Manual I Need A Hero (The Five Sisters Series Book 1)

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Both series feature epic battles with magic and mayhem thrown in aplenty. Both series have ambiguous characters who are neither black nor white. The Black Company is more tightly focused on a small band of characters than a huge cast, as in Malazan. If you've read anything in the fantasy genre, you can easily see some of the books that draw influence from The Black Company.

What's particularly intriguing about The Black Company is that the characters are not afraid to make hard choices. Too many fantasy books these days have goody goody two-shoes characters who can't step on an ant for fear that it's the wrong thing to do. Glen Cook throws all that out the window and creates a group of mercenaries who define their own moral codes, rather than bow to our own. Yet they have their own code of honor, despite the fact that their morality is often suspect at least according to our own social mores.

That means characters often make uncomfortable choices, arguably evil choices. The Black Company really does ask the question: what's the difference between evil and good? And it's not a simple answer folks. The Black Company end up employed by The Lady, a character who might be able to show Tolkien's Sauron a new trick or two. So for an action-packed military fantasy series that was genre-busting way back before gritty fantasy was popular, The Black Company takes the cake.

This came out in the early 90's, but despite its age, it still beats most of the other epic fantasy out there today, even in the era of fantasy, this classic is absolutely worth the read. There is still no other work of fiction quite like it right now. A superstar on earth, Hari Michaelson is worshiped by billions. But in the world of Ankhana, Michaelson is feared by all. He is known only as Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle -- a relentless, unstoppable assassin who kills monarchs and commoners alike.

Back home on earth, Michaelson's adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions, but he is forced to ignore the fact that he is killing men for the entertainment of his own planet. Bound by the rigid caste society of his planet, forced to keep a growing rage in check, the boundaries between Hari Michaelson, the superstar, and Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle begin to slip. When his wife goes missing in Ankhana, Michaelson and Caine must become one to save his wife and survive the treacherous rulers of two worlds.

Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings, Heroes Die is a heart-pounding thrill ride that never brakes and one novel you don't want to put down. A blend of sci-fi and fantasy, Heroes Die is as good as they come. It's a unique tale with interesting concepts and a whole lot of blood -- like a lot of fucking blood. A world is only as good as its characters, and Stover's Caine is very, very good. He's an anti-hero through and through, a man twisted by his own violence, confused between his role as a good guy superstar back on earth and his occupation as the best assassin Ankhana has ever seen.

Caine ponders the morality of his actions, all the while eviscerating his victims. Who is the real man behind the character and which one is the mask? Hari Michaelson the superstar or Caine the assassin? Ultra violent, visceral and just damn cool, Heroes Die is a shrine to violence and Caine is the high priest. Those wanting a superb story that rushes along faster than a supersonic jet, with more action then you can shake a stick at need wait no longer.

This book has been on multiple versions of this best fantasy book list and it STILL remains on the list, even in It's such a standout book in even in crowded genre with many greats, it's still one of the greatest, if oft overlooked and underrated, book. There are a number of Caine novels as of and every single one of them are fantastic, though the first couple books are the best.

This one is full to the brim with gritty, amoral, cynical dark humor. A different sort of fantasy, but one that's extremely refreshing, disturbing, and entertaining -- one of the best fantasy reads to come out the past couple years. Even as we near , The Prince of Thorns still stands tall among other strong fantasy books. For a dark, gritty, anti-hero driven fantasy, I felt strong Abercrombie vibes.

There's a strong influence from A Game of Thrones -- and if you've ever read KJ Parker's The Engineer trilogy , you'll see some similarities in the tone and style of world. The setting of the world is interesting too, a sort of post-apocalypse world gone to hell that sparks similarities to Jack Vance's Dying Earth world. This is the brutal story of Prince Jorg, a teenage princeling who abandoned his father's castle after witnessing the murder of his mother and brother. During this time away, he's been eking out a place for himself with band of marauders.

