?  Was it because, in real life, ever after’s generally stink?”


Just Ella, a book for reluctant readers, is a retelling of Cinderella, and it is about a girl named Ella who has already won her freedom from her stepmother at the ball and moved into the palace.  But training to become a princess is not what Ella thought it would be like in this fairy- tale and folklore-inspired fiction.  While being constantly told to act like a “proper lady” by an evil decorum instructor and

A Hero Born

By Jin Yong
5
Rated by Andrew P
Oct 11, 2019

Touted as a Chinese Lord of the Rings, Jin Yong's A Hero Born, makes it's debut English translation. This story follows Guo Jing who was born during the Song empire. After his father, a Song Patriot, is murdered, he is taken up into the Mongolian steppes. There he is raised in Genghis Kahn's army before meeting The Seven Heroes of the South who tell him he is fated to fight in a competition to determine who is the greatest master. Filled with historical intrigue and epic kung fu battles, A Hero Born will delight fans of Wuxia stories like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 8 diagram pole fighter

Scarlet

By Marissa Meyer
5
Rated by Megan K.
Oct 8, 2019

The second book in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, is a take on the well known tale of Little Red Riding Hood. The main character and namesake of this second installment of The Lunar Chronicles is Scarlet, a farm girl on the outskirts of a small French town. Caution: some unintentional spoilers may be in the full review.

Kill the Farm Boy

By Delilah S. Dawson
3
Rated by Hilary S.
Sep 27, 2019

First, I must admit that I picked Kill the Farm Boy solely on its cover. I had no familiarity with either author before, nor had I read any reviews. I thought it looked like a fun and easy read, and that was exactly what I was in the mood for, so I tried it out. It is a lighthearted fantasy, packed in humor. But it's the type and quality of humor that makes this either a "love it" or "hate it" for many readers: poop jokes (lots of them), raunchy sex jokes and innuendo (lots of those, too). The idea is a good one - take the typical fairy tale trope and turn it on it's head by introducing

Jul 17, 2019

There is a lot of music in the world. But have you ever thought about the music that is set in space? Here are a few space concept albums that fit perfectly into our summer reading theme, A Universe of Stories.


Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


This space-inspired concept album features the Arctic Monkeys as the lounge band on the moon. It blew my mind to realize they are playing the Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino as the lounge band. Give this one a few listens to appreciate the nuance and lyrics. I especially enjoy the thought of putting a taqueria on the roof and

Flight Vol. 6

By Edited by Kazu Kibuishi
4
Rated by Megan K.
Jul 17, 2019

The sixth anthology of short graphic novels, Flight Vol. 6 was a beautiful read. I found out about the series from a coworker who is well-versed in the graphic novel genre. Since all the books are anthologies, I did not feel the need to read the series in order. Furthermore, the sixth book was the only one available at my location, so it made my choice easy! For someone that has trouble reading graphic novels, this collection of short stories was perfect. The art styles varied greatly between selections, which made for an engaging read. Some of the stories were wordless, focusing on detailed

Jun 20, 2019

The Legend of Zelda, the Wind Waker HD is an outstanding, unique entry in the already well-loved Legend of Zelda video game series. This time, our courageous hero, Link, lives with his sister, Aryll, and kindly grandmother on peaceful and remote Outset Island. Great floods have submerged the once mighty kingdom of Hyrule and left only small, scattered islands in an endless ocean. One day, as Link and his sister are out exploring, Aryll is snatched and carried off by an enormous, malevolent bird. Link must brave the vast ocean with the help of his talking boat, a crew of dastardly pirates, and