Review: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger. Illusrtared by Eva Widermann

Title: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide
Author: Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger
Illustrator: Eva Widermann
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (31st October 2017)

The secrets of Tortall are revealed. . . .

As Tortall’s spymaster, George Cooper has sensitive documents from all corners of the realm. When Alanna sends him a surprising letter, he cleans out his office and discovers letters from when King Jonathan and Queen Thayet first ascended the throne, notes on creating the Shadow Service of spies, threat-level profiles on favorite characters, Daine’s notes on immortals, as well as family papers, such as Aly’s first report as a young spy and Neal’s lessons with the Lioness. This rich guide also includes the first official timeline of Tortallan events from when it became a sovereign nation to the year Aly gives birth to triplets. Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide makes a perfect gift and is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall! (Blurb from

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

TORTALL: A SPY’S GUIDE by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger is a compilation of information about the Tortall universe, illustrated by Eva Widermann. The guide is split into around ten sections and it contains a variety of information about the Tortall universe, covering events from around the beginning of the reign of Jonathan IV – in effect information covering all the books published (to date) set in the Tortall universe.

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Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz adapted by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel’s Oz Comics, 1)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Author: Eric Shanower
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Genre: Classic, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: MARVEL WORLDWIDE, INC (15th April 2014)


With Marvel’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an American fantasy comes to life in a classic comcis retelling! Shortly after its initial publication in 1900, author L. Frank Baum put his children’s literature in context: It was written “solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and the nightmares are left out.” Baum died 19 years later, but only after leaving behind a legacy of Oz-inspired fantasy 13 sequels long – a legacy that was augmented by the 1939 MGM picture starring Judy Garland that took an already beloved story and turned it into a cultural institution.

Writer Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze) and artist Skottie Young’s (New X-Men) adaptation is the kind of artistic achievement that proves – if any proof was further needed – that the story of Dorothy and her journey down the mythical yellow brick road is just as magical, entertaining and relevant to the children of today as when it first entranced a generation 110 years ago.

Delving into some of the less familiar elements of Baum’s story, Shanower and Young reveal new and exciting layers – while still translating its most timeless elements.

The Scarecrow’s still looking for a brain, but did you know how it was he got stood up in the cornfield to begin with? The Tin Woodman is still searching for a heart – but for many, his tragically humorous tale of cursed romance has remained untold. Readers whose only exposure to Baum’s mythos is the film will be pleased to discover that Shanower’s script honors the original text. And Young makes his move into the upper echelon of comic artists – a moment his loyal core of fans have been waiting for – with his revelatory work on Shanower’s script. His fearless portrayals of Dorothy, her travling companions, and the alternately dark and charming world of Oz – in particular the Wizard himself – in sum amount to a modern masterpiece.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by L. Fank Baum in this edition has been adapted by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young. It tells a recognisable story to those familiar with the film The Wizard of Oz (1939) but remains true to Baum’s original work, with Shanower and Young still managing to add their own touch to the story. The story follows the story of a girl called Dorothy who lives in the middle of the great Kansas prairies with her aunt and uncle, and her dog Toto. A tornado hits her uncle’s farm and Dorothy gets caught in the house with Toto, which gets blown away and ends up in a fantastical place called Oz.

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Review: The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, Illustrated by Shane Devries

Title: The Christmasaurus
Author: Tom Fletcher
Illustrator: Shane Devries
Genre: Christmas, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Puffin Books (6th October 2016)

Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, pop a crumpet in the taoster and get ready to meet:

a boy called William Trundle;

his dad, Mr Bob Trundle;

Santa Claus (yes! The real Santa Claus!);

an elf named Snozzletrump;

Brenda Payne, the meanest girl in school (possibly the world);

a nasty piece of work called the Hunter;

and a most unusual dinosaur . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

THE CHRISTMASAURUS by Tom Fletcher and illustrated by Shane Devries tells the story of a boy who loves dinosaurs and whose father loves Christmas. William Trundle is close to his father and has lots of friends at school that is until Brenda Payne starts at his school; everything changes. Then all William has left is his father and his love of dinosaurs. William is very lonely. Brenda seems to be able to find him anywhere, and after a while he begins to wonder if there isn’t some truth to her words. So he sends a rather tricky letter to Santa.

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Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (UK edition)

Title: Wintersong (Wintersong, 1)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Titan Books (7th February 2017)

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her spirit and inspired her musical compositions.  Now eighteen, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl must journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds – and the mysterious man who rules it – she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones is at its heart a fairy story. Eighteen-year-old Liesl has heard stories of the stunning and perilous Goblin King all her life, she even played with him as a child. But as she grew older, she drew further and further away from his magic as she was forced to grow-up. Yet his influence still lingered in her music. When the Goblin King takes her sister, Liesl risks everything to follow her into the Underground to try and win her back. Despite the warnings, Liesl finds herself drawn to the Underground and the Goblin King. With time running out and the old laws against her, Liesl finds herself with an impossible choice.