These are brutal killers of the worst sort and Jorg has been living as a sort of apprentice murderer under their rules. Things get interesting when he decides to head back home and reclaim his stolen birthright by force and blood. The narration is first person and well done at that -- I haven't been so entertained by first person narration in ages. This is some of the first person narration since Farseer and The Name of the Wind.

I particularly loved Jorg's sharp insights into the human condition, which is generously sprinkled through the pages. Clever stuff. And didactic. Lawrence has managed to do well what few authors ever do: create a compelling anti-hero -- arguably one of the most complex and interesting in the whole fantasy genre. Make no bones about it: the protagonist Jorg Ancraft is one vicious bastard, but the genius of Lawrence is that you still kind of like him, despite the fact that he's, well, a pretty vile human being as a whole. But it's a vileness you understand. You know, kind of like that drunk guy you met at the corner bar who was abused by his father, had his wife stolen by his brother and his house auctioned by the bank -- you can understand why he hates the world.

Truth be told, it's tricky for an author to cook up a compelling anti-hero; to do so, you need the absolute perfect blend of good world-building, a protagonist that you can still sympathize with, and sharp, witty prose that binds the whole thing together and keeps you from hating the protagonist. Most authors can't balance this sensitive equation and fail horribly, either making the antihero so unlovable that you hate him completely or eventually turning the anti-hero into a good yet 'misunderstood' character.

Well Lawrence does not fall into these trappings. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for a darker sort of tale. It grips you in a horrified, yet I-can't-stop-reading sort of way. It's not for everyone, especially those who only like reading about good, lovable heroes.

If you are averse to bad things happening, avoid. But if you are on the lookout for a different sort of fantasy tale, one that's dark and brooding, starring a protagonist who's not afraid to do anything to achieve power, you'll find this tale gripping. The trilogy has been completed as of and from start to finish, the Lawrence maintains the quality of story, plot, and characters.

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This year the first book in another trilogy set in the same world, the third book, The Wheel of Oshiem , was released with another interesting, yet different type of anti-hero character. Lawrence has really come into his own as a writer the past few year and his outstanding series has kept him on this list of the best. Kay has made this list in the past with his outstanding Tigana arguably one of his best works.

Up until recently, I felt Tigana was Kay's magnus opus a work that he would never surpass. It turns out that Kay's recent book, Under Heaven, an alternate history set in a mythical China is every bit as grand as Tigana, and perhaps even better a more tightly weaved, more focused, more exotic tale. Under Heaven is Kay's first foray into Asian history and culture, his other efforts centered about European history. Under Heaven takes place along a mythical China set around 8th century during the Tang Dynasty and follows a fictionalized version of the An Shi Rebellion one of the most brutal wars in history before World War II.

For readers who actually love to read, who enjoy luscious prose and value outstanding characterization, Kay's books are pretty much made-to-order just for you. There are a few talented wordsmiths in the fantasy genre who not only can mesmerize you with a rich tale but mesmerize you with their prose. Kay is one of these, up there with the handful of poetic authors with the likes of Sean Williams, China Meiville, and Neil Gaiman. Kay's works sit near the top of the historical fantasy genre and he's a master at it.

His tales are almost always set in a in fantastical alternate history richly based on real world cultures, locales, and historical period. I was first enticed by Kay's literary spell casting because that's what it is, Kay casts a magical net with his writing and draws you into his worlds; once you feel the enchantment, you are forever bound to his works with his flawed masterpiece, Fionavar Tapestry. The trilogy was Kay's conversation with Lord of the Rings, and while derivative also had its own unique identify and was deeply imbued with Kay's deep understanding of European folklore.

His later work and masterpiece Tigana was so stunning and so startling a take on the ostensibly simple tale about a band of rebels fighting an evil wizard delivered a startlingly emotional tale of love, hate, hope, and ultimately redemption. Kay has had a lot of good books since then never quite touching on his former glory, though some of his romps through alternative versions of Venetian Europe and Medieval Germany were provocative.

