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Fantasy Picks … What the Book Club Read Last Month

So many excellent books in the fantasy genre lately! Here are some of the top fantasy picks the BEHS Library Book Club read last month. Curiously, several have characters who are thieves. Perhaps not so curiously, none involve football players so football fans who were lured in by the Fantasy Picks title, sorry about that … but stick around to learn about some fun books to read!

A few of the fantasy novels the Book Club read in December. See short reviews of four of the titles below.

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab – Four separate but coexisting Londons, four different levels of magic. Two people left who can travel between the worlds and one street thief who accidentally gets caught up in the political intrigue between the worlds. When Kell, one of the few who can travel between the different versions of the city, is tricked into bringing a dangerous artifact across the border, a chain reaction of disasters embroils him and street thief Lila Bard in what could be the end of all four worlds. A fast-moving fun read that reveals secrets and character twists as the plot unfolds.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Set in the gritty underworld of Ketterdam, where both magic and thieves prosper, Six of Crows is the somewhat dark story of a dangerous, definitely illegal, and virtually impossible quest to kidnap a chemist from an unassailable fortress. This is not a noble quest, the prize is a huge pot of money. Kaz, a mysterious young con artist, assembles his ragtag band of brilliant loners into a Ocean’s Eleven-ish type band of anti-heroes who have what it takes to survive on their own and, hopefully, beat impossible odds. Fully realized characters who play against each other, plenty of action, and detailed world building make this a good read.

Winterspell by Claire Legrand – What’s not to like when you mashup steampunk, fantasy and dystopia with a twist on The Nutcracker? Clara Stole, the genteel daughter of the mayor, leads a prim and proper life while secretly being trained in self-defense. On one fateful Christmas Eve she finds out why she’s been training all these years after her home is brutally attacked, her father kidnapped, a statue comes alive and a doorway to another world is revealed. Follow Clara and Nicholas on their wild adventure to save her family and the kingdom.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – A fantasy/dystopian crossover with a lot of action and plot twists. In a world where people with silver blood and magical abilities rule, life is brutally hard for the ungifted red-blooded humans. While trying to survive in this dystopian world, 17-year old pickpocket Mare inadvertently finds herself embroiled in deception, rebellion, the queen’s court, and possible love interests with two different guys. So many twists and turns, trials and trust issues make Red Queen a fun read.

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The Iron Trial : Magisterium Book One by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Callum Hunt wants to fail the Iron Trials. He wants nothing to do with magic, nothing to do with the mages, nThe Iron Trialothing to do with being a student at the Magisterium, just as his father taught him. But, of course, that is not his fate. Because sometimes magic is more powerful than the people who control it. Especially when that person is just a teenager with a bum leg.

The Iron Trials–a test to get into The Magisterium–are just the beginning of this great collaboration by two favorite authors–Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. You know they’re going to give you a good story and they do. The book starts out looking like a twist on Harry Potter, but soon veers off on its own path, complete with multiple twists and turns, both literal and figurative. You will quickly fall under the spell of this new series as Callum learns not only how to handle magic but also the meaning of friendship, loyalty and honor. And, in the end… well you’ll just have to read the ending yourself. But remember … chaos wants to devour…

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Fantasy/Magic

Watch the book trailer!

Find The Iron Trial in the BEHS Library.

Review by Ms. Bing

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The Finisher by David Baldacci

Vega Jane lives in the tiny village of Wormwood with all the other Wugmorts, taking care of her younger brThe Finisher by David Baldacciother and working at Stacks where she’s a “finisher” of pretty objects that are shipped off to who knows where. It’s not the worst life in the world. She has her job, her best friend Delph and her brother. She’s making it all work. Until, suddenly, she isn’t.

The unraveling of her ordinary life begins when she sees her boss Quentin being chased by attack dogs and running into the Quag, the deep mysterious woods that circles their town. No one goes into the Quag. If they do, they don’t come out. Then Vega Jane herself gets chased by attack dogs. Next comes a map to the Quag, apparently left for her by Quentin. All of a sudden, life starts to get really interesting. Nothing is as it seems anymore; perhaps it never was. It gets Vega Jane thinking about what her grandfather told her long ago before he suffered his “event”: “The most bitterly awful place of all is one that Wugmorts don’t know is as wrong as wrong can possibly be.” She never knew what that meant and she still doesn’t, but she’s pretty sure all these strange, dangerous happenings have something to do with figuring it out.

You will quickly get pulled into this rich fantasy world of Vega Jane’s as Wormwood slowly evolves from a grim, ordinary existence into a strange, mysterious magical place. The plot twists aren’t predictable and the magic enters the story in bits and pieces as Vega Jane tries to unravel the mystery of who Wugmorts really are, what Wormwood really is, and most importantly, how will she stay alive long enough to figure it all out. An excellent, fun read that will leave you impatient for the the sequel.

Rating: 5 stars!

Genre: Fantasy/Magic

Watch the trailer!

Find The Finisher in the BEHS Library.

Reviewed by Ms. Bing

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The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is a roller coaster of feels. The characters suck you in with intense fight scenes, battles of magic and a war against tyranny.

Join Iolanthe and Prince Titus in an awe-inspiring journey of suspense, anger, and grief. The journey begins with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning. (Warning – contains romance…)

Rating: 4 stars!

Genre: Fantasy/Magic



Watch the trailer, you’ll love it!

Get the book from the BEHS Library.


Posted by: Cathy D.