If You Like Fantasy ...

 Posted - 01/24/2005 : 09:32:12 AM

These fantasy titles are NOT in the McCaffrey, Bradley, or Lowry
vein and will, hopefully, satisfy your reading appetite!

"Little, Big" by John Crowley

One of my all-time favorite books - big, romantic; with plotlines
following many characters:

"Edgewood is many houses, all put inside each other, or across each
other. It's filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment: the
further in you go, the bigger it gets. Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in
love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, comes to Edgewood, her family home,
where he finds himself drawn into a world of magical strangeness."

 

"The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman starts the "His Dark Materials"
trilogy.

"Here Earth is one of only five planets in the solar system, every human
has a daemon (the soul embodied as an animal familiar) and, in a time
similar to our late 19th century, Oxford scholars and agents of the
supreme Calvinist Church are in a race to unleash the power that will
enable them to cross the bridge to a parallel universe. The story line
has all the hallmarks of a myth: brought up ignorant of her true
identity, 11-year-old Lyra goes on a quest from East Anglia to the top
of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate Roger and her
imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel. Deceptions and treacheries threaten at
every turn, and she is not yet certain how to read the mysterious
truth-telling instrument that is her only guide. After escaping from the
charming and sinister Mrs. Coulter, she joins a group of "gyptians" in
search of their children, who, like Roger, have been spirited away by
Mrs. Coulter's henchmen, the Gobblers. Along the way Lyra is guided by
friendly witches and attacked by malevolent ones, aided by an armored
polar bear and a Texan balloonist, and nearly made a victim of the
Gobblers' cruel experiments. As always, Pullman is a master at combining
impeccable characterizations and seamless plotting, maintaining a
crackling pace to create scene upon scene of almost unbearable tension.
This glittering gem will leave readers of all ages eagerly awaiting the
next installment of Lyra's adventures." - review from Publishers Weekly,
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

 

"A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin - this is the first in what
started out as a trilogy, but has come to include 6 books at last
counting! Ms. Le Guin creates interesting, complex characters in her
books - Enjoy!

"Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called
Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who
tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the
world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words
of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to
restore the balance." - summary from the catalog

 

"The Tooth Fairy" by Graham Joyce

If you like dark fantasy, this is an original, compelling read.

"Sam and his friends are like any gang of normal young boys. Roaming
wild around the outskirts of their car-factory town. Daring adults to
challenge their freedom. Until the day Sam wakes to find the Tooth Fairy
sitting on the edge of his bed. Not the benign figure of childhood myth,
but an enigmatic presence that both torments and seduces him, changing
his life forever. Is she real or just a figment of his turbulent
imagination? All Sam knows, as he painfully grows from childhood to
adolescence, is that she is never very far away... " - summary from the
catalog

 

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman

I love anything by Mr. Gaiman, but this one was especially good. I
loved the fairy tale setting and the faint whiff of melancholy in this
book!

"In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian Era,
life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall--a secluded
hamlet so named for an imposing stone barrier that surrounds a fertile
grassland. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in the bulwark to keep the
inquisitive from wandering through, relaxing their vigil only once every
nine years, when a market fair unlike any other in the world of men
comes to the meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his
heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and
distant--as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from
the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria's
hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his
beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient
wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But
Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those
for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the
rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics." - summary from the catalog.

 

"The Various" by Steve Augarde.

"While staying on her uncle's rundown farm in the Somerset countryside,
twelve-year-old Midge discovers that she has a special connection to the
Various, a tribe of "strange, wild--and sometimes deadly" fairies
struggling to maintain their existence in the nearby woods." - summary
from the catalog

 

"The Wee Free Men" by Terry Pratchett

"A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a
clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off
a sinister invasion from Fairyland." - summary from the catalog

If you like this one, he's written many more in this series. They are
all funny and feature memorable characters.

