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Are you a fan of Fantasy and Magic? Check out all our Fantasy / Magical book selections, read reviews, download extracts and you can order the book too!
July 2019 Debut of the Month | Often lyrical, and always entertaining, this Norse-vibed YA debut has friendship, fear and coming-of-age conundrums at its heart. It tells the tale of a land ransacked by a civil war that saw a new religion and younger prince replace a brutal old regime. Some nine years later, in peacetime, friends Torny and Ebba remember nothing of the war, or life before the uprising. But with their land on the brink of fresh upheaval, the unforgettable female protagonists find themselves on separate tracks, with painful, testing, relentless repercussions. With a cast of characters that includes gods and spirits, shamans and magic-workers, the world-building is fabulous, and the dual narrative device (it alternates between Torny and Ebba) really adds to the drama and tension. Fantasy fans will be delighted to hear that a sequel is on its way.
This is an enchanting and at times terrifying debut that's beautifully written. 13 year old Tanya and her mother have an uneasy relationship so for part of the summer she is despatched off to her grandmother who lives in a rickety old house. While there, she sees a bookcase revolve and in front of her is a narrow stone staircase leading way down beyond the bowels of the house. She steps down them and what she sees brings a scream to her mouth but nothing come out. The long lost girl she sees carries something that for the briefest of moments morphs into something else and they each realise they both have the ability of second sight - of seeing fairies. Mysteries and secrets abound in this superb debut and Tanya is put in terrible danger in this sinister tale. Can Tanya's ability of second sight help her unravel the mystery?
July 2019 Book of the Month | Cassandra Clare certainly knows how to write on an epic scale - following hot on the heels of Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, this third and final book in The Dark Artifice trilogy is a true beast of a book due to its wildly imaginative world, doggedly determined characters, and its sheer size and scope. “There was blood on the Council dais, blood on the steps, blood on the walls…Later Emma would remember it as a sort of red mist”. Amidst this gory scene, Julian clutches Livvy Blackthorn, “resisting all efforts by the guards to lift her dead body away from him”. But, while death looks down upon them and Julian grieves, the Clave is on the brink of war and swift action must be taken if the Shadow World is to survive. To this end, Julian and Emma embark on a jeopardous journey to recover the Black Volume of the Dead, battling great peril alongside grappling with their forbidden love. And then the secrets they uncover in the Court risk destroying everything they value, and everyone they love. The sense of urgency is dazzlingly evoked and swells to a suitably heart-pounding finale to this opulent love-and-justice-driven trilogy, with the many plot threads woven together in Clare’s typically extravagant style. The Dark Artifices Trilogy is our Series of the Month - find out more. Take a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Dark Artifices.
Fast-paced and brimming with earthy atmosphere, this flavorsome feast follows the high-stakes quest of Lann and Astrid in their Viking-esque kingdom. It serves up a satisfying, easy-to-digest banquet that will be devoured by younger teens and reluctant readers who love high fantasy, but struggle with huge casts of characters and excessively complicated worlds. Lann is a foundling whose father turns on him following the death of his wife: “A curse, left by evil spirits to bring us misery!” he accuses. After encountering a terrifying wolf-man hybrid and losing his sight, Lann is taken-in by Fleya, a powerful witch to whom he has a close connection. Soon after, Lann takes-up the Dreadblade, one of the kingdom’s Swords of Destiny, which has been “woken from its torpor and desires to go about its work again”. His sight restored by the sword, Lann and the Dreadblade are now bound by fate. Meanwhile, across the kingdom, Astrid’s father, the king, has been murdered and she must find his killer before her brother is blamed for the crime. When Astrid’s life entwines with Lann’s, it falls to them to save the kingdom from the stirring evil. Alongside the thrill of monsters, witches and warring gods, the main characters have great appeal. Astrid is a fabulous, fiercely-minded young woman, and the loving, protective relationship between Fleya and Lann is brilliantly evoked.
Brave Byx and her band of buddies are back in their second anthropomorphic fantasy adventure that sees them journey to the snow-capped mountains of Dreyland to discover whether she really is the last of her kind.Fast-paced and thrilling, Byx’s courageous quest is also underpinned by emotion. Middle Grade readers will identify with her self-effacing protestations that she’s “not brave. Not bold. Not a leader”. But of course, she is, and battles much danger and a swelling sense of darkness as she and her friends realise that revolution is the only way her species will survive. Alongside the action, the writing is cinematically atmospheric and lyrical: “Grey clouds encircled the mountains, groping for the peaks. Our breath hovered before us like ghosts from our tangled pasts”. This is perfect for fans of Brian Jacques, Robin Jarvis and The Legend of Podkin One-Ear.
