Tag Archives: alternate history

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

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The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde Recommended Ages: 12+ In a twisted alternate world, the Dragonlands are situated between the Kingdom of Hereford and the Duchy of Brecon, in the west of a balnkanized version of England and Wales known as the Ununited Kingdoms. It’s a world where magic is slowly dying out, its practitioners reduced to delivering pizzas on flying carpets and rewiring houses by spell. A world where knights in shining armor are ... Read More »

Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

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Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Recommended Ages: 14+ What do a wearh, a manjasang, a nachzehrer, and an alukah have in common? In this sequel to A Discovery of Witches, we find out that they are all words for “vampire” used across 16th century Europe, from Oxfordshire to the Auvergne to the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Present-day American witch Diana Bishop has the opportunity to learn about them, not only as a post-doctoral scholar ... Read More »

Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

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Blameless by Gail Carriger Recommended Ages: 16+ In Book 3 of “The Parasol Protectorate,” Lady Maccon, a.k.a. La Diva Tarabotti, is forced to flee England by the scandal of her pregnancy, which no one seems to believe could be the result of her marital relations with Lord Maccon, Alpha werewolf of the Woolsey Pack. Seriously, nobody can find any precedent for a werewolf reproducing except via bite. And though His Lordship is good at that, ... Read More »

Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

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Changeless by Gail Carriger Recommended Ages: 16+ In Book 2 of the “Parasol Protectorate,” a racy supernatural riff on Victorian steampunk, something has taken the fangs out of London’s werewolves and vampires. No worries! Lady Maccon (formerly Miss Alexia Tarabotti) is on the case. In her role as the preternatural adviser to Her Majesty’s Shadow Council—a role she earned by being the only soulless, supernatural-powers-neutralizing, respectable married lady in town—she gate-crashes a reunion between her ... 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: The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby

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The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby Recommended Ages: 11+ The author of Lily’s Ghosts brings us a book so funny that it hurts, set in a magical world so weird that it can only be New York City. She doesn’t come right out and name it, though. She describes it as “a vast and sparkling city, a city at the center of the universe.” But it’s also a city that has grown upward ... 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: Flora’s Dare by Ysabeau S. Wilce

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Flora’s Dare—buy it by Ysabeau Wilce—her website Recommended Ages: 12+ In the sequel to Flora Segunda, Flora Fyrdraaca ov Fyrdraaca, fourteen-year-old heroine of an alternate-history version of San Francisco called Califa, finds out what her true name is. And while I’m mentioning it, I might add that the full title of this book is Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to ... Read More »

Review: The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde

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The Woman Who Died a Lot—buy it by Jasper Fforde—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ In book 3 of the second quartet of “Thursday Next” novels, we find Swindon U.K.’s greatest literary detective facing a vast array of mid-life challenges, such as controlling the residual pain in the leg she broke in her previous adventure, not being bitter when command of the newly re-organized Spec Ops literary division is handed to a younger agent, settling into ... Read More »

Review: The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud

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The Golem’s Eye—buy it by Jonathan Stroud—his website Recommended Ages: 13+ If a boxed set of Harry Potter were to fall through the looking-glass, what came out the other side might be a lot like the “Bartimaeus Trilogy,” of which this is Book 2. The fantasy world in this series is somewhat of a bizarro, backward-land version of Harry’s wizarding world, which forms a secret enclave within the present-day world of us ordinary muggles. In ... Read More »