Book Review: The Fires of Merlin by T. A. Barron


The Fires of Merlin by T.A. Barron The third book in the Lost Years of Merlin sequence finds Merlin on the point of finishing his rite of initiation into the “high magic” of a wizard. Like all other wizards, he must first study the arts of magic under a tutor. But since the magical land of Fincayra– the “in-between place” that is neither of our world nor of the spirit world, but a little of both– has ... Read More »

Book Review: The Seven Songs of Merlin by T. A. Barron


The Seven Songs of Merlin by T.A. Barron The second book in the Lost Years of Merlin sequence finds Emrys Merlin on an assignment with the Flowering Harp. His task is to waken the Dark Hills, and bring forth life and growth again where the evil powers of Rhita Gawr had blighted it. But a little power goes to the young would-be wizard’s head. Soon his own hubris (this book’s Word of the Month, which means “excessive ... Read More »

Book Review: Cold Days by Jim Butcher


Cold Days by Jim Butcher Book 14 of “The Dresden Files” follows up on Chicago-based wizard/detective Harry Dresden’s apparent death in Changes and post-death experiences in Ghost Story. If you haven’t read those books yet, I’ve already spoiled that much; to say anything about this book, I’ll have to spoil a lot more. It’s too late to pull out now, so here goes: Dresden lives! Can I avoid spoilers by not telling you how he manages this? No, ... Read More »

Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis


In seven books, first published in seven consecutive years in the 1950s, British poet, literary critic, and Oxford don Clive Staples Lewis created a landmark in children’s fantasy literature. An early landmark, to be sure, but one that still casts a long shadow! From the beginning of the adventures of the Pevensie children– Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy– in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you will be enchanted by the magical land of Narnia: ... Read More »

Book Review: The Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Barron


The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron The first of five books in a series by the same title, it is (naturally) about the great wizard Merlin, specifically his not-so-well-known youth. It begins with a seven-year-old boy washing ashore on the coast of Wales, half-drowned, with a bad bump to the head, and awakening without any memory of his past life. A woman claiming to be his mother washes ashore as well, and she ... Read More »

Book Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher


Ghost Story by Jim Butcher Book 13 of (so far) 14 in “The Dresden Files” finds Harry Dresden—detective, wizard, guardian of all things Chicago—tasked with solving his own murder. It’s not easy, being dead. When you’re only a shade of your former self—an intangible, invisible, inaudible presence made up of memories, thoughts, and a pinch of will—there isn’t much you can do. Even with loads of raw magical power, you’re limited to spells that affect ... Read More »

Book Review: Changes by Jim Butcher


Changes by Jim Butcher In the first sentence of this book, Harry Dresden answers the phone and hears his half-vampire ex-girlfriend Susan say, “They’ve taken our daughter.” Harry could well ask, “What daughter?” But he hardly needs to ask who took her. Susan has spent the past several years harassing the Red Court of vampires as a member of the Fellowship of St. Giles, an organization of half-turned, semi-immortal vigilantes whose super-strength and endless anger ... Read More »

Book Review: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher


Turn Coat by Jim Butcher The eleventh book of The Dresden Files begins to shake up some of the comfortable formula, if a series of thrillers pitting one smart-aleck wizard detective against a Chicago-load of vampires, zombies, demons, homicidal fairies, and hell-bent necromancers, can be said to fall into a “comfortable formula.” In this installment, wizard Donald Morgan—the sword-wielding wizard cop who has had it in for Dresden since the start—shows up on his younger ... Read More »

Book Review: The Merlin Effect by T. A. Barron


The Merlin Effect by T. A. Barron They’re an unlikely research team, messing with sensors and deep-sea submersibles off a treacherous stretch of Mexican coast. First there’s teenaged Kate, who seems to have tagged along just for a chance to spend time with her historian father, only to spend most of the time paddling around in a kayak while Dad searches for the wreck of a Spanish treasure ship. What this has to do with ... Read More »

Book Review: Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken


  Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken The prolific author of the Wolves Series returns at the top of her form with this third book in the set, starring the clever cockney child, Dido Twite. Last seen shipwrecked off the coast of England (see Black Hearts in Battersea), she wakes up on board a Nantucket whaling ship after a ten-month coma. Immediately, she is back at the center of a swirl of adventure and intrigue, having nothing to ... Read More »