 

"Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke

"Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest
magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by
fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create
English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is
barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its
dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic." "Then the
reclusive Mr. Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of
York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to
England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war
against Napoleon, Mr. Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant
young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming,
rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats."
But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr. Norrell has never
conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be
attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by
the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of
long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell,
but everything that he holds dear. --FROM THE PUBLISHER

 

"Dark sleeper" by Jeffrey E. Barlough

"In the fog-enshrouded city of Salthead, metaphysics professor Titus
Tiggs and Dr. Daniel Dampe investigate a series of strange, impossible
sightings-from phantom ships and ghosts to creatures long extinct. What
they uncover is an ancient, mystical evil intent on destroying every
person in the town. Written in a style reminiscent of 19th century
authors like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, with tantalizing elements
of science fiction and dark fantasy, Jeffrey E. Barlough's Dark Sleeper
draws the reader into a complicated plot featuring dozens of fascinating
characters and culminating in a surprising and unforgettable climax." -
summary from the catalog

 

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Review by staff member Adriana Puckett: "Collins said she started writing this with the idea of the city kids' "rabbit hole" - thus, when Gregor and Boots slip down an a/c grate in their apartment building's laundry room, it only makes sense that the Underworld is populated not with rabbits, cats, and caterpillars, but with bats, cockroaches, and rats. The Underworld is pretty dark and gritty - not a place that I would want to live, although by the end I would not have minded a nice visit to Regalia - when the humans weren't at war with the rats, of course. There is a sequel to this book out that I can't wait to similarly devour." She also suggests "The Amulet of Samarkand" (Bartimaeus Trilogy, vol. 1) by Jonathan Stroud

 

I loved the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix and "Good Omens" by Terry
Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

 

Mary M. Buck

Reference Librarian

Porter Branch

 

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Posted - 04/03/2006 : 1:59:49 PM
 I also loved the Assassins Apprentice and Tawny Man trilogies. These titles are all fantasy and
have characters that seem to stick with you:

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This is the first book in the Liveship
Traders series.
The untimely death of Old Trader Ephron Vestrit deprives his daughter
Althea of her inheritance and places her ambitious brother-in-law Kyle
in command of the live ship Viveca and the family fortunes. The author
of the Farseer trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, LJ 3/15/95; Royal
Assassin, Bantam, 1996; Assassin's Quest, Bantam, 1997) launches a new
series set in a world of sentient ships, merchant traders, ruthless
pirates, dangerous treasures, seagoing dragons, and a mysterious elder
race. Hobb excels in depicting complex characters; even her villains
command respect, if not sympathy, for their actions. (Library Journal)

A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
In a world where winter is near at hand and will last for forty years,
the throne is empty, and all comers, whether royal or rogue, will do
whatever is within their power to take it. Sword and poison, magic and
trickery, all will be wielded in the fight for the kingdom. Alas,
unknown to the contenders, far to the north an army of the undead is
preparing its march upon their land.
Book one of the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Pawn of Prophecy
by David Eddings
Young Garion leaves his simple life on the farmstead to seek out the
ancient Orb that will protect humankind against the rampages of the evil
god Torak. Though filled with swordfights and sorcery, this fantasy is a
much lighter and quicker read than The Lord of the Rings.
Book one of the Belgariad series.
Eddings has written several series that contain the same characters.

Sabriel
by Garth Nix
Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the
mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of
the Dead.

You might also try the following authors:
Mercedes Lackey
Anne McCaffrey
Katherine Kerr
Terry Brooks
Terry Goodkind

 

Kara Rockwell
Reference Librarian

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Posted - 03/20/2008 : 1:14:07 PM
You may enjoy these titles, if you liked the mix of magic and real-life:

The "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman
Again, from the juvenile collection, but oh, what a great read! The series starts with "The Golden Compass"; which follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua and her daemon (a creature who reflects her inner being) as she tries to uncover the fates of kidnapped children being taken to the top of the world.

"Expiration Date" by Tim Powers
"The ghosts here aren't malevolent specters but lingering essences of the dead that are snorted and ingested by spirit junkies for the rush of memories they yield. When 11-year-old Koot Hoomie Parganas becomes possessed by the ghost of Thomas Alva Edison, a feeding frenzy begins among West Coast ghost eaters eager to absorb the great inventor's genius. Kootie's efforts to elude his pursuers eventually dovetail with electrical engineer Pete Sullivan's quest to prevent his evil stepmother from eating the ghost of his father and thus covering up her complicity in his death. Powers builds this world on a wacky foundation of physics and metaphysics, and he peoples it with eccentrics like Sherman Oaks, a one-armed ghost hunter who detects his quarry with his phantom limb, and Nicky Bradfield, a deceased teen celebrity who subsists entirely on cinnamon candy. Although filled with routine chase sequences, the novel is a minefield of exploding surprises that will have readers convinced that the author has tapped into a more magical reality behind everyday life."-review from Publisher Weekly (Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.)