Kay's heroes are not the traditional heroes of fantasy they are not always the talented swordsman, the heroic soldier, the all-powerful wizard, but rather men of knowledge and wit not of martial skill. Kay's heroes are in fact poets and jongleurs, the masters of word and song.

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Kay shows these types can be every bit as dangerous, courageous and heroic as the swashbuckling hero. And like his heroes who excel in the arts literary and celebrate language, Kay's works always reflect his love affair with language. Kay shows us that as far as Asia and Europe are in distance and culture, the peoples are still yet the same the love, they hate, they betray, they hate, and they find redemption. People, as the saying goes, will always be people. And in the complex web of these interactions from peasant to emperor, from poet to politician, Kay shows draws a stunning portrait of a Kingdom on the verge of collapse and the people who seek to destroy it and to save it each with realistic motivations.

Kay has written many outstanding books. But Under Heaven is his masterpiece. Read if you want to be captivated by lambent prose, dripping with poetic beauty. Read if you want to be drawn into a fantastical tale of emperors, of soldiers, of nobles, and ladies, farmers and peasants each impacting in some significant way the flow of events that direct the course of Kitai, the mystical ancient Chinese kingdom.

Even better, there is a sequel River of Stars which tells a different yet equally poignant tale in the same world, but years after the first book. If words could tell a story just by the sound, then Kay's prose does just that. Read if you love to read. The Divine Cities. This book is the newest work just released September on this list -- but the author has been writing some of the best, if underrated, fantasy fiction for the past decade, so it's hardly a leap to put his works on this list in fact, I had one of the author's previous works, The Troupe , on one of the older iterations of this list a few years ago.

Robert Jackson Bennett, like Neil Gaiman, is an author that seems unable to actually publish a bad novel. Yes, some works are better than others, but even the 'worst' of make for a pleasant and highly imaginative read. City of Stars is his finest novel to date, a work that blends the traditional epic fantasy with a number of other genres and the novel, I hope, that will finally bring him the critical acclaim and popularity he deserves. Assassins, ancient gods, alternate worlds, mysteries, magic,politics, love, brutal action -- and a car chase thrown in.

City of Stairs is really an eclectic mix of ideas that all, somehow, fit together perfectly. And it's all told with such sardonic and crackling prose. And the sequel City of Blades was just released in and tells the same sort of wonderful tale the first book did. This is a book -- and series -- you would do well to lose yourself in. One of the best fantasy novels of on my list of picks for that year and I would posit,one of the best, most unique fantasy works in the past five years.

City of Stairs is a captivating read -- once it starts going, it really gets going and you've found yourself at page at 4 am in the morning. If you read one book this year, make it City of Stairs.

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A world of rich storytelling awaits in Robert Bennett Jackson's books. And City of Stairs is the perfect stairway in to his works. Finally a foreign author translated makes it onto the list. Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, a Russian author, does something very different in the urban fantasy sphere. It's a book about vampires but filtered through a different lens -- that of the Russian perspective. As such, it makes for a Night Watch is a morally grey urban fantasy, and one of the best examples of it; it's an updated, more modern version of Anne Rice, but much darker, deeper, more edgy and vastly broader in scope.

Epic vampire fantasy set in Russia, but gritty and grey. Forget about the mediocre, angsty vampire lit of the Twilight books, Night Watch is the adult version that sparks in the night. Too often we get fantasy filtered through the eyes of western writers, but Night Watch is something different -- it's fantasy written from the view of a different culture -- soaked in different cultural ideas, myths, and social norms.

The style is gritty Gothic -- a sort of horror novel meets fantasy. The premise itself is new for the whole vampire urban fantasy that takes the genre in a slightly new direction. But most of all, it's the dark work and the raw cultural differences infused into the story that make it such a refreshing read. This is like no vampire fantasy you've read, and I posit this is the best of the bunch. If you want to read books about vampires this is the one to read, the one that is, actually, different.