July 2019 Book of the Month | It’s more than 150 years since the publication of Alice in Wonderland and it is delighting today’s readers as much as it ever has. Both a tribute to and a celebration of Lewis Carroll’s story, this collection includes new adventures by eleven favourite contemporary children’s authors, each of whom has been inspired by Alice. With such an extraordinary set of characters and scenes to take as starting points, the stories are wonderfully varied. Pamela Butchart chooses to write about the Queen of Hearts in a follow up story, while Swapna Haddow picks the Mock Turtle. There’s an environmental message in Lauren St John’s lively story ‘Plum Cakes at Dawn’, while Robin Stevens puts the real Alice into her Oxford set story. Together they make for a sparkling collection, one well worth tumbling back down the rabbit hole to enjoy.
It’s time for more fabulous underwater adventures with everyone’s favourite little mermaids, Beattie, Mimi and Zelda, ably assisted by Steve the talking seahorse of course. As this latest escapade opens, we find them trying to break into the kingdom of Frostopia in the freezing waters of Antarctica on the trail of water witch Maritza Mist of Maritza Mist’s Water Witch Catalogue fame. In this they may just be helped by new character, Mermaid Bay’s most promising young spy Meri Pebble. Frothy, fast-moving, fashion-conscious fun this is certain to delight Bad Mermaid fans old and new, and it’s not hard to see why the books have found such a devoted following amongst young readers. Illustrations by Jason Cockroft increase the undersea glamour.
With an ability to see ghosts, eleven year old Jake Green is licensed to help them make their transition to the Afterworld, a fully paid-up junior employee of the Embassy of the Dead, though more often than not, he’d rather be playing computer games with his best friend Sab. In this new adventure he and his sidekick, schoolgirl poltergeist Cora (she’s very handy with her hockey stick) have a massive challenge – how to stop the rise of Fenris and the dawn of the Age of Evil. The story is ingenious, fast-moving, full of action-packed scenes and the characters – living and dead – are hugely appealing. Dead good reading in fact.
Tilly loves stories and has firm favourites among their characters. She can so easily imagine conversations with Anne from Anne of Green Gables or Alice from Wonderland. But she never expects to actually meet them! When Tilly finds that she has entered the story herself – and particularly when she takes her friend Oskar with her too – she knows that something very strange indeed is happening. Can a trip to the wonderful Underlibrary sited deep in the British Library itself illuminate just what is happening to Tilly and how her beloved grandparents are involved too? Anna James weaves a richly invented story with great skill and makes every passionate reader’s greatest dream of being able to hang out with their favourite characters come true.
An enchanting four-book series featuring the adventures of Anna and her array of animal friends The temperature is rising, which can only mean one thing: it's summer! Bookings are up at Hotel Flamingo and the hotel is getting busy. Anna is excited to receive word from King Penguin royalty asking to holiday in their Royal Suite. But there's a lot to get done, and it's not easy to manage the needs of the penguins when there's a heatwave on and a huge ice shortage. Help! Can Anna get Hotel Flamingo back to its usual shining self and have happy guests all round?
As book-loving children know, all the best stories start in the library and that’s certainly the case here. Kit would rather be looking for wildlife in her local cemetery but her friends make her take a detour via the library where she discovers some amazing things: a librarian who’s also a wizard, a dragon sleeping in the basement, and her own magical powers. All these things are put to good use to stop a wicked landowner, whose plans to turn the library into a carpark are actually cover for something even more despicable. This will be great fun for children who like stories overflowing with magic, and Kit and her friends are very appealing characters.
June 2019 Book of the Month | Kids who like their adventures wild, funny and full of the unexpected will love Adam Stower’s King Coo stories. Starring ordinary schoolboy Ben and his best friend, the totally extraordinary Coo, a bearded girl who lives a secret life with her wombat Herbert in some woods near Ben’s home, they are a brilliant mix of action, invention and jokes of all kinds – verbal, visual, slapstick. This escapade sees the two friends thwart a band of thieves who are intent on stealing priceless golden artefacts from the local museum. For all the zaniness, the plot makes perfect sense and Stower’s excellent illustrations move it along at pace. One to recommend to fans of Tom Gates or Timmy Failure.