Ten Fantastical Favorites ~ Christine Brodien-Jones

Here are ten books that influenced and inspired my writing~

by David Almond - A brilliant, mystical gem of a book that blends the supernatural and the ordinary when ten-year-old Michael discovers a strange being in his garage. What is Skellig? Man, bird, angel – or a beast that’s never been seen before? I loved how Michael and his friend Mina dared to carry this unearthly creature out into the light.

THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Philip Pullman – No reader can help but fall in love with Lyra, the book’s tough, sassy, street-wise heroine; drawn into a terrifying struggle, she travels with her daemon to the far North. I never wanted Lyra’s journey to end, wishing that I could have a personal daemon of my own.

THE ALCHEMYST {The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel} by Michael Scott – A cracking adventure-fantasy mixing myth and legend with the present. Shortly after twins Sophie and Josh meet the immortal alchemyst Nicholas Flamel, an ancient book is lost, unleashing terrifying mythical creatures such as the Egyptian cat-goddess Bastet, a vegetarian vampire, Golems, and the three-faced Greek Hekate. A wild, magical ride.

THE DARK IS RISING – Eerie and atmospheric, this is the second novel in Susan Cooper’s quintet, set in rural England in the dark of winter. Life for Will turns strange and wonderful as he learns about his heritage—and his role in the battle against the rising Dark.

THE CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau – In Ember, an underground post-apocalyptic city, supplies are failing and blackouts are frequent. Two friends, Lina and Doon, team up to decipher an ancient message and find a way to save the citizens of this dying city. Compelling, original.

A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula K. Le Guin – An unforgettable tale of wizards, dragons and shadows. Sparrowhawk, a student of magic driven by pride and jealousy, meddles with dangerous powers, letting loose a terrible evil on the land. From the first page I was caught by the spell of this imaginary world—and the shadow-beast that hunts the reckless boy to the far corners of Earthsea.

FLOODLAND by Marcus Sedgwick – In the watery landscape of a future England, where the sea is rising, a girl named Zoe sets off to find her lost parents in this tale of courage and determination. The scenes of submerged lands are mesmerizing, as is the chaos among a raggle-taggle group seeking shelter on Eels Island.

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry - Jonas lives in a tightly-controlled futuristic society where there is no poverty, crime, illness or unemployment. As he trains to become the Receiver of Memories, he grows increasingly aware of the menacing undertones and the hypocrisy that rules his world. Chilling, intriguing, provocative.

THE TIGER RISING by Kate DiCamillo - A haunting, lyrical tale of a grieving young boy, Rob, who discovers a caged tiger and meets a feisty girl named Sistine, all on the same extraordinary day. Rob and Sistine stayed with me long after the book finished.

THE NAVIGATOR by Eoin McNamee – The strange, dazzling story of Owen, an outsider of a boy who is unexpectedly thrown out of his world and into another. When time flows backward, his family and familiar places vanish. In a terrifying battle, Owen must stop an ancient enemy, the Harsh, or else everything he knows will disappear—as if its never been. Dazzling, heart-stopping action. I loved the creepy Harsh, whose cold breath freezes humans.


  1. Thanks for this list, Christine. Given how much I loved several of the titles you mention here, I now have a great start to my summer reading list!

    -- Tom

  2. Hi Tom,
    Nice to hear you're a fan of these books, too. They're all fantasies I could easily return to and read again...and again!
    Am currently reading "The Sorceress," the third book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel series.

  3. I read the Earthsea Trilogy every January for years. LeGuin's writing is just wonderful. Kate DiCamillo has that same power over words, producing work that is as much lyrical poetry to me as it is prose.

    The Skellig is in my pack, ready for me to start diving into it this afternoon on the busride home.

    btw, I gave your entry here a shout-out on my blog, crediting you with forming my early summer reading list (http://tommfranklin.blogspot.com/2011/06/early-summer-reading-list.html)


    -- Tom


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