Author Archives: Robbie

Book Review: The Drowned Vault by N. D. Wilson

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The Drowned Vault by N. D. Wilson Recommended Ages: 12+ In the second book of the Ashtown Burials, Order of St. Brendan journeymen Cyrus and Antigone Smith have survived the test that determined their right to seek shelter in the Order’s sanctuary at Ashtown, somewhere on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan. But they have also earned the distrust and resentment of many other members of the order, by losing the Dragon’s Tooth. Now the ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

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The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud Recommended Ages: 13+ Some trilogies are open-ended. When the author decides to add a fourth book to it, we start to call it the So-and-So Quartet. Since fans of a series are unlikely to regret the arrival of a new installment, this sort of thing is usually embarrassing only to publishers who have invested money in packaging the first three books as the So-and-So Trilogy, and to unsparingly ... Read More »

Book Review: Downpour by Kat Richardson

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Downpour by Kat Richardson Recommended Ages: 14+ In the sixth Greywalker novel, Harper Blaine—a private eye who has one foot in the world of magic—is doing a little pre-trial footwork for a Seattle attorney when a ghost hires her to solve his murder. Joined first by her pet ferret Chaos, and later by her techie-spook boyfriend Quinton, she spends this book investigating two cases in the Olympic Peninsula, a region of Washington state that may ... Read More »

Book Review: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

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The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry Recommended Ages: 13+ Fantasy and hardboiled detective fiction have met before this novel—I cannot restrain myself from name-dropping The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon—but I don’t think any mash-up of the two has ever been quite like this book, its author’s first novel. It takes place in an unnamed, rainy city where the boundary between dreams and reality have become blurred. Here the forces of order are ... Read More »

Book Review: Labyrinth by Kat Richardson

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Labyrinth by Kat Richardson Recommended Ages: 14+ Until this fifth Greywalker novel, I have been enjoying the series via a set of audio-books held by a local library. A downside of hearing Mia Barron’s excellent dramatic reading of the books was that I didn’t know how to spell the names of some monsters introduced in the series. And so the upside of this book being missing from the library’s set of audio books—but available in ... Read More »

Book Review: Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin Recommended Ages: 13+ In the third book of the “Annals of the Western Shore,” the author of A Wizard of Earthsea completes what appears to be a fantasy trilogy for young adults. I hope that appearances are deceiving in this case. I hope this series will continue beyond this book! In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Diana Wynne Jones wrote that a map in the foreleaves is an essential ... Read More »

Book Review: Vanished by Kat Richardson

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Vanished by Kat Richardson Recommended Ages: 14+ One of the few drawbacks of listening to this series in audio-book form, with Mia Barron reading for SciFi Audio, is that I don’t know how to spell the name of one of the creatures introduced in it. Not knowing how to spell it also hampers my attempts to learn more about it on the internet. In the fourth Greywalker novel, featuring a tough female private detective with ... Read More »

Book Review: Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin Recommended Ages: 13+ In the second book of “Annals of the Western Shore,” gifted maker (poet) Orrec Caspro and his animal-whisperer wife Gry Barre come to the city of Ansul, fabled for its literature and its scholarly culture. But it seems they have come seventeen years too late: for Ansul has been conquered by the Alds, the people of the Asudar desert to the east. Unlike the people of ... Read More »

Book Review: Two YA Baseball Novels

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Choosing Up Sides by John H. Ritter Recommended Ages: 12+ More than five years ago, I reviewed The Boy Who Saved Baseball by this author, who is totally not the actor from Three’s Company. In that review, I said that I planned to read more of his books in the near future. I was true to my word, but only to the extent that I have had this book and another by the same author ... Read More »

Book Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly Recommended Ages: 13+ The trail of “things to read after Harry Potter” has already led me past many books in which real-world characters get mixed up in the world where fairy tales and children’s stories are real. Off the top of my head, these include the work of authors Chris Colfer, Eoin Colfer, Ian Beck, Frank Beddor, Michael Buckley, Marissa Burt, Michael Ende, Lev Grossman, Tom Holt, ... Read More »