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Staff Reviews: Fantasy

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Norroway'

"Norroway" by Kit and Cat Seaton

★★★★★ Once upon a time, a mother with three daughters decided it was time for them to marry. "Look out the back door and the first thing you see is your destiny." The first daughter sees a wealthy farmer.  The second daughters sees a fine prince.  The third daughter sees a large black bull.  So begins the fairy tale, "The Black Bull of Norroway...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Changeling: A novel'

"The Changeling: A novel" by Victor La Valle

★★★★★ One night, Apollo Kagwa's wife, Emma, chains him to a chair, kills their infant son and disappears.  Was it postpartum depression or something much worse?  He sets out to discover whether his wife is still alive and what exactly happened to his son.  Apollo has some baggage of his own that he has to grapple with along the way,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fiction

Cover: 'The Hike'

"The Hike" by Drew Magary

★★★★ Ben is an average thirtysomething family man who embarks on what he believes will be a short hike in rural Pennsylvania. Ben quickly becomes lost when he is pursued by knife-wielding, Rottweiler-faced maniacs and falls deeper into the woods. With no choice but to move forward on the path he's found himself on, Ben soon finds himself farther away...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'No Such Thing As Dragons'

"No Such Thing As Dragons" by Philip Reeve

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Ansel, a mute boy, is sold by his father to Brock, a self-proclaimed dragon slayer who needs someone who will keep his secrets safe. They travel town to town on horseback searching for food and shelter in exchange for protecting villagers from dragons. In Drachenberg, his master accepts a quest to climb the steep mountain and rid the village...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'A Discovery of Witches'

"A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

★★★ Diana Bishop, an Oxford scholar and non-practicing witch, discovers a long-lost alchemical manuscript that promises to reveal the origins (and future) of all supernatural species: witches, vampires, and "demons." However, Diana's reluctance to share this discovery puts her at odds with the supernatural community and drives her into an unlikely romance with...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Cover: 'Valiant'

"Valiant" by Sarah Mc Guire

★★★★★ After her mother’s death, Saville’s father, who is a tailor more in love with his precious material than his family, moves them to a small, gloomy, dirty shop in the city of Reggen. Soon after, her father suffers what appears to be a massive stroke, leaving him bedridden and Saville with the responsibility for his care as well as their livelihood. Despising...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fantasy

Cover: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

★★★★★ Taking place 19 years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Harry Potter and his wife, Ginny, are happily raising their kids James, Albus, and Lily. Harry, the head of Magical Law Enforcement, finds it hard to connect with Albus, who leaves for his first year at Hogwarts as the story begins. Over the next few years, Albus becomes an...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Shadow Hour'

"The Shadow Hour" by Melissa Grey

★★★★★ This follow up to "The Girl at Midnight" did not disappoint! Echo and her diverse crew may have survived their quest to discover the firebird, but the promised peace is a distant promise at best. Hidden away in a London safe house, they’ve escaped the detection of the two warring races (the Avicen and Drakharin) who covet the firebird and consider them...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Cover: 'The Door By the Staircase'

"The Door By the Staircase" by Katherine Marsh, Kelly Murphy

★★★★★ Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes is miserable. She is so miserable that she attempts an escape up the small, sooty stovepipe from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies, where, as an older child, there’s literally no chance of getting adopted, especially when the head mistress dislikes you. So when an old woman with a big nose, Madame Z, shows up to adopt her, she’s...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Shadow Queen'

"The Shadow Queen" by C. J. Redwine

★★★★ For nine years, Lorelai, Crown Princess of Ravenspire, and her younger brother Leo have been living as fugitives presumed dead. With former servant Gabril as their mentor and advisor, they have quietly been planning their challenge to the evil queen’s throne. Queen Irina, their aunt and step-mother, uses dark magic to keep control of the kingdom, draining...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle'

"The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle" by Janet Fox

★★★★★ Amid warnings from the train stationmaster about Rookskill Castle in Scotland being peculiar, haunted, with grinding and screeching noises and rumors of kids disappearing, the Bateson children, Katherine (Kat), Robbie, Amelie, and Peter, an American boy, proceed to the castle anyway. Actually, what choice do they have? They’re kids who are sent to this...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Wrinkled Crown'

"The Wrinkled Crown" by Anne Nesbet

★★★★ Linny’s twelfth birthday is fast approaching and she’s being watched and protected even more than usual, lest she fall victim to an ancient curse. She is forbidden to touch a lourka instrument, but the call of music and the lourka is so irresistible that she secretly builds one. When she is compelled to play it on the eve of her birthday, her best friend...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition'

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition" by J. K. Rowling, Jim Kay

