Tag Archives: magic

Book Review: Storybound by Marissa Burt

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Storybound by Marissa Burt Recommended Ages: 11+ Lately a lot of writers have been sending us dispatches from the Land of Stories. According to sometime Glee star Chris Colfer, it’s a cluster of magical kingdoms where a pair of children from our world, transported through a family heirloom storybook, discover the true history behind many of your favorite fairy tales. In another account by Ian Beck, the Land of Stories is a country where designated ... Read More »

Review: The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

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The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson Recommended Ages: 13+ A few pages into this book by the author of The Tears of the Salamander, I decided that Peter Dickinson is probably the best writer living today. Given that I have only read these two of his fifty-odd books, that may come across as a hasty judgment. But I haven’t forgotten that Tears was the best book I read in 2005, and I don’t plan to forget ... Read More »

Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

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A Tale Dark and Grimm—buy it by Adam Gidwitz—his website Recommended Ages: 11+ This book is what happens when a New York City schoolteacher stitches together nine fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to form one coherent story—while, at the same time, restoring much of the original versions’ weird, scary, and bloody bits. And although the narrator often pulls the reader aside and begs him to make sure there are no small children in the ... Read More »

Review: If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch

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If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late—buy it by Pseudonymous Bosch—his website Recommended Ages: 10+ This sequel to The Name of This Book Is Secret features a recipe for roast villain, instructions for a magic trick, an explanation for why you can hear voices across a lake at dawn or dusk, and an interview with the author, by the author—and that’s just the appendix! The remainder of the book, in chapters numbered backward like a ... Read More »

Review: Tales from the Hood by Michael Buckley

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Tales from the Hood—buy it by Michael Buckley—website for The Sisters Grimm Recommended Ages: 10+ The sixth book in the “Sisters Grimm” series features another “fractured fairy-tale” to delight middle-grade readers. Sabrina and Daphne go through a lot in this installment. While Sabrina finds herself reaching the age where she can’t help worrying about how she looks, Daphne suddenly—and, to Sabrina, irritatingly—takes to imitating her older sister. But Daphne’s trust in Sabrina will take a ... Read More »

Book Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Gray Wolf Throne—buy it by Cinda Williams Chima—her website—my interview with her Recommended Ages: 14+ In The Demon King, the author of the “Heir Chronicles” introduced a marvelous fantasy country in which the powers and interests of three groups—the noble families of the lowland Valefolk, the craftsmen and warriors of the upland Clans, and the Council of Wizards descended from a race of foreign invaders—are held in a delicate balance by the line of ... Read More »

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 »

Book Review: In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez

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In the Company of Ogres—buy it by A. Lee Martinez—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ Never Dead Ned lives a life of quiet mediocrity, crunching numbers in the accounting department of a mercenary army called Brute’s Legion. His only talent is dying, which he has done hundreds of times and in nearly as many ways. And, of course, there is the bit where he keeps coming back to life. It’s not strictly true that he’s never ... Read More »