Atmospheric audiobooks

stroud_screaming staircase audiobook

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, […]

YA supernatural baddies

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Looking for a book to send a chill down your spine? These four new novels involving creepy paranormal characters are perfect for the occasion. Abandoning university for a (failed) archaeological dig in the Carpathian Mountains, Abigail Rook, star of William Ritter’s Jackaby, finds herself aboard a ship bound for America. Landing in the town of […]

Garth Nix on Clariel

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In the September/October 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Katie Bircher asked Garth Nix about Clariel, the long-awaited prequel to his high fantasy trilogy Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. Read the review here. Katie Bircher: Do you think the walker chooses the path, or the path the walker? Which is it in Clariel’s case? Garth Nix: This […]

Review of Clariel

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Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    383 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-156155-9    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-221680-9    $10.99 Six centuries before the events of Sabriel (rev. 1/97), Lirael (rev. 7/01), and Abhorsen (rev. 3/03), circumstances in the Old Kingdom are vastly different: the addled king refuses to rule; the Abhorsen neglects […]

Abhorsen read-alikes

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Like me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years. A lot of them. Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen […]

Review of A Creature of Moonlight

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A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Middle School, High School    Houghton    314 pp. 5/14    978-0-544-10935-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-544-11009-0    $17.99 Marni is the daughter of a princess and the powerful dragon who presides over the kingdom’s magicked woods. When she was a baby, her grandfather surrendered his throne to his son to save her […]

Unexpected intertexuality

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I typically read and/or listen to several books at once. At the moment I’m reading Gregory Maguire’s upcoming folklore-based fantasy Egg & Spoon (Candlewick, September; scheduled for a starred review in the September/October 2014 Horn Book Magazine) and listening to the audio edition of Candace Fleming’s narrative nonfiction book The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and […]

Harry Potter read-alikes

duane_so you want to be a wizard

These titles — all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine — offer a mix of magic, adventure, humor, and suspense that will enchant Harry Potter fans. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane [Young Wizards series] (Delacorte, 1983; reissued by Harcourt, 2003) A splendid, unusual fantasy tells of the efforts of two […]

YA dragons and witches

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What fantasy fan worth her salt doesn’t love a good dragon or witch story? There’s no shortage of them; but these YA novels are wholly original offerings that focus on the development of complex main characters and the subversion of traditional notions of good and evil. Teenager Nathan is a prisoner in a cage in […]

Reviews of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling; illus. by Mary Grandpré Levine/Scholastic Reviewed 1/99 Orphaned Harry Potter has been living a dog’s life with his horrible relatives. He sleeps in the broom cupboard under the stairs and is treated as a slave by his aunt and uncle. On his eleventh birthday, mysterious […]