Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Children

Fantasy Literature for Children ages 9-12.



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Gregor the Overlander: High quality YA fantasy

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

In the sea of young adult fiction out there, Gregor the Overlander makes for one of the more pleasant anchorages. The book starts off quickly with Gregor and his two-year-old sister “Boots” falling through a gateway into the Underworld, a sprawling underground land populated by giant talking cockroaches, rats, bats, and spiders, along with several thousand pale humans descended from a 17th century “overlander” who led his small group into the Underworld then sealed the entrances. This descendant left a string of prophecies,


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Stormchaser: Large improvement over the first book

Stormchaser by Paul Stewart

Stormchaser is the second book of the Edge series and it is a vast improvement over book one — Beyond the Deepwoods. The book picks up a few years after Twig’s adventures in Beyond the Deepwoods. He is now sailing aboard the skyship of his recently-discovered sky-pirate father and has exchanged the monster-horrors of the Deepwoods with the more human horrors of city-life, pollution, and corruption (though monsters still make the occasional appearance).


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The Children of Green Knowe: A hidden gem in children’s literature

The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston

Reading this book was a strange experience for me, as even though I had never read it before in my life, it evoked a strange sense of familiarity that only the very best books, movies and music are able to achieve. Usually these are reserved for the ones that are experienced in childhood and carried through into adulthood, but every now and then one arrives that touch one on so deep a level that one feels they’ve always known them. The Children of Green Knowe is one such book.


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Dr. Illuminatus: Its strength is also its weakness

Dr. Illuminatus by Martin Booth

Doctor Illuminatus is the first of what promises to be three books, and it deserves two and a half stars, putting it exactly midpoint between good and just fair. Though it has an interesting premise and is full of fascinating facts and ideas, it often falls short on several accounts.

Pip and Tim are two twins that have just moved into an old, mysterious house called Rawne Barton: your standard beginning for a fantasy story of this nature. Before long, the siblings have uncovered a strange boy hidden in the walls of the house named Sebastian who claims to be the son of a medieval alchemist.


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Midnight for Charlie Bone: Solidly interesting, not particularly compelling

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

Any book nowadays that has its main character be a young boy who suddenly discovers he has magical talent is, fair or not, going to be compared to the Harry Potter series. Add in a school for geniuses and those “endowed” with magical talents, a small cadre of mixed (talented and not-talented) friends to aid the main character, suspicious professors, and a missing presumed dead father and you’re almost asking for it. It might not be right, but at least so many people have read Harry Potter that it gives us all a solid baseline standard.


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Magyk: Pales in comparison to Harry Potter

Magyk by Angie Sage

Let’s not beat around the bush. Angie Sage has clearly been inspired by the world of HARRY POTTER, which makes it somehow impossible to review her work without comparing it to J.K. Rowling. Since Rowling’s phenomenal series exploded across the world of publishing, there has been an onslaught of pre-adolescent youngsters with magical powers and unusual names popping up in the children’s sections of bookstores and libraries everywhere. CHARLIE BONE. PERCY JACKSON. ARTEMIS FOWL. And now, Septimus Heap.


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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The best one yet!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I don’t want to spoil the plot, as there are many twists lurking within this book, so I’ll just say this:
This is the best one yet.

Books 1 and 2 were occasionally intense, but mostly I liked them because they were hilarious. Book 3 was the one that really sucked me in, with its tightly woven, ever-twisting plot. Book 4 sprawled a bit too much but brought lots of romance and character development. Book 5, too, meandered far too much and lacked the comic relief that lightened earlier books,


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The Golden Compass: Extraordinary, controversial, fascinating, infuriating

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (or, if you follow the British print-run, Northern Lights) is the first book of Philip Pullman‘s extraordinary, controversial, thought-provoking, fascinating, infuriating, allegorical trilogy His Dark Materials. Followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, the books have a huge range of ideas and meanings; from exploring the bond between the body and soul, to denouncing modern religious practices, to retelling Milton’s Paradise Lost from a completely different point of view.


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The Black Cauldron: Mystery, suspense, adventure, and intrigue

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

The Black Cauldron is the second in Lloyd Alexander’s five-part Chronicles of Prydain, and possibly the most well known. When discussing these books with other people, you’ll usually get a blank look if you say “the Prydain books” or The Book of Three, but if you mention The Black Cauldron, you’ll probably get a vague sense of recognition. It is a Newbery Honor book and was made into a Disney film,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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