The first in a series of adult novels that are filled to the brim with details that place the magical world directly in to modern day Oxford. The story of reluctant witch and keen academic of alchemy, Diana Bishop, begins in the dusty and mysterious setting of the Bodleian library. For those missing Hogwarts, these libraries feel wonderfully familiar. Likewise, fans of Pullman’s Lyra will get a chance to explore more of the city, running and rowing through this antiquated world. And fans of conspiracies in “Wicked” will enjoy the magical plotting.
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 story pokes fun at the foibles of people in an age quite different from our own – but not so different that we don’t feel the satire poking at us!
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.
Nita (full name, Juanita Callahan) is a bookish, 13-year-old girl living with her florist father, her ex-dancer mother, and her younger sister Dairine in a Long Island suburb of New York City. She constantly gets beaten up by schoolyard bullies and doesn’t know what to do about it. One day, while fleeing from a confrontation with her nemesis Joanne, Nita finds sanctuary in the children’s section of a public library. There, on a shelf full of career-advice books like “So You Want to Be a Doctor…a Writer…”and so on, she finds a book that just has to be a joke: “So You Want to Be a Wizard.”
This story is about an invasion of monsters that brings civilization in Great Britain crashing down. These creatures, of unknown origin, come in many varieties from bycorns, footmonsters, kelpies, and trolls to snarks, gorgons, basilisks, and telepods–this is only a partial listing, mind you. Nevertheless, they are grouped under the general term of Cockatrices, and it is to battle the Cockatrices that the Cockatrice Corps is formed. Armed with snark masks, kelpie knives, and ray guns, they set out on the stellar-powered armored train Cockatrice Belle to battle the beasties and bring needed supplies to the scattered remnants of the British race.
Book Five of “Children of the Lamp” continues the series’ ABC-order sequence of titles. Brought to you by the letter E, it’s such a fun book that you’ll hope the pattern holds through all 26 letters of the alphabet. In this installment, teenage djinn twins John and Philippa Gaunt visit the moist, mysterious rain forest of the Peruvian Amazon, together with their resourceful Uncle Nimrod, his ex-thief butler Groanin, and other friends—including, naturally, one who is a traitor.
In Book Two of the “Seven Realms” quartet, the author of “The Warrior Heir” and its sequels continues to amaze with her ability to keep a large-scale piece of world-building interesting, convincing, and hopping with action. This installment takes us out of the Queendom of the Fells and shows us more of the seven realms, particularly the Academy of Oden’s Ford—a sort of multi-disciplinary university and an island of peace on the neutral ground between two war-torn kingdoms.
This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please.