• April 2014
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I finally got some of the Chrestomanci novels and had a chance to read them. They are published towards young adults and are some very good fantasy books. I think a lot of adults miss out by avoiding the younger readers section because they think people might think them odd if they read them.

These books are fun and in a really interesting world. I’ve noticed in a lot of Jones’ books that she keeps parallel worlds as a constant. This one too has parallel worlds in which some are linked. The Chrestomanci is a position held by a very powerful enchanter whose job is to keep fellow magic users from abusing their power and trying to rule over those who don’t have magic ability.

The both books below are actually two books in one, with volume 1 containing Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. Volume 2 contains The Magicians of Caprona and Witch Week. All four are very good, with the last two switching up the type of heroes and plot, which in my opinion is a very good thing. A series stagnates if it just reuses the same old plot over and over. There is a third volume in the Chrestomanci series but I don’t have it yet. I’m planning on getting it as well as a few other books of hers.

Pictures found here and here.

I think a really fun form of written media is Manga. For starters I’ll break down some of the basic forms and go from there.

Shojo is the term for material aimed at young girls, usually with an adolescent/teenaged girl as the protagonist. Many of the manga have romantic themes, but it’s not always the case. One of my favorite animes/manga is Azumanga Daioh, written by Kiyohiko Azuma, who also wrote another manga I love Yotsuba&!. Azumanga is usually thought to be aimed at girls, but it is just a happy light-hearted comedy about girls in highschool, with no real romance involved so I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a shojo. There is however a little bit that examines a crush on one of the characters.

My favorite manga is Fruits Basket, written by Natsuki Takaya, which does have a love story. It’s about a girl who unwaveringly loves her friends and centers around a family afflicted with a curse of the junishi (the Chinese 12 animal zodiac).

Another awesome shojo manga I love is Ouran High School Host Club, which plays out in at a high school for really rich kids. The really like the theme, which is that it doesn’t matter how someone looks, dresses or how odd they are, everyone still needs/wants to be loved.
Azumanga Daioh Fruits Basket
Yotsuba& Ouran High School Host Club
From left to right, top to bottom: Azumanga Daioh, Fruits Basket, Yotsuba&, and Ouran High.

Pictures found here, here, here, and here.

Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Fun reads with a dark side to it like the Spiderwick books. The books take place in this world called “The Edge”, which is basically a giant floating island, or at least is as far as anyone can tell. The main means of transporting goods is by use of floating airships that use this buoyant rock to maintain their altitude. There is also this gigantic floating school/city called Sanctaphrax built on a enormous chunk of floating rock, held down by a chain. There are sky pirates and all sorts of creatures good and evil. The books have a witty charm to them and the details about the world are captivating, and the artwork is awesome too. I definitely recommend them.

The link to the official random house Edge Chronicles site, really nice looking and interactive:

http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/edgechronicles/

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Found pic here.

Are a fun young adult series that my husband and I read out loud to each other :D They were written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. It has a dark feel to it but also a loving one because of how much the siblings care for each other. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I hope to soon. The artwork for the books is incredible, which is because it was drawn by Tony DiTerlizzi, who is one of K’s favorite artists.

I love the fey creatures in the book and the attitudes they’re given, especially Thimbletack. And Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You and The Spiderwick Chronicles: Care and Feeding of Sprites are beautifully drawn. The artwork is immaculately detailed in DiTerlizzi’s wonderful style.

I highly recommend this book not only to younger readers but to everyone!

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Found pic here.

A little bit ago I posted asking for Suggestions? and ripplecloud brought up Diana Wynne Jones. So I’ma write about Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve got Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Air at home. I picked them up recently at the local bookstore cause I liked the Ghibli movie. I can’t believe how different the book and the movie are, basically Miazaki just took the characters and the world and wrote a new story. My husband and I both loved Miazaki movies but he’s got a quote that sums up Miazaki’s stuff really well, “He (Miazaki) tries to guilt you into living in the dirt” XD Cause most of his movies are about how us humans are ruining the earth and making all this destructive technology. My favorite movie of his is Spirited Away.

But back to Jones, the books are awesomely written, the world is fantastic, the characters are lovable and witty and overall great reads! Castle in the Air is very clever and amusing and am looking forward to reading it again and also to give it as a gift to my two young nephews when they get a little older.

Diana Wynne Jones on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Wynne_Jones

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Found pic here.

He’s the author of The Golden Compass, which I’m sure a fair few people have seen. I wasn’t very happy with the movie though, and wished they had made it a 3hr movie, maybe 3 and a half so that the whole thing didn’t feel so rushed, like Star Dust.

But the books are incredible. I really like his take on the soul, consciousness and our connection to others. I also really love steampunk, which in my opinion is a completely under appreciated genre. But unfortunately most of the movies in the genre didn’t do so well, like Wild, Wild West.

So my recommendation is to read the books if you didn’t like the movie, and read them if you did ^^
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