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Find the latest books for fans of fantasy stories and magical tales! We have extracts to download for most of our books plus expert reviews.
Kids are always being told that if they ‘dream their dreams’ one day those dreams will come true. ‘Living the dream’ is a very different experience for 11-going-on-12-year-old Malky in Ross Welford’s absorbing, vastly entertaining novel. Blackmailed into a bungled burglary, Malky becomes owner of a set of Dreaminators, mysterious machines that make dream worlds real and give the dreamer powers to control them. At first, Malky and his co-dreamer, little brother Seb, enjoy their night-time adventures, especially those in a Stone Age world closely based on Seb’s favourite storybook where they make friends, go hunting, and Seb has high hopes of riding a mammoth. If it seems too good to be true, of course it is, and as Malky’s ability to control what’s happening in his dreams weakens, everything – awake or asleep – starts to go wrong. When Seb is taken prisoner in a dream and falls into a life-threatening coma in real life, Malky has to face up to his responsibilities, not to mention the fears and anger his dreams have disguised, in one last terrifying dream. At least he has new friends there to help. The story is cleverly told and plotted, moving back and forward in time, from dream to reality, with Doctor Who ease. It’s full of humour too, e.g. a wonderful scene in the school canteen in which Malky does all the things he’s always dreamed of doing, not realising he’s actually awake. Core too are the really big things in life – friendship, love, family, learning about yourself and understanding others. It’s a book that delights in the fact that the inside of our head is bigger far than the outside. Readers who enjoy Welford’s excellent books will also race through Christopher Edge’s out-of-this world adventures.
Alston is a debut author who looked in vain for a hero or heroine who looked like him in fantasy novels – and this delivers and so much more too. Amari is a child who attends a posh school on a scholarship – but really finds it hard to fit in and avoid the bullies. Her mother is a hard-working health worker, and her brother Quinton is missing – his disappearance seems be the root of Amari’s difficulties. As the holidays approach Amari receives an invitation via a mysterious messenger to be considered for something (at this stage unexplained) – by attending an interview. From here on the story becomes a hugely imaginative, funny and compelling adventure. Magic and mystery flow thick and fast from this point on – as Amari takes her chances to prove herself and to start finding out what happened to her brother. The story takes you through the development of some close and lasting friendships, against some awful magical bullies and monsters, to an exciting and nail-biting adventurous conclusion, though it leaves a possible opening for more books about Amari in future. A wonderful fun adventure addition to every child's bookshelf and any school library looking for more representation across all it’s genres.
Ever since she can remember, Briseis has had power over plants. Flowers bloom in her footsteps and leaves turn to face her as though she were the sun. It's a power she and her adoptive mothers have spent her whole life trying to hide. And then Briseis inherits an old house from her birth mother and suddenly finds herself with the space and privacy to test her powers for the first time. But as Briseis starts to bring the house's rambling garden back to life, she finds she has also inherited generations of secrets. A hidden altar to a dark goddess, a lineage of witches stretching back to ancient times, and a hidden garden overgrown with the most deadly poisonous plants on earth. And Briseis's long-departed ancestors aren't going to let her rest until she accepts her place as the keeper of the terrible power that lies at the heart of the Poison Garden. Cinderella Is Dead author Kalynn Bayron brings a message of proud inclusivity to this empowering fantasy about a young woman finding the strength to challenge everything she has been told is true.
Lonely, suspicious of the adult world, and far too well acquainted with betrayal, ten-year-old Zebedee Bolt is an easy target for the wicked witch Morg. With very little effort at all, she’s able to tempt him into working for her, rather like the White Witch and Edmund Pevensie in the Narnia stories, and soon he too finds himself in another world, Crackledawn, one of the Unmapped Kingdoms. More astonishingly still, Zeb discovers that its fate, and that of our own world, depends on him. Can he, as a Faraway child, prevent Morg from carrying out her plan to steal the Unmapped magic and turn all the worlds dark? Abi Elphinstone writes irresistible adventure stories filled with magic and excitement, while her characters sparkle with so much life and humour that readers will miss their company when they close the book. For sheer honest-to-goodness enjoyment, The Crackledawn Dragon is very hard to beat. It’s the fourth in the Unmapped Chronicles series but works perfectly well as a stand-alone, yet another trait it shares with the Narnia books.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | When the Honey Bees from the orphanage take on the smart kids from the Brathelthwaite Boarding School at the Spindrift sports tournament, everyone knows there will be trouble! The two sides have always hated each other. But, when the children begin to disappear and the Whispering Wars break out, both side know they must put aside their differences and work together. Madcap and headlong, Jaclyn Moriarty’s deftly-told adventure is a roller-coaster ride for all those who have loved The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.
