Sunday, May 13, 2012

CBW Roundup: Fantasy Series

The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander
Alexander's five book epic chronicles the journey of an assistant pig-keeper who becomes a hero, along with his unforgettable friends.  In order, they are: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.

The Enchanted Novels, by Gail Carson Levine
Ok, so they're not exactly a series, but Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and the Two Princesses of Bamarre are top notch fairy tales with strong female protagonists.  Ella is a truly fresh take on a classic story that middle school readers will love.
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue are Kristin Cashore's YA smash hits about a kingdom in which teenagers are granted special and sometimes disturbing abilities. 
Edward Eager's Tales of Magic, with illustrations by N.M. Bodecker and Quentin Blake
These stories about cousins who stumble onto strange magical events are clever and lots of fun.  Though the most famous are Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Knight's Castle, and The Time Garden, there are plenty more to choose from.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Most kids have read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but there's far more to Narnia, and two different ways to read the series (by order of publication, or in HarperCollins' chronological arrangement).  I'm in the chronological camp, which starts with The Magician's Nephew.

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman 
A gorgeous, sophisticated trilogy for middle schoolers and young adults.  The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass have received countless honors.  
The World of Redwall, by Brian Jacques
The mice of Redwall Abbey, their heroes, myths, and legends, all come alive in these swashbuckling novels.
The Rick Riordan Books
Rick Riordan has written four series so far, and shows no sign of stopping!  Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, The 39 Clues, and The Kane Chronicles are among our most popular kids books.  The Serpent's Shadow, the most recent book in the Kane Chronicles, hit shelves on May 1.

The Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins
Before The Hunger Games, Susan Collins wrote about a dark realm beneath New York City.
Thraxas, by Martin Scott
Probably my all-time favorite fantasy for young adults, Thraxas and its associated sequels detail the misadventures of a portly, middle-aged private eye whose sorcerous abilites are unreliable at best.  This relatively unknown fantasy-noir is a great mystery that's full of hilarious characters, social commentary, action, wit, and high-flying adventure.

Kim Prosise

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