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Book Review: Snuff by Terry Pratchett

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Snuff—buy it by Terry Pratchett—his website Recommended Ages: 13+ According to Fantastic Fiction, this is the 39th novel of Discworld—taking all the novels featuring Tiffany Aching, Granny Weatherwax, Rincewind, Death, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and whatnot in one heap. It’s an amazing achievement, especially given that I was hoaxed into believing that Terry Pratchett was done writing them half a dozen books back. After all these books about a flat world balanced on the backs ... Read More »

Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

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MuggleNet thanks Cinda Chima, author of the “Heir Chronicles” and the “Seven Realms” novels, for graciously agreeing to let this star-struck reviewer interview her. For those of you tuning in late, the “Heir Chronicles” is (so far) a trilogy consisting of the books The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, and The Dragon Heir. Set in a variant of our present-day world, these books dramatize the conflict between five “guilds” of magically gifted people, known as ... Read More »

Book Review: The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell

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  The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell Sam is thrilled when his parents tell him that he gets to spend his Easter holiday with Professor Ampersand and his adopted niece and nephew, Zara and Ben. But he never expected the adventure that soon develops, as the professor and five of his colleagues are kidnapped by the ruthless Professor Murdo. The three children follow an amazing “underground railroad” all the way to ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

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  The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer This Newbery Honor Book by the author of The House of the Scorpion conjures a unique world in which futuristic fantasy and ancient folklore are intertwined. Set in the year 2194 in the African nation of Zimbabwe, it relates the adventures of three sheltered, privileged children when they escape from the walled compound of their father (the country’s ruthlessly efficient security chief) to have an adventure ... Read More »

Book Review: The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

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The Scarecrow and His Servant—buy it by Philip Pullman—his website Recommended Age: 10+ This book by the author of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and The Ruby in the Smoke combines a fairy-tale concept with elements of the picaresque novel. That is to say, it presents a hero from humble origins, making his way through a corrupt world in a series of funny, ironic adventures. Seemingly set in Italy around the time of the Napoleonic wars, this ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

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The Ogre Downstairs—buy it by Diana Wynne Jones—her website Recommended Age: 10+ This is a delightful tale, full of charm and laugh-out-loud humor. Plus, the theme of a “blended family” resonates with the personal experience of many of us. The Brants and the McIntyres are living under one very British roof, since Mrs. Brant (a widow) married Mr. McIntyre (a divorced, single Dad). But after only a couple months, things aren’t going too smoothly. Sally, ... Read More »

Book Review: So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

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This 1983 book is the first of nine books in the Young Wizards series, which in many ways should be right up your alley (if you like Harry Potter, that is). The author is a prolific science fiction writer who has contributed a number of books to the growing list of Star Trek titles, as well as the Net Force series co-authored by Tom Clancy, and other interesting-sounding series including Doors and Cat Wizards. The ... Read More »

Book Review: The Cockatrice Boys by Joan Aiken

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From the Wolves series, featuring Dido Twite, I had already come to regard Joan Aiken as a wonderful writer with a flair for colloquial British speech, humor, adventure, and the clash of titanic forces of good and evil. From Diana Wynne Jones’ Deep Secret I had come to regard the Starscape label as being possibly the best-kept secret in young-adult fiction. Both of these impressions are confirmed by The Cockatrice Boys, a Starscape book by ... Read More »

Book Review: Perloo the Bold by Avi

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The author of Tales from Dimwood Forest brings us this intriguing fantasy novel for the young. Two tribes have been at war, on and off, as far back as history remembers: the rabbit-like Montmers and the coyote-like Felbarts. Among the few Montmers who know anything about this history, is bookish, shy Perloo. But when the old Granter of the Montmers is on her deathbed, she decides to elevate Perloo to be her successor…instead of her ... Read More »

Book Review: Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

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Alex Rider, Britain’s leading fourteen-year-old spy—more or less James Bond with zits—has survived a lot in only a few fast-paced months. He has been gunned down by an assassin and lived to tell. He has blown up a luxury hotel in outer space. He has even survived a feature-film adaptation that flopped at the box office. And now, in his seventh action-filled adventure, Alex has splashed down in Australian waters and become a guest of ... Read More »