 

"A Great and Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray
After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.


"Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman
Fat Charlie Nancy's world starts to fall apart when his father drops dead in a karaoke bar. Suddenly Charlie discovers that he has a brother he had forgotten, a brother as different from dull, steady, cautious Charlie as possible. The problem is that Charlie's dad was not an ordinary dad. He was Anansi, the spider god, the trickster. I loved this book. I have told Anansi stories for decades. It was wonderful to see some of the trickster stories worked into a novel about contemporary London. I listened to the recorded book edition, read by Lenny Henry, the star of the great British comedy series Chef. It was a delight.

"Stranger Things Happen" by Kelly Link
The eleven stories in Kelly Link's debut collection are funny, spooky, and smart. --(Publisher's commentary) and I say: A couple of the stories don't gel, but when Link's in top form you'll be sleeping with the lights on!


"In the Palace of Repose" by Holly Phillips
Phillips' lyrical writing makes these fantasy short stories stick with you after you've returned the book to the library! The stories range from dark to light and many of them (esp. the title story) cry out for expansion into full-length novels.

 

Mary M. Buck

Reference Librarian

Porter Branch

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Posted - 06/23/2008 : 2:58:26 PM
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
This award winning five volume children’s fantasy series is roughly based on Welsh mythology. The stories detail the adventures of a young man named Taran, who is awarded the honor of Assistant Pig-Keeper but dreams of being a grand hero, and his companions Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam the wandering bard and king, a feral yet gentle creature called Gurgi, and a dwarf named Doli.

The sequence of books is:
The Book of Three
An assistant pig-keeper, Taran, and his companions race to defeat the war lord of Arawn.

The Black Cauldron
Taran and the companions struggle to destroy an evil enchanted cauldron.

The Castle of Llyr
Eilonwy is kidnapped and Taran leads a band to rescue her.

Taran Wanderer
Taran, with his companion Gurgi, begins a bittersweet search for his parentage.

The High King
Taran and the companions wage a final battle against Arawn.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
This is a very long fantasy novel that I found worth the time it took to read it. It combines alternative history and fantasy. In the world of this novel magic is real, but by the early nineteenth century English magicians have lost their ability to actually perform magic. They just study books about magic and write long, dull papers about it. Into this situation comes the rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell who assembles a great library of ancient magic books and begins to perform real magic. He even uses magic to help the government defeat Napoleon. Mr. Norrell takes as his student Jonathan Strange, a man who also can perform magic, but a man who is attracted to a wild, dangerous magic.
The author has also written The Ladies Of Grace Adieu: And Other Stories, a much shorter collection of short stories about magic in the same period of time with some of the same characters. I found them absolutely charming.

The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
This series of five children’s books is a remarkably well done fantasy based on the Arthurian legends.

Over Sea, Under Stone
The three Drew children discover an ancient map that is actually the key to finding a grail, a source of power to fight the forces of evil known as the Dark.

The Dark Is Rising
On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift -- that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.

Greenwitch
Jane's invitation to witness the making of the Greenwitch begins a series of sinister events in which she and her two brothers help the Old Ones recover the grail stolen by the Dark.

The Grey King
In this fourth book of The Dark Is Rising sequence, Will Stanton, visiting in Wales, is swept into a desperate quest to find the golden harp and to awaken the ancient Sleepers.

Silver on the Tree
In this conclusion of the tale begun in "Over Sea, Under Stone," Will Stanton, the Welsh boy Bran, and the Drew children try to locate the crystal sword that alone can vanquish the strong forces of Dark.


The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.

The Wee Free Men: A Story of Discworld by Terry Pratchett
A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. I found this book laugh out loud funny.

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
This fantasy series is set in a parallel universe where every person has a physical manifestation of their soul, their daemon which appears as an animal. The trilogy follows the coming-of-age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of universes against a backdrop of epic events. The story involves fantasy elements such as witches and armored polar bears, and alludes to a broad range of ideas from fields such as physics, philosophy, theology and spirituality. The controversial trilogy functions in part as a retelling and inversion of John Milton's epic, Paradise Lost.

The sequence of the books is:
The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass


Compiled by Nelda Mohr

Porter Branch Manager