Tag Archives: 5 lightning bolts

Review: The Empire of Gut and Bone by M. T. Anderson

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The Empire of Gut and Bone—buy it by M. T. Anderson—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ In The Game of Sunken Places, best friends Brian and Gregory learned that the destiny of Earth is tied up in a game played by two humans in every generation, representing two pointy-eared races with very different ideas about what to do with the planet. The elfin Norumbegans would peacefully coexist with mankind; the alien Thusser intend to invade, conquer, ... Read More »

Review: Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud

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Ptolemy’s Gate—buy it by Jonathan Stroud—his website Recommended Ages: 13+ In Book 3 of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, a seventeen-year-old magician named Nathaniel, though he calls himself John Mandrake, has clawed his way nearly to the top of a world of (sometimes literally) backstabbing ambition. It’s an alternate-history version of present-day Britain, where magicians are the ruling class and the non-magical “commoners” toil in conditions not far above slavery. It’s a government founded on the summoning ... Read More »

Review: Cold Days by Jim Butcher

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Cold Days—buy it by Jim Butcher—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ 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 ... Read More »

Review: The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M. T. Anderson

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The Suburb Beyond the Stars—buy it by M. T. Anderson—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Several years ago, during a visit to New York City’s Books of Wonder, I picked up a copy of The Game of Sunken Places, by this author I had never heard of, and thought it was great. And though I’ve read a number of his other books, it was only quite recently that I found out that the above title is ... Read More »

Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations—buy it by Charles Dickens—Wiki him Recommended Ages: 13+ There was a time in the British Commonwealth when crimes that would formerly have been punished by death were commuted to a sentence of “transportation.” This is to say, the convicted criminals were packed into prison-ships and banished to Australia, to become forced colonists. There they led such a hard life that only the toughest succeeded—but even the most successful colonials would have gone home ... Read More »

Review: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

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Daniel Deronda—buy it by George Eliot—Wiki her Recommended Ages: 14+ The last completed work by one of the greatest English novelists, this book proves that Victorian literature need not be staid, conventional, and formulaic. In fact, it is such a daring and intricately-wrought book that even some avid readers my be intimidated by it. I won’t fib: it’s a big bite to chew. But it is also a mouthful of rare, delicate flavors, and nourishing ... Read More »

Review: The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean

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The Kite Rider—buy it by Geraldine McCaughrean—her website Recommended Ages: 12+ It’s the 13th century. Kublai Khan has conquered China, spreading the Mongolian empire from Ukraine to Korea. His epoch-making attempt to invade Japan is about to get underway—the one that will end with Kublai’s army at the bottom of the Yellow Sea, thanks to a storm that will go down in Japanese memory as “Kamikaze” (divine wind). At that crucial point in history—to the ... Read More »

Review: Star of Stone by P. D. Baccalario

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Star of Stone—buy it by P. D. Baccalario—about the author in English; in Italian Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book Two of the Century Quartet, four kids with Leap Day birthdays come together again to solve another puzzle, this time in New York City. Elettra from Rome, Mistral from Paris, Sheng from Shanghai, and Harvey from Manhattan face an evil nightclub owner, five dangerous women, a one-eyed crow flying surveillance for a shadowy group of Native ... Read More »

Review: The Well Between the Worlds by Sam Llewellyn

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The Well Between the Worlds—buy it by Sam Llewellyn—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ I was so overwhelmed by the strangeness and originality of this book’s fantasy conceits that, in spite of several clues, I got halfway through it before I realized that it is a retelling of the Arthurian legend. Color me embarrassed! It mentions a round table. It features a sword in a stone, which only the rightful king can pull loose. It has ... Read More »

Review: Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher

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Princeps’ Fury—buy it by Jim Butcher—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ In Book 5 of the Codex Alera series, young Tavi of Calderon, recently outed as Gaius Octavian—the grandson of Alera’s ruling First Lord Gaius Sextus, and thereby Princeps of the realm—faces a crisis in which the antagonistic races that populate his world must either come together or perish separately. At the same time, the question of who will succeed Gaius Sextus reaches a crucial climax ... Read More »