February Theme: Ten Fantasy Books I Love by Christine Brodien-Jones
Here are ten fantasy books I fell in love with over the years. Each one of them influenced my dystopian middle-grade novel The Owl Keeper in different ways:
1. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott ~ A cracking adventure/fantasy that mixes myth and legend with the present day. Shortly after twins Sophie and Josh meet the immortal alchemist Nichola Flamel, an ancient book is lost, unleashing mythical beasts such as the Egyptian cat-goddess Bastet, the Morrigan, and the three-faced Greek Hekate. A wild, magical ride.
2. The City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau ~ In Ember, an underground post-apocalyptic city, supplies are scarce 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. Brilliantly original.
3. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper ~ Eerie and atmospheric, set in rural England in the dark of winter. When Will discovers his true heritage, life turns strange and wonderful as he learns of his role in the battle against the Dark. Menacing, with supremely evil beings and surprise twists.
4. 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 amid a gang of kids seeking shelter on an island.
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ Jonas lives in a futuristic society where there is no poverty, crime, illness or unemployment. Training to become the Receiver of memories, he slowly grows aware of dark undercurrents, and the hypocrisy that rules his world. This book chilled me to the bones.
6. 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 - missing children, secret experiments, witch clans and armored bears - she travels with her daemon to the far North. I never wanted Lyra's epic journey to end, and found myself longing for a daemon of my own.
7. The Navigator by Eoin McNamee ~ Owen, an outsider of a boy, is unexpectedly thrown out of his world and into another: when time flows backward his family and familiar places vanish. Owen must stop an ancient enemy, the Harsh, or everything he knows will disappear. Dazzling, heart-stopping; I was intrigued by the creepy Harsh, whose breath freezes humans.
8. Skellig by David Almond ~ A mystical gem of a book that blends the supernatural and the ordinary when ten-year-old Michael discovers a strange being in the shadows of his garage. What is Skellig? Man, bird, angel - or a beast he's never seen before? I loved how Michael and his friend Mina dared to carry this unearthly creature out into the light.
9. 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 was finished.
10. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin ~ A stunning tale of wizards, dragons and shadows. Sparrowhawk, a student of magic, meddles with dangerous powers, setting loose a terrible evil. From the first page I was caught in the spell of this imaginary world, watching as the shadow-beast hunted Sparrowhawk to the far corners of Earthsea.