Are you a fan of Fantasy and Magic? Check out all our Fantasy / Magical book reviews, read extracts and compare prices.
When Mary sees her grandmother accused of witchcraft and hung for the crime, she is silently hurried to safety by an unknown woman. She is taken in a boat to Plymouth and from there sails to the New World where she hopes to make a new life among the pilgrims. But old superstitions die hard.
In a nutshell: Immerse yourself in brilliantly described medieval adventure | In 100 short, beautifully written chapters Kevin Crossley-Holland tells the story of young page Arthur de Caldicott, interspersing descriptions of Arthur’s life in his father’s manor house, its domestic and family dramas, with stories from the saga of the legendary King Arthur. There are parallels between the lives of these two Arthurs, each has a friend in the mysterious Merlin, both are truly chivalrous, keen to do the right thing for those around them. The story-telling is superb, characters, landscape, history brought equally vividly to life, and this is spellbinding fiction. The first in a trilogy this is highly recommended for readers of all ages. King Arthur provides the inspiration for Philip Reeve’s book Here Lies Arthur, also full of action, adventure but much more than a ripping yarn, while Philip Womack’s Darkening Path series is likewise inspired by T H White’s classic The Sword in the Stone. ~ Andrea Reece **** Charlie Hunnam stars in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie - in cinemas May 12, 2017.
A book that requires no introduction as it is probably Dahl’s best-known and most read creation and deservedly so. The secretive and magical world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is revealed to five ‘lucky’ children, each of who has won a golden ticket. However each child gets their comeuppance in some way, except Charlie of course. Brilliant. Click here to see our Favourite Top 10 Dahl Books
'I absolutely adored The Little White Horse' - J K Rowling. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge is a timeless classic, a novel that has been a favourite of many a child since it was first published back in 1947, the year in which it won the prestigious Carnegie Award. It is also much loved by J.K. Rowling. It is the story of Maria Merryweather, a plain (ginger!) orphan sent with her dyspeptic governess to live with her only surviving relative, Sir Benjamin, in the picturesque Moonacre valley. There she discovers a mystery and an ancient wrong that only she, her friend Robin, and their variously magical animal friends must put right in order to bring peace to the land. The Little White Horse is also available in a beautifully bound hardback slipcased edition, and in a movie tie-in edition as The Little White Horse (The Secret of Moonacre).
Winner of the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007 and Carnegie winner in 1995. Part one of Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. The author’s vivid imagination and vision is so spectacular and moving that it will leave you almost speechless with admiration and the amazingly diverse characters will be universally admired by all those who read about them. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done. If we at Lovereading were to pick out our ‘winner of winners’ then it would be Northern Lights, the first in Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. (12+)To find out more about this book CLICK HERE to visit the Carnegie Greenaway site
January 2011 Guest Editor Jenny Downham on a classic of apocalyptic science fiction: "Written as a documentary novel, Z for Zachariah explores the nightmare situation faced by two people who believe they are the last humans left on earth. This was the first novel I read as a teenager that utterly transported me. I had never realised books could do that. It literally took me away from home and put me somewhere else. Absolutely haunting and impossible to put down!"
Philip Reeve, June 2012 Guest Editor: "The Lord of the Rings was my favourite book of all as a child - my mum and dad read it to me when I was about nine, and after that I read it to myself several times. I still love it for its landscapes and the music of its words. At the time, not many people seemed to have heard of it - at least, not at my school - so it was as if Middle Earth was my own private world. It prompted me to start inventing worlds of my own, and I’ve never really stopped." Charlie Higson, April 2012 Guest Editor: "This really doesn’t need a recommendation from me. I think some of you might have already read it. But it was a huge influence on me. It’s interesting that although the hobbits aren’t kids (they’re all about seventy years old!) we react to them as children. I read the books when I was fourteen and loved the feeling of being utterly immersed in another world. I’ve always loved fantasy – books that took me out of my own humdrum existence and transported me to another place, another time, another reality. I love it where Tolkien says in his introduction that ‘The tale grew in the telling’. The story starts small scale, with its social satire of the very English shire, and then just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, so that by the end you can look back and think – my God, I’ve come all this way, what an adventure it’s been. That’s the feeling I want to get into my new adventure/horror/epic series The Enemy. It’s building into a huge multi-character saga, with touches of LOTR, Greek mythology, historical fiction and Tintin. In fact I’ve probably stolen something from every book I’ve ever read." Sally Nicholls, March 2012's Guest Editor: "I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was ten, which was far too young, but I loved it even though I didn't understand all of it. I read it over and over and over again, until I knew whole sections off by heart. I loved the size of the story, and the fact that its narrators – the hobbits – were so easy for a child to relate to." The Lovereading Comment: One of our 'Must Reads'. Chosen by the public through a survey to coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations of World Book Day 2007, this title is one of ‘the ten books the nation can’t live without’. Have you read them all? Below are links to each title and position on the list. 1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 2. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien 3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 4. Harry Potter JK Rowling 5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 6. The Bible 7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 8. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Ursula Le Guin’s creation of Earthsea, an ancient world of wizards, magic, darkness and light and an ever-shifting balance of power is an acknowledged masterpiece. It’s undoubtedly one of the major works of fantasy from the 20th century. With wonderful cross-over appeal it is sure to enchant adults and children alike.
Part of a magical series loved by readers for generations, Beverley Nichols’s gentle fantasy adventure will entrance and entertain today’s children just as it did their parents and grandparents. Judy and her granny live in an enchanted wood and run a little shop from the boughs of an old willow. Their happiness is threatened by the arrival in the woods of a pair of rivals, as ruthless, cruel and greedy as you’ll find. When these interlopers team up with a witch and her chorus of beastly toads, things for all the creatures in the wood look very bad. But, as in all the best fairy tales, good triumphs over evil. Written in 1945 there’s a subtle emphasis on the importance of kindliness, peace and forgiveness, still an important message to share with children. ~ Andrea Reece
This tale of wizards and dragons features the character of Sparrowhawk. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his powers, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast. Only he can destroy it and so he begins a quest which leads him to all corners of Earthsea. This is the first book in a quartet. November 2010 Guest Editor Jonathan Stroud: I think this is one of the greatest of fantasies, with a very different flavour to Tolkien or C S Lewis. Ursula Le Guin is a master at world-making: from the moment I opened the book as a boy, and saw the map of Earthsea, with its thousands of little islands, each with its own name and character, I was hooked. We follow Ged, a young and ambitious wizard, who finds his route to power is not at all straightforward. He must journey across the oceans, contending with dragons, witches, sinister shadows, speaking stones and (most dangerously of all) with himself. The magic in this book (and the rules that govern it) seem utterly real. The writing is beautiful, austere and restrained, and everything feels drenched with the salt-spray of the endless sea.
Although they're small, fat and shy creatures, Moomins have the most amazing adventures. It all begins when Moominpappa tries on a magic hat that makes exciting and funny things happen. Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday on the Moomin books: "A fantasy series for small children that introduces bigger ones to ideas of adventure, dealing with fear, understanding character and tolerating difference."
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