Tag Archives: world-building

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 »

Book Review: Spirits in the Park by Scott Mebus

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Spirits in the Park—buy it by Scott Mebus—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book 2 of the trilogy titled “Gods of Manhattan”—which started with the book by the same name—young Rory Hennessy takes big strides toward fulfilling his destiny as the last surviving Light in the city, county, and state of New York. This sentence immediately confronts me with the problem that there is so much to explain, just so you can understand what I’m ... Read More »

Book Review: Perloo the Bold by Avi

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Perloo the Bold—buy it by Avi—his website Recommended Age: 12+ The author of Tales from Dimwood Forest brings us this intriguing fantasy novel for the young. Two tribes have been at war, on and off, as far back as history remembers: the rabbit-like Montmers and the coyote-like Felbarts. Among the few Montmers who know anything about this history, is bookish, shy Perloo. But when the old Granter of the Montmers is on her deathbed, she ... Read More »

Book Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Exiled Queen—buy it by Cinda Williams Chima—her website Recommended Ages: 13+ 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 ... Read More »