fantasy and science fiction book reviews

Next week, on November 3rd, we’ll be sharing an interview with Ann Aguirre. Today, we welcome Heather LH of “Book Obsessed”. All commenters to Heather’s guest post will be eligible for a copy of Ann Aguirre’s Doubleblind. But hurry, this contest is only good today!

Heather: I read a Meme the other day that was entitled something like ‘My Life Thru the Books I Have Read” and it got me thinking about how people come to be readers of a particular genre or sub-genres.

My own strange journey to becoming a fantasy reader began with my mother. She devoured dragon & sword fantasy; so I decided I wouldn’t read any fantasy – my little rebellion. She’d recommend books that she loved or had read as a kid, and I’d make a mental note never to read that book. Two of her favorite authors were Roger Zelazny and Piers Anthony. I hope you don’t stone me for this confession, but I still haven’t read  either of them.

So what did I read? Mysteries, for one, with cheesy titles like The Candy Striper Caper. But my favorite was Sherlock Holmes. I read The Baby-Sitters Club books 1-9. (Don’t tell anyone, because I will deny it). And don’t judge me too harshly about the Baby-Sitters Club books. I was a baby-sitter from a very young age; so I could relate. Eventually, though, and strangely, fantasy began seeping unnoticed into my non-fantasy books.

Three books in particular hold places of honor on my bookshelf: Good-Bye Pink Pig by C.S. Adler, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy and The Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan. Good-Bye Pink Pig is about a very shy little girl and the Rose Quartz pig who becomes her best friend and magically transports her to “Little Town” where all the animals talk and there is a castle high on a mist-shrouded hill. The evil witch lives in the castle and has the ability to change anything or get rid of anybody in Little Town. And it is up to the little girl to save Little Town from the witch.

Behind the Attic Wall is the story of an orphaned young girl who has moved in with her two scary aunts and eccentric uncle. In the attic, she discovers a world of walking, talking china dolls that in the end turn out to be ghosts. Essentially, yes, it is a ghost story but it is also very much fantasy.

The Gift of Magic is about a young girl (are we seeing a theme here?) who can read other people’s minds and make them do what she wants to do. She inherited the gift of magic after her grandmother’s death. Like I said, I didn’t see any Fantasy in these books when I first read them. I thought fantasy was limited to dragons and swords, royal courts and knights. I know now that I was wrong.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt wasn’t until I was in high school that I finally read my very first fantasy novel! I have my communications teacher to thank for it. He was horrified to learn that I’d never read Tolkien‘s The Hobbit. By this time, I was already an avid reader. You never saw me without a book, but I’d made it to the age of 14, reading 3 books a week for seven years and never read The Hobbit. He just couldn’t let that go on any longer, so he assigned me the book as homework. He was so positive that I’d love it, he didn’t even put a must-finish-reading-by-date on the assignment. He, of course. was right. I finished reading it within the week. Hooked, I graduated to  Marion Zimmer Bradley (I love Mists of Avalon!), Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Dune by Frank Herbert and many, many others.

These books are the ones that led me to what I read now. These days (like S.B. Frank) I mostly read urban fantasy, but occasionally I will still read classic fantasy novels. I will always be grateful to my high school Communications teacher for forcing me to give fantasy a chance.

Discussion Question: So what has your journey been like? What books introduced you to the wondrous worlds of fantasy? And what genre or subgenre do you read most now? Note: Periodically throughout the day, we have experienced problems accepting comments. If you would like to post comments for Heather and/or enter the contest but are shut out, please e-mail your comments to sbfrank(at) and I’ll post your thoughts.  Thx for your patience.