Category Archives: fantasy

Angel: Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel
I love James Patterson. This is the first young adult book of his that I have read. It was an and fun read. The book was fast paced with a good plot. I’m not into fantasy, but I can see the appeal to teenagers and fantasy lovers. These fantasy books are good to get young people interested in, and to keep them reading. I won’t be reading the other books in the series, it’s just not for me. But I am going to recommend the book for lovers of fantasy.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Shelley Clark
Rating: Recommended

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Paladin Prophecy

This YA trilogy focuses on Will West, and extraordinarily gifted athlete and scholar whose parents have always asked him to keep his gifts and abilities “under the radar.” As a 15-year old only child, Will has complied with their requests and maintained a close relationship with his parents as they have moved multiple times during his life. One morning, Will’s world changes drastically when representatives from “The Center,” an exclusive preparatory high school show up because he’s been careless with his parent’s instructions and scored off the charts on a national scholastic test. The adventure begins here as Will’s parents are attacked and Will flees to the refuge of The Center with the help of a stranger named Dave. Will realizes that there’s more to this world than just the people walking on it and begins dealing with creatures from the “Never Was” who can travel through time and space. At The Center, Will discovers that almost all of his suite-mates have special talents and abilities like his. They all become involved in uncovering a conspiracy known as The Knights of Charlemagne.

The story is entertaining, but it could have been better written with a few less loose ends. If you have a teen who enjoys Fantasy/Sci-Fi, this might be a series of interest. I am currently on the 2nd book in the series, but I have heard that the 3rd book does not conclude well and that you are left with many questions. It sounds like a series that won’t leave you feeling satisfied so that is why the rating is recommended with reservations.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Sandi Hauenstein
Rating:  Recommended with Reservations

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief

Honestly, this book is a must for any and all Greek mythology nerds (or any mythology nerds in general really). I saw the movie years ago and thought that it was alright, but now I completely agree with their large Percy Jackson fandom (highly prevalent on social media platforms, such as Tumblr), that the movie did not do the book the justice that it deserves (shocking, I know). It is the perfect book, in my opinion, to get younger readers interested in history and mythology. For an art history student who attempted to write a novel for her SMP, this book was actually really inspiring and has given me quite a few ideas for my own writing. The writing was easy to follow despite the fast-paced story line and characters and plot were very enjoyable. Most importantly, though, the mythology references were wonderful.

Availability: COSMOS, & USMAI
Submitted by: Breanna Thorne
Rating: Highly Recommended

Black Sun Rising, by C.S. Friedman

Black Sun Rising

This is a highly satisfying fantasy that takes place on another world. Following the tradition of fantasy novels, the world-building is superb, the characters are compelling, and the plot is, if somewhat predictable, redeemed by the sheer satisfaction of watching the characters struggle and ultimately prevail. In fact, the novel makes sure that what secrets are hidden from the characters can be uncovered by the attentive reader. Still, there are surprises.

For excellent writing, an intriguing magic system, and the fact that this book made me lose track of time for far too long, I give it a Highly Recommended, for those who want a nice book to get lost in.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Mary Korendyke
Rating: Highly Recommended

All the Birds in the Sky By Charlie Jane Anders

All the Birds in the SkyOutcasts as young teens, both Patricia and Laurence discover they have special abilities. Patricia is a witch that can talk to animals and transform into a bird. Laurence is a gifted science and computer nerd, who builds his first “two-second time machine” while still in elementary school. Although their abilities initially drive them apart, the two reconnect while living in San Francisco ten years later.

Charlie Jane Ander’s new novel, All the Birds in the Sky, is set in the near future, as climate change and international conflict threaten the existence of both humans and the earth as a whole. Laurence and Patricia must both harness their powers to build a viable future for humanity, while also bridging the gap between the “science” and “magic” communities.

As the editor of i09 and the winner of a Hugo Award for her short story “Six Months, Three Days,” Anders is very familiar with both sci-fi and fantasy. This playful book celebrates geek culture while also genuinely addressing the limitations of the genre – a great summer read!

Availability:  USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: Book published in 2016

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Buried Giant

This novel presents a dream-like tale of medieval England, a time after the age of King Arthur when ogres and dragons roamed the land. One dragon in particular has cursed the Britons and Saxons of the countryside with a “mist” that erases people’s memories of the past: their children’s faces, the acts of war that recently occurred between the two peoples.

The novel is driven by an elderly couple’s journey to visit their son’s village, a journey that is waylaid when they encounter a warrior and a boy and find themselves on a quest to slay the dragon who is fogging their memories.

I found the language of the novel to be stilted yet ephemeral, archly formal yet not grounded in a recognizable reality. Although some of the set pieces in the novel were compelling — a conversation with a boatman, a journey through an underground tunnel — I had to force myself to read the book quickly to maintain momentum.

The ending was affecting, however, with a thoughtful meditation on death, forgiveness, and vengeance. And I did find myself flipping back to the front of the novel to reread sections that gained a new resonance by the end. Overall, this book didn’t quite do it for me; it wasn’t simple enough to read as a straight allegory, yet it lacked the richness of detail to ground it as a more realist work. The same mist that fogged its characters’ memories also clouded my reading experience.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Michael Dunn
Rating: Recommended with Reservations

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front (Dresden Files)
Storm Front is book one of an ongoing series called the Dresden Files. It features Chicago’s only wizarding detective, Harry Dresden. Dresden is a bit more down on his luck than you might expect a wizard to be, but when an important case comes in he gets the job done, often explosively. The characterizations are generally well done, though some characters come off less than likeable and not in the fun anti-hero way. Additionally, while skepticism is always warranted, you’d think the police working in what amounts to the paranormal division would be a little more open minded to the opinions of a wizard. Presumably Dresden could demonstrate something nontrivally magic to them. Nonetheless, the story is a lot of fun and gets some additional points for its particular brand of humor. I look forwarding to reading more, but if the concept doesn’t interest you, the execution won’t salvage it.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Andrew Polgreen
Rating:  Recommended