Fantasy

Staff Picks: The Adventurers Guild by Zack Logan Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Reviewed by Ginny H.
 
Best friends, Brock and Zed are anxious for their Guildculling Day, the day their futures are determined by what guild chooses them to train and work for the rest of their lives. They decide they'll be happy as long as it isn't the Adventurer's Guild, the guild tasked with venturing outside of the city walls to defend against the dangerous monsters outside. When the Adventurer's Guild unexpectedly steals the two friends for their guild, everything in Brock and Zed's world changes.

I loved this book! It'd be great for fans of Harry Potter with its mix of humor, adventure, mystery and friends who fight and stand up for what's good.

Staff Picks: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Reviewed by Lizzie F. 

Callum Hunt has spent his entire life avoiding magic, but his attempts to flunk the entrance exam for the Magisterium are unsuccessful, and he finds himself an apprentice at the underground magic school where young mages are trained. Despite his initial reluctance, he begins to enjoy learning to use magic, but nothing can prepare him for what he is about to learn about himself and his past.

This book is great for fans of Harry Potter and the twist ending will leave you excited for the Magisterium series' second installment.

Staff Picks: The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

Reviewed by Dana D.

Brangwain Spurge, the historian of the elves, is sent into rival goblin territory to deliver a peace offering in hopes of easing tensions between the two worlds. Werfel, the goblin historian is thrilled to meet Brangwain and has been put in charge of planning the perfect visit. But, things go wrong before Brangwain even steps foot on goblin territory, and get worse after that.

Fans of the Hobbit and The Invention of Hugo Cabret will love this tale told half in pictures and half in words.

Staff Picks: Serafina and the Black Cloak

Reviewed by Ginny H. 

Serafina and her Pa live in the basement of the Biltmore Estate. Serafina loves her Pa and the quiet nights when she can skulk around the estate kitchens and catch rats. She loves everything about her life except for the fact that no one but her Pa knows she exists.

One night, while out catching rats, she witnesses a kidnapping of sorts. And then, more children begin to go missing from the estate. Serafina has no choice but to team up with the young master, Braeden, to figure out what is happening to all the children before she or Braeden fall victim next.

Rumble, Vol. 1: What Color of Darkness by John Arcudi

An ancient god of war out for vengeance, a lonely bartender, and an angry fire demon all walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a joke, right? Well, that's almost correct.

What Color of Darkness imagines a world where ancient gods and monsters feud over thousands of years to decide the fate of humanity. Humans have a mighty champion in the war god Rathraq, who fights to make sure humankind can flourish in safety—but he's betrayed and imprisoned for thousands of years. Now Rathraq's soul has been released and forced to inhabit a scarecrow, but this won't stop his quest for revenge. Aided by the bartender Bobby, who's just trying to get by in life, Rathraq hunts for the monster queen who stole his body, clashes with an outsized fire demon, and confronts a world starkly different than the one he remembers.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is a stunningly beautiful film that tells a deeply moving story of family, belonging, and adventure through the clever stop-motion. This Oscar-nominated film takes place in a medieval, mythologized Japan where our hero, Kubo, is forced to go on a quest to recover magical armor and weapons to stop the Moon King’s sinister plans. Kubo is a very talented musician and uses a magical shamisen, a lute-like instrument, to control pieces of his environment and aid him is his quest in breathtakingly beautiful ways that are worth watching over and over.

On his journey, he is joined by a talking macaque, Monkey, and a samurai who was cursed to live as a giant beetle, Beetle, and their interactions provide a great deal of humor. Together they battle monsters, try to untangle the mystery of Kubo’s family, become a team, and discover who they truly are.

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Winner of the 2017 Stonewall Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor marks Rick Riordan’s return to the world of Asgard. Picking up right after their triumph at the end of the previous story, Magnus Chase and company must now retrieve Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, before the giants invade and destroy Earth. So overall, just your average day really. Filled with Riordan’s trademark research, interpretative genius, and wit, The Hammer of Thor will satisfy die-hard fans and likely make some new ones, as he tackles issues of race, religion, representation, and gender.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Winner of the 2017 Newberry Medal, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is a must read for any fans of fairy tales and fantasy. Barnhill weaves together pieces of many genres, creating a story reminiscent of classic fairy tales, yet at the same time all its own. The many elements this story explores are difficult to adequately explain, but let it suffice to say that at its heart, The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a story about the power of love and family (both born and chosen) and illustrates the very best that fairy tale and fantasy storytelling has to offer.

Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening

A dark fantasy that heralds the start of a thrilling new series, Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda is a stunningly beautiful graphic novel that tells a heartrending and epic story. The story utilizes a mix of Asian mythologies and ancient Egyptian motifs to create a rich and layered world that Takeda’s art brings to beautiful life. The world is matriarchal and the bulk of the characters, heroes, villians, and those in between, are powerful and deadly women, often with rich and layered backstories. Monstress imagines a world that is at once completely different from our own, yet still hauntingly familiar. The power of this graphic novel is difficult to convey as both the story and artwork contain multitudes of layers that enrich the story and add complexity. Monstress is a tale of vengeance, redemption, horror, tragedy, friendship, shattered gods, magic, myth, and monsters all braided together into an exquisite graphic novel.

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