Posts tagged with "fantasy"
"All monsters are scared. That's why they're monsters.": A review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the newest book from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman (the Sandman comics, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods, two of the very best episodes of Doctor Who, and a zillion more awesome things). It is told in the form of a flashback, where the narrator (never named in the book) sits and remembers incidents from his childhood that had been long forgotten. He recalls an adventure he had after meeting his neighbor, Lettie Hempstock, who claimed that the pond behind her house was in fact an ocean. Lettie, along with her mother and grandmother, while loving and welcoming, are also magical and mysterious (like the body of water in their backyard). They lead the seven-year-old narrator on an adventure that begins wondrous and enchanting, but becomes increasingly fraught with peril and foreboding. Soon, his life, family, and in fact all of existence become endangered.
Gaiman’s narrator, a major bookworm, explains of his preference for myths over tales of other sorts: “They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than that. They just were.” Gaiman has written books for the very young and books for adults, but all have an almost timeless and ageless quality to them, and Ocean is no different. At under 200 pages, the book is a quick read, and while it’s currently marketed for adults, it’s perfect for teens. In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who’s searching for a fantasy book filled with the requisite magic and monsters, a story where terrifying beasties intrude on the quiet English countryside, or those looking to relive their childhood while realizing that you never really can, and probably shouldn’t.
Have you ever been to a psychic? Well, I've only been once, and it was a very surreal experience. You go in, and if you're a skeptic like me, you try and not believe anything the psychic tells you. I mean, are they really for real? Really? Really? With the internet and Google Glass becoming a reality, what if the psychic is just doing some crazy web researching while you're sitting there? Skeptic or not, it really is a thrilling experience and you get chills if anything the psychic says rings even close to home. (You're right, I do know a person named John Smith!)
Well, in the world of The Raven Boys, psychics are real. Like real. Real.
No one knows this better than Blue Sargent, a high schooler who comes from a family of psychics. Her mother is a psychic, her aunt is a psychic, but Blue doesn't seem to have the same third sight as the rest of her family. That doesn't mean she doesn't know what's coming for her though. She's told some pretty bad news: "If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die." Serious bummer.
When her mysterious aunt comes to town, she tells Blue some even more troubling news: "This is the year you'll fall in love." Double bummer.
Blue initially isn't so worried by these dark omens. I mean, obviously she wishes it wasn't the case, but she basically resigns herself to live a life without falling for anyone, and definitely not to kiss anyone she thinks she's falling for. But things get difficult when she befriends a group of wealthy boys, known as the Raven Boys, from the local swanky, private school called Aglionby. She quickly comes to realize that it's definitely fate that brings her and these boys together, which may mean the end of one of their lives.
The Raven Boys is an eerie story full of mystery, unsettling coincidences, and magic. It isn't just a story about Blue and the love she may or may not kill either! Each of the Raven Boys has an interesting backstory that makes you realize that money is something, but it isn't everything. Some of these Raven Boys are born with privilege, some make themselves privileged, and some will do anything for privilege.
This book is the first in a series and the twist ending will leave you antsy for the second one!
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in...with a bunch more reading recommendations! Here are some teen book suggestions from library staff outside of teen services, since you're all probably sick of us yelling at you to read books. Shannon, Carol, and Amy have written reviews of three unique but excellent. As always, you can find many more Intralibrary Teen Book Alliance recommendations here.
Could you live in a world where love was outlawed?
Lauren Oliver’s novel describes a futuristic Garden of Eden where teens are matched with a “life-mate” and then undergo a procedure to remove their capacity to love. Teens that flee or resist the procedure are known as “invalids” and are believed to “live like animals…filthy, hungry, desperate.”
When Lena and Alex must choose between the law and each other, they know that they are making an impossible decision. If they run away, they will lose their families. If they stay and undergo the procedure, they will lose the feelings that they have for their families – and each other.
The dramatic conclusion will leave you wondering… What would you risk for love?
Review by: Carol E.
Shai is a strong, independent girl who is very talented at what she does for a living. She is a forger. She doesn’t just copy things, however. She uses her magical skills to enhance the very essence of the item she is copying, consequently mirroring not just its appearance, but its entire history. She is so good at her job that she attracts the attention of the Emperor’s entourage. When the Emperor suddenly loses consciousness after an assassination attempt, they see Shai as their only hope against what they fear the most; the loss of their powerful positions in the Empire. In order to prevent a revolution, the Emperor’s highest ranking officials capture Shai in the midst of a forgery, and force her to choose between being sentenced to death, or accepting a job they believe she will not pass up. They challenge her to forge their Emperor’s soul.
This is a cleverly written fantasy with a unique storyline, and character development that usually needs at least twice as many pages to pull off. Shai’s personality draws you in so rapidly that before you know what is happening you are immersed in her world, and rooting for her to pull off the impossible. Not only are you pleasantly surprised by the ending, but you get there so quickly that you are almost sorry to see that it is over. Sanderson is well known for his epic fantasies, and more recently for completing the Wheel of Time saga, but this first attempt at a novella was undeniably a success, as well as a Hugo award winner. Marketed for both adults as well as teens, it is absolutely worth reading.
Review by: Shannon M.
Weetzie Bat, a high school girl in Los Angeles, is best friends with Dirk. Weetzie and Dirk have adventures after high school when they find a genie in a magic lamp who grants them three wishes. Weetzie and Dirk both find love and have many adventures together with their significant others. This book is a quick read and is fun with its whimsical tone and some bits of magic mixed in with the reality of life. If you are looking for a book that will take you on an adventure, then this is the book for you.
Review by: Amy H.
Now that it's all snowy and wintery outside, my very favorite thing to do is to light a fire (preferably in a fireplace) and cuddle up under a blanket with a warm drink and (most important ingredient) a good book. My favorite books to do this with are often fantasies or science fiction (The Dark is Rising, The Magicians, and A Wrinkle in Time are perfect examples.) I really enjoy anything long and involved with a completely unique world that I can get completely lost in. (Even better if the unique world exists just beneath our own reality.) It's super-extra fun if the book takes place in winter. (Think along the lines of City of Thieves, Blankets, and The Golden Compass.) That way, I can feel all lucky and superior to the characters freezing their tails off.
In addition to the books posted here, we’ve got a display in the HUB of more “Books to Keep You Warm.” Come in and grab some great titles to take home and make your own magical toasty story cocoon. You’ll just need to provide your own fire, blanket, and cocoa/cider/coffee.
How about all of you? What books keep you warm when the snow is falling all around? Keep the convo going on our Facebook page, send us a Tweet, or just stop by the HUB to chat books.