Get your Daily Prophet here!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened in Universal Studios Orlando!! It looks like it an amazing experience for fans of the books (which would seem to include a great proportion of the world’s population). An interesting note is that althougth there are no doubt numerous opportunities to shop in the park, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is the only place to buy Rowling’s books. Fun, no?

I need to start planning my trip to Florida – do you think the Floo Network operates between Cleveland and Orlando?

— Julie

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Outta This World

You know what’s fun? Books full of fantastic beings and imaginative storylines. Fantasy books can be a total release from our everday world or they can be giving us a new viewpoint on what we see out our window, like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury or Animal Farmby George Orwell. We had a fairly wide range of books and this is what my friends are saying about their books:

Rosemary:
The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick is the first book in a new fantasy series. Pazel, a 15-year-old boy left homeless by war, and Thasha, a rebellious bride-to-be in an arranged marriage, are fellow travelers on the Chathrand, a legendary 600-year-old ship. There are other less innocent passengers on board as well. Pazel and Thasha will find themselves challenged by an evil mage and violent conspirators before their journey’s end.

Evelyn:
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
Allie Beckstrom hunts down people who hurt others by using magic. Unfortunately, every time Allie, herself, uses magic, she loses little bits of her memory. When Allie is called to track a magic user, she tracks the bad magic to her father. Then, her father is murdered, and Allie becomes the main suspect. On the run from the police, Allie needs to clear her name and find her father’s murderer.

Carol:
For our fantasy meeting, I read Dragonlance Chronicles, Volume 1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This is the very first of the Dragonlance novels, a series based on a Dungeons & Dragons game session. This one begins with the return of a group of six friends consisting of Tanis Half-Elven (a half-elf), Sturm Brightblade (a knight of an ancient order), Caramon (a warrior), Raistlin (Caramon’s twin who is a powerful magician), Flint Fireforge (a dwarf), and the pixie-like Tasselhoff Burrfoot (a kender). They reunite in their world, called Krynn, amidst rumors of war and growing evil. It’s not until they meet a beautiful barbarian princess, the plainswoman Goldmoon and her protector Riverwind, and see that the two carry a legendary, magical healing Blue Crystal Staff, that the group realizes that they have been chosen to assist these plainspeople take their staff to fight against an evil goddess who has amassed an army of evil-doing goblins. Their great adventure begins and the group travels many treacherous roads and are assisted by magical creatures along the way, including unicorns, Pegasus (flying horses), & dragons. They also face great dangers that will either destroy them or forge them into the greatest heroes that the world of Krynn has ever known. This traditional epic fantasy novel includes many battle scenes but is not just swords and dragons. Instead, this novel is filled with a bit of everything: mystery, suspense, thrills, romance, & poetry & there’s quite a lot to like here. And, as the beginning of a series of over 80 books, a fan could find she spending time in the imaginary world of Krynn for the foreseeable future.

Janet:
The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce.
Set in Coventry, England, just after World War II, matriarch Martha Vine oversees the lives of her 7 grown daughters. Like Martha, the youngest daughter, Cassie, has inherited some of her mother’s otherworldly gifts such as being able to talk and listen to ghosts. When Cassie has a baby boy, the result of a wartime tryst with an American GI, the family decides to raise the boy because Cassie is considered unstable. Her young son, Frank Vine, lives with his aunts and uncles, who are all eccentric in their own way. By the age of ten it is clear that Frank also has the “gift”. This rich family saga ends on a happy note for one and all.

Ann:
The Wild Road by Gabriele King
The story of Tag, a cat who’s been chosen by the mystical one-eyed cat Majicou to be the one to find the King and Queen of cats and lead them to Tintagel before the summer equinox (all the while avoiding some evil humans the complexities of the world). Tag learns from Majicou the mysteries of the “wild road,” a magical highway known only to animals as a way to travel through time and space. Reviews compare the appeal to Tolkien’s works in the good vs. evil fight and also find this a suitable title for teens.

Stacey:
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
This is the second book in a proposed trilogy and happily it’s as engaging as The Summoning. Chloe’s just learning to deal with the supernatural power she didn’t even know she had, while trying to escape becoming an “experiment” for The Edison Group. Derek, Simon, Rae and Tori are the other supernaturally gifted teens who are on the run with Chloe and the question quickly becomes who to trust, in their group and in the outside world.

Emma:
Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace
As a traveling salesman, Edward Bloom wasn’t home much during the growing up years of son William, and now Edward is on his death bed. William wants to know who his father really is before it is too late. He wants to hear the true stories behind the tall tales, but it doesn’t happen. William reconstructs his father’s life through a series of stories, and in doing so finds a way to say goodbye.

Dori:
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, is the first of a teen fantasy trilogy. Set in contemporary Ohio, the story revolves around Jackson Swift, a young man whose only difference is a scar on his chest and his required daily dose of medicine. When his aunt takes him on a trip to explore their family’s geneaology, he discovers a magical sword that only he can use because he is actually a warrior who is part of the Weir people, a magical family going back hundreds of years.

Good stuff, right? Next up is Adventure… are you man or woman enough to join us on this one? You’ll be looking for a book with a fast-moving plot, an exotic setting, and a larger-than-life hero. What do you think, are you ready for the ride?

— Stacey