A heart-warming family story about the importance of home, perfect for bedtime, by Jeanne Willis, winner of the National Trust Literacy Awards and the Smarties Book Prize silver award. The Editor at Nosy Crow Says: “In this beautifully illustrated story, Jeanne Willis combines the wonder of Narnia with a little bit of Where the Wild Things Are, and proves that our imaginations can take us anywhere. The most wonderful adventures are waiting just at the bottom of the garden but, as we all know, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. This reassuring blend of escapist magic and bedtime cosiness is a powerful story treat and makes the perfect gift.”
The final book in the magical The Wizards of Once series. Can Xar and Wish unite their worlds in time to save the Wildwoods? Will it be Never... or Forever? Xar and Wish have found the ingredients for the Spell-to-get-rid-of-Witches. Now the Kingwitch is calling them to the lake of the lost. But first they must mix the potion in the Cup of Second Chances ... Can they defeat the hungry Tatzelwerm monster and escape with the cup? And will the spell be strong enough to lift the CURSE OF THE WILDWOODS... or will Witches reign FOREVER?
Hot on the hilarious heels of The Fowl Twins, this second instalment of Eoin Colfer’s new Artemis Fowl series is a boisterous banquet of entertaining, fantastical adventure. Colfer is a master when it comes to compelling his readers to turn the pages at breakneck speed while making them splutter with laughter. All manner of mayhem (and serious menace) is unleashed when Artemis Fowl’s younger twin brothers Myles and Beckett take the Fowl Jet for an unauthorized spin and end up having to ditch it in the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, Artemis Senior isn’t best pleased. In fact, as a result of their “missile crisis”, he bans the boys from all “fairy-related antics”, and from “fraternising with known criminals except myself”, and they’re placed under house arrest. But despite being out of sight, they’re certainly not out of mind and Myles is abducted, resulting in Beckett and pixie-elf hybrid Lazuli embarking on a tense trans-continental chase. Meanwhile, it falls to brainier brother Myles to figure out what’s really going on. Fuelled by razor-sharp dialogue and ingenious plotting, this second book in the second-gen Artemis Fowl series is as fresh and funny as the criminal mastermind’s very first adventures. The contrast between the twins makes for a whole lot of laughs, and Lazuli is a dream of a larger-than-life character (notwithstanding her small stature!).
May 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | Wick lives in Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage. Run by the cruel and wicked Old Ma Bogey it is a terrible place of suffering for all the children who live there. When Wick escapes to the dangerous ‘outside’ he is adopted by the Hobs, tiny people who live a green life and devote themselves to looking after the forest and everything that lives in it. But Wick soon discovers that there are great dangers in the forest, too. And Old Ma Bogey has a hand in them. Guided by the Hobs, Wick discovers that he has a special role to play in saving the environment and all who live in it from the forces of evil.
Set ten years after the events of Dragon Daughter, which featured revolutionary dragon-rider Milla, this sparkling sequel tells the story of Milla’s cousin, Joe. On his twelfth birthday Joe is out-of-this-world excited about attending the Hatching Ceremony, desperately hoping that this is the day he’ll be bonded with a dragon. But when Joe inadvertently ruins the ceremony and Milla must step in to rescue the situation, “Joe fled from his parents’ home, knowing he’d never be able to return.” Ashamed to his bones, Joe has an epiphany after taking refuge in a cavern (“a home for a monster”) and meeting a stranger named Winter: “His old life was over. He’d messed it up spectacularly, but it was finished. He couldn’t hurt his parents any more. This was the new start he’d been looking for… Until he had become someone his parents could be proud of, he would stay dead.” With the sweeping atmosphere of a classic hero story, Joe’s story is shot-through with themes of acceptance, making amends, courage and concord, against a backdrop of political - and volcanic - eruptions. What’s more, the author’s vibrant, visual storytelling paints a truly sensory picture of a world and its compelling cast of characters. Read more about the series as we chat with Liz Flanagan
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Double Carnegie winning Patrick Ness proves yet again how effortlessly he can weave a tale that juggles apocalyptic themes and astonishing action with the truly personal sphere of beliefs and actions while dealing with issues as powerful as racism, homophobia and the morality of war and underlaying it all with deeply tender stories of love. Sarah Dewhurst, finds herself at the centre of an age-old prophecy about humans and dragons, as revealed to her by Kazimir the sardonic Russian Blue dragon hired by her father in a last-ditch attempt to save their farm from bankruptcy. She also learns that an assassin is heading her way, sent by Believers who want the world emptied of human obstacles to the dragons’ dominance. Malcolm, the putative assassin, was raised from childhood in the cult and his evangelical determination to carry out his mission is matched only by his internal regrets for the life that he might have had. The plot twists and turns and grips the reader in a vice and the multiple perspectives, including the FBI agents on Malcolm’s trail, create an intense and captivating reading experience. Every character is given nuance and depth, even the extremely unpleasant Deputy Kelby has a recognisable psychology. There are no long pages of exposition, the writing is as spare and beautifully crafted as we have come to expect and yet the world building is entirely credible as well as fascinating. While the book stands satisfactorily concluded there is a tempting suggestion of more to come and I am sure all readers would anticipate this as avidly as I do. Highly recommended.