Review of Shadow Scale

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Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Middle School, High School   Random   600 pp. 3/15   978-0-375-86657-9   $18.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-96657-6   $21.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-375-89659-0   $10.99 With the dragon civil war closing in on Goredd, Seraphina (Seraphina, rev. 7/12) begins an uncertain mission: she and Abdo, a fellow half-dragon, embark on a journey to recruit other ityasaari […]

Review of The Darkest Part of the Forest

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black High School   Little, Brown   323 pp. 1/15   978-0-316-21307-3   $18.00 g e-book ed. 978-0-316-21305-9   $9.99 The people of Fairfold live beside the fairy folk with scant worry and not a little smugness. After all, only foolish tourists, lured to town by legend and the beautiful horned prince […]

Read good books, do good deeds

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Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish this could be real?” Well, unfortunately, no one I know has ever gotten an owl-delivered acceptance letter to Hogwarts, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little bit of the Wizarding World out here for us muggles. One of the major […]

George R. R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon

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George R. R. Martin is best known for penning his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy saga, the basis for HBO’s crazy-popular series Game of Thrones. Speaking from personal experience, it’s shamefully easy for fans of that franchise to forget just how prolific he is. Admittedly, ASOIAF is pretty absorbing — what with bloody […]

Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

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Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

Fantasy and science fiction

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This week’s topic is “Beyond the World We Know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of imaginary worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

Far Far Away

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Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

Review of The Cabinet of Curiosities

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The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, 
and Emma Trevayne; illus. by Alexander Jansson Middle School    Greenwillow    488 pp. 6/14    978-0-06-233105-2    $16.99 Four “curators” — Bachmann, Catmull, Legrand, and Trevayne — travel to lands peregrine and outré to fill their Cabinet of Curiosities museum, sending back […]

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

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Please join me on Saturday the 25th at the Boston Book Festival for “Masters of Fantasy,” a panel discussion with Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes), Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial), and Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon). We’ll be talking about–well, I guess I should get on that right quick, as I’m […]

Atmospheric audiobooks

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These audiobooks offer intrepid listeners stories of supernatural and psychological suspense, all with vividly evoked settings. In the world of Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase (first book in the Lockwood & Co. series), ghost-busting firms employ psychically sensitive children to neutralize supernatural pests infesting London. Lucy Carlyle joins an indie agency — consisting of Lucy, […]