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Review: The Queen’s Readers edited by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn

The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce ed. by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn

Title:  The Queen’s Readers: A Collection of Essays on the Words & Worlds of Tamora Pierce
Editors: Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn
Genre: Anthology, Essays, Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (25th August 2004)

Over the course of her career, Tamora Pierce has created two worlds that continue to inspire readers more than 30 years after her first book was published.

In The Queen’s Readers, contributors explore a myriad of topics as only fans can: with love and a critical eye. With more than 30 essays covering topics from feminism to Pierce’s mythical creatures Stormwings, no fictional stone is left unturned.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)

THE QUEEN’S READERS: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS ON THE WORDS & WORLDS OF TAMORA PIERCE edited by Amanda Diehl and Holly Vaughn contains more than thirty essays about Tamora Pierce’s books. The essays cover a variety of topics from the author’s experiences with the book, to feminism and other academic based topics; each essay varies in length. They are described in the introduction as being “by her fans, for her fans.”[1] The collection also contains a foreword by Mark Oshiro about his experiences in the Tamora Pierce fandom where he says fans “want to make sure that people are enjoying the books”[2].

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Review: The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman

The New Voices of Fantasy ed. by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman.

Title:  The New Voices of Fantasy
Editors: Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman
Genre: Anthology, Fantasy, Short stories
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Tachyon Publications (7th September 2017)

Eugene Fisher, Brooke Bolander, Amal El-Mohtar, Maria Dahvana Headley, Max Gladstone, Ben Loory, Carmen Maria Machado, Usman T. Malik, Sarah Pinsker, Hannu Rajaniemi, Adam Ehrlich Sachs, Sofia Samatar, Kelly Sandoval, Chris Tarry, A. C. Wise, Alyssa Wong, JY Yang, E. Lily Yu

What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist?

In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fastest-rising talents of the last five years. Their tales were hand-picked by the legendary Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (The Treasury of the Fantastic).

So go ahead, join the Communist revolution of the honeybees. The new kids got your back.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

THE NEW VOICES OF FANTASY edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman is an anthology that collects together nineteen short stories from up and coming writers in the fantasy genre. The collection includes several award winners and whilst most of the stories have appeared in other collections there is an original addition. In this anthology Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman bring together a wide selection of talent, with a broad range of topics – there is something for everyone in this collection – to create a stunning collection that will just draw you in. A perfect way to find new writers in the fantasy genre.

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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 3)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (2nd May 2017)


She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

In A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN Sarah J. Maas brings the events that have unfolded in her previous two books to a head. This book starts several weeks after the events of A COURT OF MIST AND RUIN and continues Feyre’s story. The return of the King of Hybern threatens to bring Prythian to its knees; to reignite an old war that has already seen lands split. With everyone she loves threatened Feyre must find out what this king is planning, and discover if any of the High Lords are trustworthy and willing to stand with her against such power.

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Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (UK edition)

Title: A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, 3)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Alternative Universes, Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books (21st February 2017)

The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving space for another London to rise. Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – theif, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.

Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery and the Night Spire crew are attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible, as an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

A CONJURING OF MAGIC is the third and final instalment of V. E. Schwab’s brilliant Shades of Magic series. This book deals with the fallout of events that started in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, as the precarious equilibrium between the four Londons reaches its breaking point. Kell and Lila find themselves in the thick of it, as darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire. An ancient enemy appears to claim a crown, and a fallen hero desperately tries to save a dying world. All whilst Captain Alucard Emery races against time to acquire the impossible. They all stand on a knife’s edge; the shadows are hungry.

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition)

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (3rd May 2016)


After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY is the stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas’s brilliant A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. Rescuing Tamlin from Amarantha, the wicked Faerie Queen, came at a terrible price. Feyre returned to the Spring Court with the man she loves, changed by the events. Feyre did terrible, horrible, unforgivable things in order to gain the freedom of Tamlin and his people; things she cannot, will not, forget even in the beauty and peace of the Spring Court. Then, of course, there is the matter of the bargain she made with Rhysland, High Lord of the Night Court.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition).

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (5th May 2015)


She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price . . .

Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been hold about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the series of the same name. The book follows Feyre; she is the youngest of three daughters, and her family has fallen on hard times. With her father injured and neither of her elder sisters willing to, Feyre is forced to hunt to bring in a supply of food and coin for her family. Whilst out hunting for food desperate Feyre slaughters a wolf to gain its prey, so she can feed her family. But it is not just a wolf she kills, and taking the life of a magical creature comes with a hefty price.

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