Tag Archives: world-building

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: Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes

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Dirty Magic—buy it by Carol Hughes—about the author Recommended Ages: 12+ Joe Brooks, a boy who likes models and Monster Machine magazine, gets up in the middle of the night and finds that his bathroom door opens into a muddy plain stretching to the horizon all around. Suddenly Joe is in a strange, island world where the sun never shines, the war never ends, and the lost children who regularly appear out of nowhere never ... Read More »

Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

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The Long Earth—buy it by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter Recommended Ages: 13+ Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is part of the bedrock of the Book Trolley’s growing list of books to read after Harry Potter. Stephen Baxter is a science-fiction novelist, active since the early 1990s, whose forty-odd books I had never read or heard of until I found this book on CD, narrated by the talented Michael Fenton Stevens. Pratchett specializes in examining the ... 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: 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 »

Review: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

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Shades of Grey—buy it by Jasper Fforde—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Thanks to an audiobook expertly read by John Lee, I finally found the courage to bite into this woolly, dystopian, world-building type fantasy by the author of the “Thursday Next” novels. I admit, I had held paper copies of the book in my hands a few times, and considered buying or borrowing it, but my heart always failed me. I remembered what heavy going ... Read More »

Review: One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde

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One of Our Thursdays Is Missing—buy it by Jasper Fforde—his website Recommended Ages: 13+ If you haven’t read the first five “Thursday Next” fantasy-comedy-mystery-thrillers, or at least my reviews of them, I’m not sure how to begin to describe Book 6 to you. There’s just so much going on in them. Whether it is worth your while to find out what you’re missing, you may judge from a personal anecdote: While listening to Emily Gray ... Read More »