Fantasy and Magical Realism


Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. (Zeroes, Book 1) Simon Pulse, 2015.
Not all powers are super. Not all consequences are intended. And when you are a teenager with abilities you don’t understand and nobody else has, using that power is always dangerous. What do you do? Where do you turn? And is teaming up with a handful of other teens in the same boat a comfort, an alliance, or just a chance to multiply all that power, be it beneficial or destructive?
Book Two: Swarm (2016)

Taran Matharu. The Novice [Summoner #1] (Feiwel and Friends, 2015)
An excellent start to a dark fantasy series. The human world are count between competing wars with the orcs on one front and the elves on another, and must contend with the dwarves as a subjugated people within their empire. The battlemages are their greatest weapons, unleashing magic and demons on the enemy. But there are far too few; so few that commoners and other marginalized adepts are now being trained. But a nameless orphan from the very edges of the empire? Ultimately, what really matters is power, and power can come from all kinds of sources. For those who love Jonathan Stroud, wish John Flanagan had more of a supernatural edge, or have simply outgrown Harry Potter.
Book #2: The Inquisition (2016)
Book #3: The Battlemage (2017)


Tony Abbott. “The Secrets of Droon” (Series)

Tony Abbott. “Underworlds” (Series)
The Battle Begins. [Book One] (Scholastic, 2011)
When Monsters Escape. [Book Two] (Scholastic, 2012)
Revenge of the Scorpion King. [Book Three] (Scholastic, 2012)
The Ice Dragon. [Book Four] (Scholastic, 2012)
Owen Brown is unaware of all the underworlds of mythology, until they find a hole in our world where his best friend is standing. Suddenly, Dana is missing and Owen is on a quest to drag her back from the land of the dead. For all those aspiring Rick Riordan readers out there, here is where your quest begins.

Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. “The Starcatchers” (Series)

Royce Buckingham. Demonkeeper. (Putnam Juvenile, 2007)

Royce Buckingham. Goblins! An Underearth Adventure. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008)

Sharon Creech. The Boy on the Porch. (Joanna Cotler Books, 2013)
Can a child be so much the pure embodiment of childhood that he is known simply as “boy”? Can such a child be truly lost, even if he has no home, no family, no past, and no voice? And what can such a child do for two adults who have everything, but are still lost themselves? It’s a modern parable with an air of magic.

Ann Downer. Hatching Magic. (Aladdin, 2003)

Jeanne DuPrau. “Books of Ember” (Series)

Nancy Farmer. Sea of Trolls. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004)

John Flanagan. “Rangers Apprentice.” (Series):
The Ruins of Gorlan. (Puffin, 2005)
The Burning Bridge. (Philomel, 2006)
The Icebound Land. (Philomel, 2007)
The Battle for Skandia. (Philomel, 2008)
The Sorcerer of the North. (Philomel, 2008)
The Siege of Macindaw. (Philomel, 2009)
The conclusion to the story begun in The Sorcerer of the North. Ranger Will must plot the overthrow of a castle with his usual young and talented friends, the warrior Horace and the diplomat Alyss, and his usual ragtag cast of supporters. In this case it is a handful of berzerking Skandians and the shadowy and mysterious inhabitants of a haunted forest.
Erak’s Ransom. (Philomel, 2010)
The Kings of Clonmel. (Philomel, 2010)
Halt’s Peril. (Philomel, 2010)

John Flanagan. The Brotherhood Chronicles [Series] The Ranger’s Apprentice series is dead, long live The Brotherhood Chronicles! Flanagan doesn’t wander far from the formula that made his earlier series such a joy: heroism, courage, character, and fast-paced action. There are new characters and new challenges in the same world, and the new hero Hal will gain loyal followers from the outset.
The Outcasts. [The Brotherhood Chronicles, Book 1] (Philomel, 2011)
The Ranger’s Apprentice series is dead, long live The Brotherhood Chronicles! Flanagan doesn’t wander far from the formula that made his earlier series such a joy: heroism, courage, character, and fast-paced action. There are new characters and new challenges in the same world, and the new hero Hal will gain loyal followers from the outset.
The Hunters. [Brotherband Chronicles, Book 3] (Philomel, 2012)
Book three finds the end of the epic quest by Hal and the Heron Brotherband to retrieve the lost treasure of the Skandians from a band of vicious pirates. Half-grown, under-sized, and outnumbered three-to-one, the Brotherband must rely on the brains and daring of their leader, their unwavering loyalty to each other, and a ship like no other on the ocean. John Flanagan is the master of epic, non-magical fantasy for middle and high school readers.

