How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, set in Salem, Massachusetts, brings the old Salem Witch Trials to life. Fifteen-year-old Samantha Mather has moved to Salem, into her father’s childhood home with her stepmother because her father is in a coma. It’s been 300 years after the Salem witch trials, but Samantha soon realizes that time doesn’t matter to the descendants of the original Salem witches. From the first day of school, she finds herself the target of eerie happenings, not to mention all too real glares and snubs from the kids in school known as “The Descendants,” who really, really resent her for being a descendant of Cotton Mather–you know, the one who almost single-handedly burnt their ancestors at the stake. Apparently, the sins of the fathers are taken very seriously in Salem, as is witchcraft. The only ally Samantha can count on is her new next door neighbor and his mother, which is good, because life at home also is getting creepy and Samantha starts to realize that ghosts and witches, complete with evil intentions, may be all too real. Can she trust the cute next door neighbor or is he part of the conspiracy?
Written with both humor and creepiness, How to Hang a Witch capably combines suspense, magic and horror. Samantha’s character is a likable blend of brains, awkwardness, grit and smarts. It appears to be a stand alone, but I certainly would love to see a sequel.
In The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, Irene is a professional spy for a shadowy organization that exists in multiple realities. That’s right, there is more than one world out there and when Irene gets sent on a mission, she never knows what reality she’ll end up in–or what type of enemy she’ll face. Some enemies are real monsters, others could be the person you trust most. Now, she and her new enigmatic but cute (not that she’s noticed…) assistant, Kai, have been sent to an alternate London reality. Their mission: retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: by the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that in this world supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something–secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.
This book is so much fun. The characters are real, the world-building fantastic. Can’t wait for the sequel!
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine, continues The Great Library dystopian/fantasy series (I love the trend of fantasy libraries!) with non-stop action and suspense. Jess Brightwell, demoted to a soldier in the Library’s army at the end of Ink and Bone, is determined to rescue his friend Thomas. He’s up against almost insurmountable odds though. He doesn’t know who to trust, the deadly automata seemed to be programmed to kill him, and the leaders of the Library definitely want him dead. Can he navigate his way through the maze of real danger and, if he succeeds, will he be saving his friend or bringing about the fall of civilization?
An excellent sequel to Ink and Bone, this is a great read for those who like action and suspense, perfect for fans of The Maze Runner series.
Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley, finally released four years after the The Rook, is well worth the wait. (Well, not really–four years? Seriously? I had to pull out The Rook to remember the storyline. Anyway… ) Myfanwy Thomas, the hero in The Rook, plays a smaller role in this story as she tries to negotiate a tricky merger between the Grafters and the Brotherhood of the Checquy. The merger is tricky because the two groups hate each other, based on the fact that they tried to exterminate each other a hundred or so years ago. Not surprising that only a small section of each group realizes that the merger is the only way they will survive. As Myfanway tries to keep the merger moving, two new characters, Felicity Clements of the Brotherhood and Odette Leliefeld of the Grafters take over the main roles. Their jobs: 1) spy on each other and 2) save the world from really bad things.
Just as he did with The Rook, O’Malley combines suspense with humor and an assortment of odd and somewhat scary happenings in Stiletto. The book is a bit long but lots of fun; you definitely should read The Rook first so you’ll know what’s going on.
There you have it, four fun fantasies for fall.
Submitted by Ms. Bing