Though it's a translated work, the translation is most excellently done -- you don't get some stilted dry version that's a pale shadow of the original. Night Watch is not only one of the best non-English fantasy books, it's on of the best fantasy books in the genre. Read it for something wildly different than you are used to. Rich characterization, a fascinating new world and mythology, interesting magic, and of course a vivid and lush setting Russia make this the Urban Fantasy to read.

It's a book and series that's deserving to be read. One of the more exciting new fantasy works in the genre. Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser.

I Need A Hero

Often referred to as ' the greatest fantasy author you've never read ' by some. And sadly true. But if you've read any modern sword and sorcery with dark themes, complex characters, strong world building, you've felt the far-reaching influence of Leiber.

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Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser is a fantasy most of you probably have not read, due to its age and the criminal lack of recognition given to the series over the years. The impact on the genre Fritz Leiber cannot be understated. Together with Conan stories and Lord of the Rings, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were some of the most influential books in the fantasy, helping to define the boundaries of the genre and impacting generations of writers.

Fritz Leiber actually coined the term Sword and Sorcery and together with Howard's Conan stories, he's credited as the father of Sword and Sorcery. The familiar trappings expected by the modern fantasy reader are all present in the stories of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: evil wizards, abundant thieves, roguish swordsmen, princesses in distress. But all these elements are used in such a way that the stories are fresh; indeed this older series is very much readable by today's standards of fantasy. The cities are well developed, the landscapes are filled with a rich tapestry of history, the characters complex and realistic, thoughtful and at times dark.

And the writings is sweet, hearkening back to a time when to be a writer meant to be a wordsmith, where the minimum of words are used with great skill to express so much. Read this not only because it's one of the books that fostered an entire genre of writing, but for the phenomenal world building, the compelling characters, the deep relationships and exciting adventures all told with Leiber's remarkable prose -- a prose that many modern writers would do well to ape.

Despite the age of these stories, it's clear Fritz Leiber is 10x a better writer than a number of modern popular fantasy writers. There's a certain cadence to the way Fritz Leiber tells his tales -- a subtle but powerful, like a monastic chant that soothes the soul, and very much present in all of his works. You have to read his stories to get the feeling of it, but once you do, you'll feel right at home in his wonderfully crafted worlds. Not a 'Modern' fantasy you say? Meh, this stuff is better than 95 percent of the new fantasy that's published these days.

Leiber is right up there with the modern greats like Martin, Abercrombie, and Lynch and was undoubtedly a huge influence in their own writings. If you want to read sword and sorcery fantasy that focuses every bit as much on the relationship between characters as it does on the violence and action, this is a series you want to absolutely read. This is epic fantasy with a different face, and different than any sort of fantasy out there. Think a delectable mix of epic fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Mystery. If there was ever a definition for dark fantasy, it's The Coldfire trilogy.

The main characters may die, the hero may die, evil may, in fact, win. The hero may do questionable things to gain victory. It's fantasy that's morally ambiguous. The world created by Friedman is quite unique -- a landscape where your own imagination influences the very essence of reality. Of course, human imagination being what it is, instead of a paradise crafted by the mind, the world is rather a vivid and starkly realized nightmare that literally haunts the populous. Only men of supreme will are able to bend the world to their desires.

It's an interesting premise that Friedman fully explores over the series. The hero, or rather anti-hero, is one of the more compelling protagonists in the fantasy genre. This is a fantasy series that you will either love to death or utterly despise. These are books that use the characters, the world, and the plot as a vehicle to tell a deeper message about mankind's foils and foibles.

If you are the type of reader who wants fast-paced, easy to read fantasy with no deeper message, this fantasy probably won't appeal to your sensibilities. But if you want to enjoy a deep story about the nature of man set in a horrific world with a cast of characters who are not always likable, this is a tale you should read. This series has been around since the 90's now, but even in , the series still stands out among peers and is absolutely still one of the best fantasies ever written.

