Genre: Fantasy Fiction

June 16, 2015
Pelham Library

Benchmark:  Mort, Guards! Guards!, or Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Fantasy Fiction Resources:

Notes on Discussion


Second Titles

Name: Jodi Levine

  • Title: Magicians trilogy
  • Author: Lev Grossman
  • Appeal Factors: complex characters, detailed story line, coming of age
  • Summary/Thoughts: A young man is selected to go to a real-life Hogwarts for college, meets fellow-magicians, develops great powers through hard study and practice, has adventures and then graduates into the real world, where he and his friends develop ennui and a sense of disconnectedness.  Some develop addictions.  While trying to figure out what to do next they discover that Fillory, their childhood fantasyland (essentially Narnia) is real, journey there, have adventures and have to save its very existence.I found the plot somewhat slow-paced with occasional brutality that seemed out of place.  While billed as a book about growing up and learning to live in the world the series’ final resolution in which most of the characters end up living in their fantasy land permanently seemed exactly the opposite of this to me.  How long can one stay king of a fantasy kingdom and go on quests that you know will be successful before becoming bored to tears?  And is resurrecting your dead girlfriend really coming to terms with adulthood?All in all, while a somewhat interesting read I felt it failed to live up to my expectations and the reviewers’ praise.

Name: Meg Haley

  • Title: Uprooted
  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Appeal Factors: Good characters
  • Summary/Thoughts: This book quickly grabbed me with its interesting characters and different take on some of the classic folk tales and fantasy elements. I was quickly drawn into the dynamic between the lead characters of Agnieszka and the Dragon, and enjoyed the author’s building of the characters relationship. The plot slowed a bit when the story got tied up in court intrigue but it all wrapped up in a exciting climax making for a satisfying solo fantasy novel.

Name: Mary Bell

  • Title: Uprooted
  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Appeal Factors: Episodic, so pacing varies; Characterization – complex, the main character develops most; Language – evocative of fairy tales, descriptive; Story – episodic and develops in interesting ways, more about character than plot; Tone – atmospheric; Frame – some nods to Polish fairy tales, a small village near a menacing Wood
  • Summary/Thoughts: The Dragon is a wizard who has been holding back the evil of the Wood for a century, and every eleven years he comes down from his tower to select one girl to live with him. Agnieszka grows up in one of these protected towns and she knows she was born in the year of selection; but everyone knows the Dragon chooses the prettiest and the best, and everyone knows that will be Kasia. But then at the choosing, he picks her – Agnieszka. Thrown into a world suddenly much more complicated than she knew, she’ll need all her wits about her in an adventure that involves the Dragon and other wizards, the politics of her country, and the malevolence behind the Wood. Inspired by Polish fairy stories, Uprooted follows Agnieszka’s journey from woodcutter’s daughter to powerful magic wielder. Though somewhat episodic, the thread of the Wood’s story and Agnieszka’s love for her hometown sews the tale together in a really enjoyable way. Novik brought elements of the story together in somewhat surprising ways for me, and the atmospheric setting and development of the characters really make the book. Fans of Novik’s Temeraire series may seek this one out too, but it’s an entirely different sort of fantasy story.

Name: Manuel King

  • Title: The Buried Giant
  • Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Appeal Factors: mythic, slowly paced and patient novel with elements of danger and knightly honor.

Name: Linda Wentworth

  • Title: Acacia
  • Author: David Anthony Durham
  • Appeal Factors: Detailed imaginary world, well-drawn-out characters, action
  • Summary/Thoughts: This is book one in a trilogy that has been compared to The Lord of the Rings. Unlike most fantasy books, it addresses contemporary issues like racism and addiction (within a medieval world).

Name: Jan Resnick

  • Title: Split Infinity
    Author: Piers Anthony
    Appeal Factors: Pace – Slowish; Characters – moderately complex; Story: Intricately plotted, World building; Language:  descriptive, engaging, wordy; Tone:  upbeat, strong sense of place; Frame:  Proton/Phase
  • Summary/Thoughts: There are two (that we know of) realities on the planet Proton – a colony of Earth.  There is Proton, a mechanized society of Citizens and serfs, and Phase, a pastural dimension where magic and unicorns exist.  Stile, a serf, game player, and championship jockey is attacked during a race and has to flee for his life from an unknown assailant.  In hiding, he passes through a shimmering curtain and finds himself in Phase where the rules are very different.
    After many tests, Stile finds that on Phase, he is the Blue Adept – one of few powerful magicians.  In the following books, he must learn his craft.

    Apprentice Adept #1

    Similar authors/titles:  Pratchett – The color of magic; Freer – Pyramid Power; Brin – The Practice Effect; Cline – Ready Player One; Pratchett/Baxter – The Long Earth; Taylor Anderson – Into the Storm


One response to “Genre: Fantasy Fiction

  1. Faith Kaufmann

    Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
    Urban fantasy/magic police procedural. Start of a series featuring London cop and apprentice magician Peter Grant, who must negotiate with river gods and goddesses, interrogate ghosts, and find out who is causing a series of bizarre supernatural murders. Funny, fast-paced, with interesting characters whose personalities come through quite humanly despite all the fairy dust.

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