Julie Hahnke. The Grey Ghost. (PublishingWorks, 2009)

Kate Klimo and John Shroades. “Dragon Keepers” (Series)

D.J. MacHale. “Pendragon” (Series)

Kenneth Oppel. Silverwing. (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 1997)
Sunwing. (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2000)
Firewing. (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2003)
Darkwing. (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2007)

Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. “Never Land” (Series)

Trevor Pryce, with Joel Naftali, illustrated by Sanford Greene. An Army of Frogs: a Kulipari Novel. (Amulet Books, 2013)
They are frogs, not hobbits, but this tale of adventure, sacrifice, and good verses evil is the perfect introduction to fantasy for those who will soon be reading Tolkien.

Rick Riordan. “The Heroes of Olympus” (Series)
The Lost Hero. [Book One] (Hyperion, 2010)
Riordan returns to his world of classical mythology meets modern times, and all the magic is still there. Percy Jackson is gone (one of the central plot elements) making room for new heroes and a new look at Camp Half Blood, a new way of seeing the gods, and all new terrors from the netherworld.

Rick Riordan. “The Kane Chronicles” (Series):
The Red Pyramid. (Disney Hyperion, 2010)
Hold onto your butts. The ancient gods and goddesses are REAL! No, not the Greek gods and goddesses, that was Rick Riordan’s other series. And two kids are descended from the gods. No, they aren’t the direct children of gods, that’s Rick Riordan’s other series. There’s a war brewing, and the descendants of the gods must play their part. Yeah, I know, that was in the other series too, but if the kids loved Percy Jackson (and what kid didn’t?) they will line up for The Red Pyramid, Book One of the Kane chronicles.

Rick Riordan. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” (Series)

Emily Rodda. “Deltora Quest” (Series)

Emily Rodda. “Deltora Shadowlands” (Series)

Emily Rodda. “Dragons of Deltora” (Series)

J. K. Rowling. “Harry Potter” (Series)

Louis Sachar. Holes. (Farrar, Straus, Giraux, 1998)

Jon Scieszka. “The Time Warp Trio” (Series)

Jeff Stone. “The Five Ancestors.” (Series)

Jonathan Stroud. Heroes of the Valley. (Hyperion Books for Children, 2009)

Michael Sullivan. The Sapphire Knight. (PublishingWorks, 2009)
A young traveler sits beside a fire on an open heath and hears a most amazing tale from a broken and disfigured old man, a tale of sorcery and battle between the light of a great white castle and the dark green wood, between the White Lady and the Green Queen. Caught between two great powers, a young knight must discover truth and his own courage to defend that truth. But is it just an idle tale of a lying old man, or is it the true history of the Sapphire Knight?

J. R. R. Tolkien. The Hobbit. (Ballantine, 1999)

Vivian Vande Velde. Wizard at Work. (Magic Carpet Books, 2003)

David Ward. “The Grassland Trilogy” (Series)
Escape the Mask. (Amulet Books, 2008)
Beneath the Mask. (Amulet Books, 2008)
Beyond the Mask. (Amulat Books, 2009)


Primarily for Teen Guys:


Cyn Balog. Touched. (Delacorte, 2012) Nick Cross remembers getting married, having kids and grandkids, and growing old. He also remembers becoming a crack addict in a loveless marriage to a Vegas stripper and being murdered in a drug deal in his early twenties. Nick remembers many lives, none of which have happened… yet. Nick is just 18 years old.

Philip Caveney. “Sebastian Darke” (Series)

Kathleen Duey. “A Resurrection of Magic” (Series):
Skin Hunger. (Atheneum, 2007)
Sacred Scars. (Atheneum, 2009)

Nancy Farmer. The House of the Scorpion. (Atheneum, 2002)

Mark Frost. The Paladin Prophecy. (Random House, 2012) A wild genre mash-up with enough Tolkien references for any fantasy fan, enough gadgetry for Men in Black sci-fi nuts, and enough creepy darkness for those gothic horror/Darren Shan aficionados.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2)

Alison Goodman. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. (Viking Juvenile, 2008) There has been a recent trend towards fantasy based on the martial arts, from Jeff Stone’s The Five Ancestors to Lian Hearn’s Tales of the Otori. Alison Goodman has the latest entrant, with Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. The power of twelve dragons stands behind the empire, and each dragon works through his appointed emmissary and an apprentice. But the most powerful dragon of all has deserted the world for centuries until the most unlikely of apprentices is called. Plenty of swordplay and powerful magic in this epic fantasy based on karate and Chinese mythology.