This is a new entry on the list, one for those more literary minded who love a richly woven, utterly intoxicating tale of magical rivalry and love. Set in a mysterious circus, the setting is just as much a character in the story. How to describe this book: one long lucid dream. A dream where the fantastical can become reality. Where the mysterious is just around the corner or behind the curtain , a place -- and time -- beyond our ken -- beckoning with mystery. The Night Circus , a book I eagerly consumed like movie theater popcorn, is magical indeed, from the structure of the chapters, to the setting, to the many character twining in and out of the story threads.

The chapters are short and bite-sized, allowing short but sweet reading doses with each character. The prose is good, simple but not too simple, elegant, but not too elegant. Just about right. Overall, the writing is descriptive, lyrical, imaginative, and paints a fascinating portrait of a world you feel leaping from the pages.

From cover to cover, the book keeps enchanting. Though I will say if you are not a fan of Morgenstern's writing from the get go, you probably will hate the entire book; her style of writing may annoy some readers. The author does have an uncanny ability to paint a vividly realized world. The Circus is mysterious and yet strangely familiar. It's cliche to call a book ' a tour de force ' but The Night Circus earns such a description that fits. All told, this is not a book about action and adventure. It's a story about a story with the story played out across an evocative setting.

Just enjoying a stroll through the magical setting is almost as rewarding as the story itself. The Night Circus is not a perfect story and not a perfect performance. The characters are somewhat lackluster, the writing can fall short at times, but like an actual live circus, the Night Circus is an experience that needs to be experienced at least one time in your life -- and it's a performance that absolutely delivers like few other books do. And for that, this is a must-read book that sits on this list.

If you like stories about grand heroes who stand up for the downtrodden, who fight for a righteous cause, then Legend is a shining beacon of this sort of fantasy. Gemmell was a prolific writer and a good one at that. His books are always fascinated with the concept of heroism and the individual sacrifice required to be a hero. Indeed, the concept of 'the stoic hero' always play a key theme in pretty much every single one his many novels. Expect bloody battles, glorious last stands, magic, love, valor, sacrifice, honor, horror, and all that good stuff that makes you weep with joy.

Come read about men who refuse to sacrifice their values no matter what the cost. This is not a tale about doing evil for the greater good, but doing good always no matter the cost. It's the fantasy fiction version of Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Fury and any and every one of those movies about war, death, and courage and heroism where a band of men and women face insurmountable odds and certain death, but refuse to.

Gemmell absolutely delights in telling the story of a broken man often a man past his prime who just wants peace who tries to find meaning through sacrifice. With 'modern' fantasy celebrating tales where heroes are villains and villains are heroes, where the idea that the villain and hero are simply two sides of the same coin, the works of Gemmell stand out as a pillar that repudiates this idea. Gemmell's works are very much dichotomous. Words created of black and white rather than shades of the same colors. The Hero, then, is a hero in the true sense and villains are villainous.

Gemmell does not try and wow you with lyrical words, twisted political plots, or complicated narrative structure, but rather, he spends his energy writing action packed, emotionally enthralling heroic tales. Gemmell is more of a storyteller than a writer and it shows in his rather simple, mostly utilitarian prose. His early works like Legend are rough around the edges, stylistically, but the passion and the heart of the story shine even beneath the roughness. His later works, however, like his Troy series, show a drastic improvement in his ability as a writer of prose with the final book in the trilogy finished by his wife after he died , the best of the bunch with a far more refined writing style that Gemmell lacked.

While 'Legend' is standing in for all of Gemmell's Drenai books, I feel his best work was in fact his final work before he passed away, his magnificently written Troy Trilogy starts with Lord of the Silver Bow , which cleverly re-invents the Greek story of Troy. In this version of the Best Fantasy Books list, I've finally added Gemmell to the top list, in no small part due to his enormous contribution to the genre, specifically, to Heroic fantasy. And by the end of his career he really was a master of his specific craft. So come all ye who are weary of anti-heroes and dastardly heroes.

