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Posts Tagged ‘magic’

These books are fascinatingly written. The frame story is that there are legends, songs, and tales about the women of Great Alta, and that historians fight constantly about the meanings of these legends.  Each chapter includes some “history”, some “legend” and then the “true story” of what really happened.  The women of Great Alta (and their shadow sisters) have a complex and magical way of life, which is brought to life all the more fully through the layered way Yolen constructs the books. The books are a great commentary on what we do or do not know about past cultures.

Author: Jane Yolen

Order: Sister Light, Sister Dark; White Jenna; The One-Armed Queen

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Pierce excels at strong girl characters, and Beka is no exception.  Placed two centuries before the Alanna books, the Beka series explores Tortall in a somewhat darker, grittier time.  Beka wants nothing more than to be a Dog, a policewoman in the toughest neighborhood in the city.  She is smart, tough, and can listen to ghosts.  Useful.  The first two books follow her rise from the rank of Puppy to Dog, and the final book should cover her life as an adult policewoman.  N.B., she shares a last name with George Cooper, the King of Thieves from the Alanna books.

Author: Tamora Pierce

Order: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff (due October 2011)

Tortall Series: Song of the LionessImmortals; Protector of the Small; TricksterBeka Cooper

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Retold fairy tales are some of my favorite books.  This one retells Cinderella, complete with awful stepsisters and stepmother.  However, her fairy godmother is now a fairy wannabe-lover (maybe), and she really wants the attention of the Huntress, not the Prince.  While I generally liked this book, I think it thought it was more complex than I think it really was.  There were a few plot-lines that didn’t totally gel, and some stuff felt left out and somewhat random.  It came up on my list as a GLBT book, but the gay didn’t turn up until the last few pages.

Author: Malinda Lo

Series: There seems to be a prequel, called Huntress

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In one kingdom, Gracelings are people born with two different eye colors and mystical powers.  Some Gracelings have useful Graces, others are mistrusted.  In another kingdom, separated by almost-impassible mountains, Monsters are found everywhere – magical and vicious versions of common animals.  There is only one human Monster, and her name is Fire. Cashore has created an interesting world, and I imagine future books will explore all the various ramifications of Gracelings, Monsters, and other magical beings.  These books are also a study of human nature – what makes us who we are?  What do we do because of it?

Author: Kristin Cashore

Order: Graceling; Fire; Bitterblue (tentative title)

Series still being written.

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Author: Michelle Paver

A well-imagined series set in Ice Age Europe.  Torak must make his way through the intrigues of sorcerers, clan tensions, and becoming an adult.  Luckily, he usually has his friends Wolf and/or Renn at his side to help keep him on the road.  Paver did good research for these books, so the way of life rings true.  Wolf is absolutely wolf-like, and the magic is just on the edge of believability – you could read it as magic or as magical thinking, depending on your proclivities. A great preview for a trip to a natural history or anthropology museum.

Order: Wolf Brother, Spirit Walker, Soul Eater, Outcast, Oath Breaker, Ghost Hunter

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