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Sunday, April 28, 2013

St. George's Day: Fantasy, Paranormal and Science Fiction

We're wrapping up our celebration of St. George's Day and all things English looking at a super-rich history of English fantasy...

    

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them... This is not on the granddaddy of English fantasy, but the granddaddy of all fantasy. This omnibus edition has the entire trilogy plus The Hobbit.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett. When the Queen of Fairies kidnaps her brother, Tiffany (along with the Nac Mac Feegles and a talking toad) venture into the darkness and nightmares of Fairie to get him back. This is the first in the Tiffany Aching arc of Prachett's Discworld series.

Clubbing by Andi Watson, illustrated by Josh Howard. Exiled to her grandparent's Lake District golf resort after a minor incident involving a club, a fake ID, the cops, and a school night, Charlotte is set for a summer of drudgery. But then, a woman trying to tell her something is found murdered and drained of blood, with some weird symbol carved into her arm. The police rule it as suicide, but Charlotte and her friend Howard think differently.

    

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney. Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has just been apprenticed to the County Spook-- the man you call to deal with witches, ghosts, and other agents of the dark. The Spook has had many apprentices and Tom Ward will be his last. The first in one of my favorite series, follow it with Curse of the Bane.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Ford Prefect is a writer for the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy-- a handbook every space adventurer needs. He rescues hapless earthling Arthur Dent moments before the Earth is demolished to build a highway. This omnibus edition contains all 5 volumes of the trilogy. Remember to pack your towel.

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon are caught in an epic adventure to save the universe and stop the Magistrium from destroying the Dust. Ok, it's more complicated than that, but hard to explain in a few sentences. This omnibus edition contains all three books.

    

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This is a now-classic retelling of King Arthur, focusing on the role of the women and how they pull the strings of the throne. It's also a look at English life as Christianity starts to spread to the island, drastically changing life and society. Follow it with The Forest House.

Etiquette & Espionage b Gail Carriger. Taking place in the same Victorian steampunk world as her adult series, The Parasol Protectorate (which I also highly recommend for teen readers), Sophornia is horrified that she's being sent to finishing school. It gets better though when she realizes this is no ordinary school-- she's being trained as a spy. She and her new friends will need these skills as already there's a great mystery afoot. The first in the Finishing School series, the second, Curtsies & Conspiracies will be out in November.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. In the steampunk paranormal present, Queen Victoria still reigns and all of the aristocracy is undead (either vamped or wolved.) They have an uneasy relationship with human commoners and standing in the middle are the halvies-- people that Xandra and her siblings who are very much alive, but have heightened powers and mostly service as aristo protection details. But when Xandra's sister Dede kills herself, Xandra finds herself drawn into a rebellion plot and the knowledge that the world she loves and adores has a very, very dark underbelly. Published for adults, this has high teen appeal. Follow it with The Queen Is Dead.

What books would you add to the list?

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