Legend is your salvation. There is no finer reading about "other worlds than these" than The Dark Tower , a magnificent, sprawling, evocative epic that ties together a number of divergent concepts and genres, from the classic Western to the Arthurian legend along with Quest Fantasy and the Multiverse concept. Spawned from the fertile mind of horror Meister Steven King, The Dark Tower is a masterpiece of storytelling, seamlessly weaving different genres together into a compelling mix.

Set in a stark, tired world that has "moved on," Roland of Giliad, the last of the fabled Gunslingers, protectors of a now dying world -- and maybe more than one world -- journeys from landscape to landscape, from world to world on a quest to find and preserve from destruction the mythical Dark Tower, the nexus from which all things spawn and connect.

A western at its core, with a solid mix of horror, fantasy, Arthurian legends, and Sci-Fi, the Dark Tower saga is a towering feat of imagination; at seven books long, it is King's true Magnus Opus. The first book in The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger , is a flawed book -- even with the much older, much wiser, much better writer Stephen King publishing an updated version.

Keep in mind the original was published over 30 years ago in The Dark Tower is clearly a story and concept that's haunted King's writings for many many years. In fact, quite a few of his books indirectly tie into The Dark Tower. You might say all his stories are twined into the central story of the Dark Tower. You can see here exactly which of his books and what ties into the greater The Dark Tower universe. The first book is merely the gateway into much better things, into bigger worlds, and characters, and concepts, and a journey across worlds that you will never leave you.

So if you are not impressed by the first book, give book two and three a read, the story gets much better as things fall into place. The seven book series is without a doubt uneven, with the first few books the strongest and the series occasionally stumbling afterward, but taken as a whole The Dark Tower is a remarkable work. King is always his best when he writes about "Other worlds than these". And the Dark Tower is his Gilgamesh, his Tower of Babel that seeks to stand above everything else he's ever written.

Are there better single books by the same author? Yes, I would argue there are. But taken as a whole, the collective story of King's haunted Gunslinger Roland, a character partially inspired by Robert Browning's mysterious poem, A Childe Roland , as he chases the Man in Black through the desert and into "other worlds than these" is one of the great fantasy works of our generation.

Even in , this is one tale that you do not want to miss out on. And like seriously with a book that opens with " The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed ", how can you not want to read it? I especially recommend the fantastic audiobook version which really bring to life the characters through the superb voice acting by the narrator, if you can find the original narration by Frank Muller not the more modern, but inferior, redo by George Guidall.

Harry Dresden, a Sherlock with kick-ass attitude and wizard powers. This is some damn addictive detective fantasy. The series contains everything a fantasy book lover could want: magic, action, mystery, adventure, love, and sorrow. It also gets pretty damn dark by the later part of the series. Get ready to meet vampires, werewolves, wizards, fairies, and angels. Dresden is what Anita Blake should be. I'm not usually a reader of urban fantasy, but Butcher has converted me with this stunning series. Yea, yea, some of you will tell me that Dresden is only pulp fiction and shouldn't join the ranks of this august list.

Pulp fiction or no, The Dresden Files are great reads. They may not be literary in the sense of a China Mieville novel, but heck, sometimes you don't WANT to think when you read. Pulp or not, Dresden represents another aspect of the fantasy genre: paranormal hard-boiled noir fantasy. Many readers wonder why I don't put Butcher's other fantasy series, Codex Alera on the list. Well, simply put, there are 25 spots and I don't want to shove in the same author twice. So, read this as my endorsement for Butcher's Codex Alera series -- it's a great epic fantasy series with a Roman flavor that you should read.

I personally prefer having The Dresden Files on this list since there's enough epic fantasy on this list already. Dresden has been near the top of the Urban Fantasy genre for years. The series, for the most part, has opted for a darker tone with the main character undergoing significant changes usually psychologically damaging ones over the course of the series.

