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March 31, 2015

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Next Up for Fantasy Readers!

Next Up for Fantasy Readers!

Today we review the first in one fantasy series and the second in another. Randy Henderson’s debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy, is fantasy with a good dose of humor, something that can be hugely popular with teens if it hits them right. (Our reviewer notes call-outs to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams!) The first three […]

Signal to Noise, Music & Magic

Signal to Noise, Music & Magic

I am so excited to introduce this small press title today. Signal to Noise is a perfect young adult crossover novel, full of appeal, diverse characters & setting, wonderful writing–and magic. What I love about this book is that even in the 2009 sections, when its characters are adults, Meche still has that sulky teen […]

Gretel All Grown Up

Gretel All Grown Up

At the opposite end of fairy-tale retellings from the gritty 2013 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, comes this delightful cozy mystery, the first in a prospective series starring the same Gretel, grown-up and solving crimes. Regular readers know my affection for fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, and while I haven’t read this one yet, […]

A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab is no stranger to writing for young readers. She has published The Near Witch and the Archived novels for teens and the middle grade Everyday Angel series. Last year her adult debut, Vicious, was the top fantasy pick on the RUSA Reading List. A Darker Shade of Magic made February’s Library Reads. It […]

Cover Reveal: Beast in the Mirror by Laura Bradley Rede

Cover Reveal: Beast in the Mirror by Laura Bradley Rede

We’re excited to share with you the cover reveal for Beast in the Mirror, Laura Bradley Rede’s forthcoming LGBT fantasy novella. Laura is a Minnesota author who I had the pleasure of meeting this past summer when she came to visit the YA book club I facilitate through the public library. We had a great time […]

Before and After the Apocalypse

Before and After the Apocalypse

Two science fiction thrillers on review today, from two new Simon & Schuster imprints that highlight speculative fiction: Saga Press and Simon451. Lee Kelly‘s debut, City of Savages, could easily have been published YA. It alternates two YA narrators, sisters, as they survive post-WWIII Manhattan. This is a good post-apocalyptic novel, and readers experience the war itself […]

Witches, Weapons, and Warfare | “Seventh Son” Movie Review

Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin (Photo Credit: Kimberly French)

Like a magic potion, the big budget, special effects extravaganza Seventh Son, based on Joseph Delaney’s The Last Apprentice takes a dash of this and a pinch of that for a concoction that’s more mild than potent. It’s the perfect formula for a B-movie on a wintry afternoon.

Red Rising and The Bone Season continue

Red Rising and The Bone Season continue

Two of 2014′s stand-out debuts continue! Pierce Brown’s Red Rising was on our Best of the Year list. The second book of the trilogy is even better. EW posted a great interview with the author (mind those spoilers!) and you can see the cover of the trilogy finale, Morning Star, on Brown’s website. The Mime Order is the […]

Royal Intrigue and Superpowers: SLJ Chats with Debut Novelist Victoria Aveyard About “Red Queen”

Victoria Aveyard

Rich world-building, enigmatic characters, and a breakneck pace mark Victoria Aveyard’s debut, Red Queen, as possibly “The Next Big Thing.” SLJ caught up with the author to discuss her inspiration for the epic fantasy/dystopian series.

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The tagline plastered on the back of Fred Venturini’s debut novel–”Every superhero needs to start somewhere”–may draw in readers, but it may mislead them as well. It is true that the novel’s protagonist, Dale Sampson, has a superheroic ability to regenerate his limbs, but the novel is much less of an origin story than it […]

High Marks from Teens for Medieval Magic and McCloud’s “The Sculptor”

Scott McCloud

Science continues to surface in contemporary fiction, and titles with magical settings still hold their edge. Scott McCloud’s impactful graphic novel The Sculptor examines one man’s countdown through his last 200 days alive.

Review of the Day: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Review of the Day: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Cuckoo Song By Frances Hardinge Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams) $17.95 ISBN: 978-1419714801 Ages 10 and up On shelves May 12, 2015 I was watching the third Hobbit movie the other day (bear with me – I’m going somewhere with this) with no particular pleasure. There are few things in life more painful to […]

The World of Ice and Fire

The World of Ice and Fire

As this blog’s resident Game of Thrones reviewer (again, despite having never read the novels), I took it upon myself to read the newest entry into the world of The Song of Ice and Fire, a “nonfiction” companion to George R.R. Martin’s epic world. The book has Martin’s name above the title, but the smaller […]

First Frost

First Frost

Happy New Year! Given the frost on the ground in my usually balmy California home, I thought we would ring in the New Year here with the appropriately titled First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen–our first 2015 title, to boot. This book is an example of one of my favorite parts of this blog: when […]

Egg & Spoon

Egg & Spoon

Egg & Spoon, Gregory Maguire Candlewick Press, September 2014 Reviewed from final copy What an ingenious little (okay, big) book this is. Maguire is at his best when he’s being sly and subverting tropes and expectations; he did it to genius effect in Wicked, which remains one of my favorite novels, and while his overall […]

The Story of Owen

The Story of Owen

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston Published by Carolrhoda Lab, March 2014 Reviewed from final copy You know we’re not going to get out of here without a Trogdor reference, right? I mean, that’s not in any way the point or even relevant, but it’s still burninating me up […]

Magical Trilogies

Today we review the first books in three new speculative fiction series. Let’s begin with Charlie Holmberg‘s The Paper Magician series. We review the first, The Paper Magician, Holberg’s debut, published in September. The second in the series, The Glass Magician, is already available. Both are published by Amazon’s fantasy, science fiction and horror imprint, […]

Old Friends, Fresh Stories: New Middle Grade Fantasy

MidGradeFantasy_TN

Fantasy writing for children has a long and storied history, populated with all manner of heroic quests, forgotten prophecies, and strange magic. Despite its near-century of popularity, there is no sign of flagging enthusiasm for this much-beloved genre.

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

Please join me on Saturday the 25th at the Boston Book Festival for “Masters of Fantasy,” a panel discussion with Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes), Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial), and Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon). We’ll be talking about–well, I guess I should get on that right quick, as I’m […]

The post It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart appeared first on The Horn Book.

A Creature of Moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2014 Reviewed from ARC This is a book that, I’m pretty sure, was written just for me. I love fantasy, I love courtly politics, I love dragons and willful ladies. Somehow, though, even though my review is due, I have to confess that I’m […]