Lian Hearn. “Tales of the Otori” (Series)

Christopher Moore. Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings. (Morrow, 2003)

Jennifer A. Nielsen. “The Ascendance Trilogy” (Series)
The False Prince. [Book One] (Scholastic, 2012)
The Runaway King. [Book Two] (Scholastic, 2012)
A kingdom on the brink of civil war, facing enemies within and without its borders, torn by the ambitions of great men. The kingdom needs its lost prince, and one nobleman aims to give the kingdom what it needs, even if he has to make the prince from nothing. Enter Sage, an orphan boy and a thief, who lives for himself, destitute but free. Will he be his own man, the puppet of a powerful schemer, or the prince his kingdom needs him to be? And must he be just one?

Christopher Paolini. “Inheritance” (Series):
Eragon. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2003)
Eldest. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005)
Brisingr. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008)

Terry Pratchett. “Discworld” Series

Ken Scholes. Lamentation. (Tor, 2009) In a post-apocalyptic world, centuries after the folly of man has pushed civilization to the brink, the world has been reordered and brought together again, until an ancient evil is recalled to destroy the center of this emerging civilization. Now all powers strive, in ways both forthright and subtle, to fill the void and dominate what is left over. At the center of the storm is a warrior of great destiny, a boy caught in the whirlwind, a woman who is being played like a piece on a board, and a long-dead leader who has returned to this turbulant world in hopes of saving it. Passion, power, ambition, and enlightment mix in a fast-paced tale of a world that yet may be.

Michael Scott. “The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel” (Series):
The Alchemyst. (Delacorte, 2007)
The Magician. (Delacorte, 2008)
The Sorceress. (Delacorte, 2009)

Darren Shan. The Thin Executioner. (Little, Brown, 2010) From the author of The Cirque Du Freak and Demonata series comes a… what? Gothic horror? Dark fantasy? Or a religious allegory in the mold of Pilgrim’s Progress? Forget the labels and get lost in the quest of Jebel Rum to find the firy mountain home of a terrible God, all in search of the honor and glory that is due a hero. What he finds instead is the kind of strength of which heroes are made.

Neal Shusterman. Bruiser. (HarperTeen, 2010) Gift? Or curse? To be able to take the pain from those you love; to be unable not to take the pain of those you love. Pain is part of what makes us human, what does it make us if someone takes our pain away? And what does it make them?

Rebecca Stead. First Light. (Wendy Lamb Books, 2007)

The Ring of Solomon

Jonathan Stroud. “The Bartimaeus Trilogy” (Series): The Amulet of Samarkand. (Miramax, 2003)
The Golem’s Eye. (Miramax, 2004)
Ptolemy’s Gate. (Miramax, 2005)Jonathan Stroud. The Ring of Solomon: A Bartimaeus Novel. (Hyperion, 2010)Everyone’s favorite sarcastic djinni is back and in fine form, if he does say so himself. Powerful magic will be summoned, and powerful magicians will be eaten, in this fantasy followup to the Bartimaeus Trilogy.J. R. R. Tolkien. “The Lord of the Rings” (Series)

J. R. R. Tolkien. The Silmarillion. (Mariner Books, 2001)

Nahoko Uehashi. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. (Scholastic, 2008) Here is a Japanese fantasy that reads like Manga it is so descriptive. A powerful piece of mythology with plenty of swordplay and heroic fantasy elements.

Zombies Vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns. Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) Don’t be fooled into thinking these stories fall into predictable lines, girly unicorns and blood-thirsty zombies. Garth Nix and Kathleen Duey bat for Team Unicorn. Libra Bray is on Team Zombie. Unicorns are sometimes vicious killers, and zombies fall in love. For the three people who ever, before this, dreamed of a zombie/unicorn book, you never dreamed it would be like this. Three words: Rainbow… farting…unicorns!