This manages to keep things fresh for the most part, even in However, I think the series is on the decline now. My major complaint with this series now is the fact that Butcher seems obligated to throw in a cameo of pretty much every side character in the entire series with every new book. This creates unnecessary filler and contrived plots. And, for the most part, no one ever really seems to die permanently. I feel Butcher needs to dramatically shake things up and start killing off characters.

Butcher's most. We generate a very small commision if you buy an amazon product linked to from this site. These comissions help us keep the BestFantasyBooks running and funds site improvements. Top 25 Best Fantasy Books. Love fantasy novels? Hate wasting time reading trash? Then read this definitive guide to the top 25 Fantasy books in the genre. Updated Mar Comments Awards Won: LocusF. Still waiting for Book 6. Does Martin Still Have the Magic? Similar Recommendations. Listiverse Recommendations. And about those complaints people have. If you haven't read the book, you better.

Seriously, just read it. The Axe and the Throne M. Feb What does this all mean? The Magicians is fantasy that's more than fantasy. Comments Jun But here's the thing:. Le Guin.

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Tears of a Heart Chase Blackwood. Norrell Susanna Clarke. And I really mean that. I was wrong. Comments 2. Comments 0. It should be read by you. It deserves to be read by you. Comments 8. Crowd Ranked Version of the List - Vote on it! Our Version of the List At a Glance. Tolkien Rowling Feist Brett Lewis Salvatore Jones Martin Sullivan Modesitt Jr. This is where the magic tree house is taking Jack and Annie on the mission of a lifetime! They will visit Camelot, a haunted castle, an island lost in mist, and the Land-Behind-the-Clouds.

It is one unforgettable adventure! But sometimes the path is trickier than it seems. Easy-to-read language and illustrations on nearly every page make this series perfect for a wide range of ages. In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! Two worlds. Only magic can bring them together, in this fantastical middle grade adventure for fans of the Descendants and School for Good and Evil series.

Halan is a powerless princess. She is heir to the Magi Kingdom, a blazing desert land ruled by ancient magic. But unlike every royal before her, Halan has no magical powers of her own. Nalah is a powerful pauper. One girl fears magic, one worships it. But when a legendary mirror connects them, Nalah and Halan finally meet—and must work together to save their two worlds, before everything they know is shattered forever.

But having a unique family comes in handy sometimes, like when his sea-serpent cousin takes Danny and his best iguana friend on a mindboggling underwater tour, complete with vomiting sea cucumbers and giant squid. It sure beats reading the encyclopedia to research his ocean report. Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters with a penchant for getting themselves into sticky situations.

As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! Nory Horace is nine years old. This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.

Then you belong in The Unicorn Rescue Society. His class is going on a field trip to a creepy forest called the Pine Barrens. The trip is being led by Professor Fauna, the weirdest teacher Elliot has ever met. She likes danger. Illustrated throughout, this is the perfect fit for newly independent readers looking for a story full of adventure, fun, and friendship. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers. Further on, a crystalline elfin castle rises into the clouds, not far from some scary hobgoblins and trolls. And on a truly stunning spread, a humanoid magical tree spreads its branches to reveal a face within its foliage, while flowers unfold and rearrange their petals, turning into flower fairies.

Visiting mythical beings around the world, from household brownies to the merfolk lurking deep below the sea, this breathtaking 3-D book, brimming with facts and fancy, will hold humans of all ages in its spell. But first they have to figure out how. Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine.

Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine? Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules! Will Jax get the baby dragons delivered safe and sound? Or will they be lost in Brooklyn forever?

Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life.

Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…? Only a secret destiny can save the dragons in this enchanting adventure about the true meaning of home. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen…and go on supernatural adventures. That last one?

Today is no exception. Also, unicorns. This hilarious, rollicking adventure series brings the beloved Lumberjanes characters into a novel format with brand-new adventures. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor…until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.

There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The beloved unicorns have gone, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help—as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family…and be truly himself.

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey…until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

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  • Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death.

    But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that? One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket , who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online.

    For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, Hereville will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft.

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