The subtle knife by Philip Pullman

Amy Subtle KnifeI love the first book, because I prefer Lyra’s Oxford, but I do love Will. The Subtle Knife sees Lyra in a new world, where she meets Will, a boy of her own age, from our world, and with his own quest. It’s a fascinating world, or set of worlds, and the characters are deeply endearing, but it is hard to see the big picture; what is the great good they fight for, and the evil they are fighting against. Still, it is a great adventure, with lots of heart, setting up the story for the final instalment.

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The last wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Amy The Last WishI watched the first season of the television series, and was surprised to find many of the the episodes were based on stories in this book. It is hard to know where to start with an older series that has books published out of chronological order, but I went with this book of short stories. It’s high fantasy, full of monsters, magic, fighting, and yearning. There is a plenty of dry humour, endearing relationships, deeper thoughts about life, and it is less gory and bawdy than the television adaptation.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Amy UprootedUprooted is a high fantasy tale, with lots of references to Polish folklore. I’m glad I listened to the audio, as I wouldn’t have known how to pronounce the many names and spells. In the kingdom of Polnya, a darkly enchanted wood threatens those who live near it, and a reclusive wizard protects the people. For payment, he takes a girl from the villages, every ten years. The world is vividly drawn, there are epic, magical battles, significant girl power, and some romance (of the type where people who are never nice to each other fall in love).

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Northern lights by Philip Pullman

Amy Northern LightsI have gone back to re-read this series, as i am so enjoying the latest. Lyra lives in Jordan College in an alternate Oxford, believing her parents to have died. She spends her days getting up to mischief with her daemon, Pantalaimon, her friend Roger, the kitchen boy, and the young rascals around town, until children begin to go missing, and Lyra is caught up in a great quest.
It is a wondrous adventure, full of endearing, frightening, and marvellous characters. Very occasionally the anti-church sentiment is a little laboured, forced, but on the whole, it is a delightful fantasy, with a spirited heroine. The author reads the audio version himself, with actors for character dialogue, which worked beautifully.

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The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman

Amy Amber SpyglassThe Amber Spyglass is the final book in the trilogy, and not my favourite. The first is the strongest, with the most imaginative world building, and classic battle between good and evil. By the third book, I still love the characters, and gain some satisfaction from the conclusion of the battle, though exactly what is being fought about becomes so unclear. I am not sure what each side is about, or even if there are real sides. The fantastic is mixed so confusingly with real life details, and the author’s opinions so strident, but don’t always sit well in the the context of the story. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it; I very much enjoy Lyra’s world, and some of their adventures were very moving.

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Children of blood and bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Amy Children of Blood and BoneZelie is a girl who makes mistakes, who gets in trouble. The events of one particular day change everything for herself, her family, and the whole of her country. Children of Blood and Bone is set in a fictional version of Nigeria, where magic existed, but is now held back by a violent king. Zelie begins a journey to bring it back. I listened to the audio book, and really enjoyed the accent, along with the imaginative detail, and the passionate fight to end oppression.

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The true queen by Zen Cho

amy-the-true-queen.jpgSisters, Muna and Sakti, wake up on a beach with no memories. They have been put under a curse, and must travel to England to break it. Set on a tropical island, in Regency London, and Fairyland, this is a fun fantasy novel with strong female characters and lots of adventure. I wasn’t quite as attached to the main characters as I was in the first book (Sorcerer to the Crown) but I still enjoyed it very much.

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Fox 8 by George Saunders

amy-fox8.jpgI listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and found it utterly charming, moving, and thoughtful. Fox 8 is a young fox, who listens in every night as a woman reads to her children, and learns to speak “Yuman”. When developers cut down his wood, Fox 8 comes to know the Yumans much better than he would have liked. It’s a really beautiful story, only short, and great for children, but it has a lot of deep truths for all of us. It’s sad, very funny, and will stay with me.

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Fire and thorns by Rae Carson

cynthia-fire-and-thorns.jpgElisa has been gifted the Godstone, which means she has been chosen for an act of heroism. But she does not fell like a hero. So begins this fantasy adventure. Love, kidnapping, war, death, religion are all in the mix as Elisa puts the puzzle pieces together. A satisfying read.Elisa has been gifted the Godstone, which means she has been chosen for an act of heroism. But she does not feel like a hero. So begins this fantasy adventure. Love, kidnapping, war, death, religion are all in the mix as Elisa puts the puzzle pieces together. A satisfying read.

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