Princess Magnolia lives in a castle. She wears a lot of pink and has perfect hair. While enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with busybody Duchess Wigtower, Princess Magnolia’s ring starts to vibrate. It’s a monster alarm that goes off when monsters are threatening the kingdom! Without revealing her secret identity, Magnolia turns into … the Princess in Black and escapes from the castle using her secret entrance. Magnolia discovers a big blue monster has entered the kingdom and threatens to eat goats and wreak havoc on the countryside.
King Hades, Lord of the Underworld (and one cool dude), tells mortal readers about Odysseus’s long, torturous trip as he tries to sail home after the Trojan War. Readers who think they know the story should think again!
Will is an artistic boy whose father works on the new mega-train, The Boundless. It is miles long, and is considered the greatest train ever built. It is so enormous that it even has a traveling circus! When Will stumbles upon a crime in progress, he needs to hide on the train to protect himself from the criminals. As he works his way from the caboose to the front, he encounters a circus owner/performer with designs on a magical painting in the front of the train. Together, and with a girl aerialist, they outwit the criminals.
Before the Thorskards moved to Trondheim, Ontario, the small town didn’t have a permanent dragon slayer. Most large towns and cities employ dragon slayers, but with the profession lacking new talent, supply and demand creates problems for the average town. Having famous dragon-slayer Lottie Thorskard move to town is like winning the lotto! Dragons are a constant threat, their insatiable appetites competing with mankind’s need for fossil fuels.
Karou’s art school classmates don’t know much about her, other than she is an orphan, has vivid blue hair that never fades, and fills her sketchbooks with drawings of fantastical beasts called Chimera. What her classmates don’t realize is that these characters aren’t from Karou’s imagination, but are actually her adopted family. Karou grew up in her adopted father, Brisbane’s, otherworldly trade shop.
In the thrilling conclusion to the Grisha trilogy, Leigh Bardugo has outdone herself again. We left Alina, the Sun Summoner, in a dark underworld ruled by the Apparats where there is no way she can summon the sun to give herself and those around her the sun’s power. Yet her people still worship her in her weakened state as a Saint, renowned for her ability to capture the sun’s energy as a holy force. Her best friend Mal concocts a plan to free Alina from her dark prison and strategizes how to free Ravka from the grip of the Darkling.
“Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place.” After being constantly on the move for the last five years, Felicity has finally made a friend and wishes more than anything that her wandering mother will let them stay in Midnight Gulch, a town that was once considered magical. When she participates in the town Duel (a talent contest), everyone’s luck changes and perhaps the magic has returned after all.
This gritty and excellently written fantasy novel follows three siblings of the recently slain emperor of Annur. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. This is fantasy at its best, with great character development, plot, and world building. After the twist at the end of this book, I can't wait for the next one!
SF/F STAVELEY, B.
And her name was Maleficent… This is actually the thinly-veiled story of Sleeping Beauty told from Maleficent’s point of view. Beginning with her idyllic childhood in the Moors, this story continues with her crush on Stefan and how he becomes king by betraying her, and then the curse she puts on his child, Aurora.
The second book in the Grisha trilogy, Siege and Storm finds Alina and Mal on a ship and on the run from the Darkling. It’s hard to keep her identity secret as they attempt to hide in a foreign land, but it’s not long before the Darkling reappears with a frightening new power. With help from an untrustworthy pioneer, Alina decides to return to Ravka and fight for her country. She struggles to be true to who she is as her power grows. Will she be truly alone with her power or will she sacrifice everything to save her country and those she loves?