★★★★★ For fans of the Harry Potter series, this beautiful new release of the first book in the beloved series is a must read! With full color illustrations at least every few pages, this is a new, fantastic way to read the book that brought us the magical world J.K. Rowling created. Perfect for devoted fans, this version is also great for those looking for a more...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'My Diary from the Edge of the World'

"My Diary from the Edge of the World" by Jodi Lynn Anderson

★★★★★ Gracie Lockwood lives in Cliffden, Maine, an ordinary enough sounding city, but it is anything but ordinary. Her world is populated with flying dragons, sasquatches, giants, mermaids, witches and angels. Gracie loves her home, but when the dreaded Dark Cloud begins hanging around, apparently in search of her sickly brother Sam, her family flees in a...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Their Fractured Light'

"Their Fractured Light" by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ Two years ago, Tarver and Lilac survived the Icarus crash that was planned by LaRoux Industries. One year ago Flynn and Jubilee shared the truth about the corrupt LaRoux Industries with the entire galaxy after an investigation on the planet Verona. In the final installment of the Starbound trilogy, we meet Sofia and Gideon. Sofia is looking to kill Roderick...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Cover: 'The Blackthorn Key'

"The Blackthorn Key" by Kevin Sands

★★★★★ An orphan, Christopher Rowe feels lucky to be chosen as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, a great and kind apothecary. In order to keep recipes for his medicines and potions secret, his master uses complex codes and puzzles which Christopher is being taught to decipher. But when his master is brutally killed and a strange cult appears to be...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Winter'

"Winter" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★★ In the final installment of The Lunar Chronicles, Princess Winter joins Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in a revolution to bring down her evil stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter is beautiful, kind, and the people of Luna adore her. When Levana orders Winter's death due to her beauty and popularity, Winter escapes thanks to Jacin, her lifetime friend and love...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Carry On'

"Carry On" by Rainbow Rowell

★★★★ Simon Snow is “The Chosen One,” or so he’s always told by his mentor, the Mage of the Magickal World. Simon wants to enjoy his senior year at the Watford School of Magicks, but being “The Chosen One” means being attacked by the Humdrum, an evil being who wants to take down Simon and is leaving magical dead spots all over the world. Besides the Humdrum,...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Eighth Day'

"The Eighth Day" by Dianne K. Salerni, David McClellan

★★★★ In this fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old orphan Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day. The eighth day is an extra twenty-four hours between Wednesday and Thursday. Jax along with other gifted people live on the eighth day, an extra day of the week. Jax meets a mysterious girl named Evangeline imprisoned next door locked in the eighth day. The girl is...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Beastkeeper'

"Beastkeeper" by Cat Hellisen

★★★★★ Snow is predicted and her mother is freezing, so Sarah immediately looks for signs that they’re moving as they always do when it turns cold. But this time her mother walks out without Sarah and her dad. As she’s struggling to cope without her mother, her grieving father starts changing into a hairy, wild creature. Before he transforms completely, he drops...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Castle Hangnail'

"Castle Hangnail" by Ursula Vernon

★★★★ The minions at Castle Hangnail are desperate. In order to keep the castle they love they need a new master for magic and evil responsibilities or the Board of Magic will force closure. But when Molly, who is short and barely 12-years-old, shows up on their doorstep and claims to be a wicked witch, they are doubtful she’s the real thing. While she’s trying...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Illusions of Fate'

"Illusions of Fate" by Kiersten White

★★★★★ This title was recommended to me as "Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series" and it certainly lives up to the comparison. Jessamin travels to the aristocratic country of Albion in pursuit of an education. As an islander from the nearby country of Melei, she is considered a lower caste than the fair-skinned residents of Albion, and...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Cure for Dreaming'

"The Cure for Dreaming" by Cat Winters

★★★★ Morris Award Finalist Cat Winters follows her debut novel with this unique and terrifying story about a teenage girl who discovers she can see frightening images after undergoing hypnosis. Set in 1900 in Portland, Oregon, “The Cure for Dreaming” is the story of Olivia Mead, an outspoken proponent of the right to vote for women. Her father decides to have a...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'One Witch at a Time'

"One Witch at a Time" by Stacy DeKeyser

★★★★ Loosely based on the fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk”, the trouble begins when 13 year old Rudi is sent to market with Susanna to trade dairy products for meat and grain and possibly sell a cow. Susanna, in an effort to help him, sells one of his cows for some allegedly magic beans. It turns out that the beans were stolen from a witch in the neighboring...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Darkest Part of the Forest'

"The Darkest Part of the Forest" by Holly Black

★★★★★ This young adult novel takes us deep into the world of Faerie. Hazel and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold where humans and Folk live side by side in an uneasy form of peace. In the woods lies a horned boy in a glass coffin. Tourists come to gawk and debunk him as a myth and the locals adore him. His grove has become the party hangout for...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

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