Tal and Milla have been given a mission by the Crones-- to sneak into the Castle through the long-forgotten heatways and steal two sunstones: one for Tal's family, and one for Milla's Clan. So the unlikely, often-grudging pair's adventure continues, not on the cold darkness of the Ice, where Milla was confident and at home, but in Tal's territory; the warm and light-filled Castle. However, they face more enemies here than ever they did on the Ice. The brutality underlying the "civilized" Chosen culture is revealed, as Tal and Milla are caught and punished by the increasingly-frightening-and-powerful Sushin. Milla's Icecarl training allows her to escape unscathed from the Hall of Nightmares, and Tal's ingenuity and Uncle Ebbit help him escape from the Pit. As before, each fresh escape creates yet more questions and reveals even more obstacles. Their only hope is to Ascend to the Spirit World of Aenir and find the Codex- a magical intelligence that knows the answers to all questions.

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The Fall

Tal is a Chosen; a manipulator of light through the precious Sunstones-- all that gives light in his world, eternally dark beneath The Veil. He lives in the seven-turreted Castle; the only human dwelling in all the dark world, with a level and a tower for each color. Once a year, his family Ascends into the spirit realm of Aenir, where light and color still reign, and where one day he will bind a spirit being to himself to become his Shadowguard, taking the place of his natural shadow and becoming his life-long servant and companion. However, lately trouble has beset Tal's family; his father has disappeared (and with it the family Sunstone, their only way to Ascend to Aenir), is perhaps even dead, his mother sickens and hovers on the brink of death, his younger brother has been kidnapped, and enemies he does not understand are suddenly dogging his every move. In a desperate attempt to procure a new Sunstone to save his mother, Tal falls from the Red Tower, into a world he finds is not so dark and empty as he always believed. So much of what he thought he knew is now being challenged, especially by the fearsome would-be warrior girl Icecarl, Milla. The unlikely pair find themselves bound to one another and to a Quest-- to return to the Castle (no small feat across the dark world of Ice) and obtain two Sunstones; one for Tal, and one for Milla's Clan.

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The Hobbit

A very ordinary hobbit finds himself in an utterly unlooked-for adventure, thanks to the meddling of Gandalf the Wizard. He never wanted to cross distant lands to get dwarven treasure back from a dragon! Or did he? Perhaps the Took side of the family was stronger in him than he knew? Regardless, he finds himself as the 14th member of an expedition to reclaim the gold rightfully belonging to Thorin Oakenshield- once King under the Lonely Mountain. Despite the lack of proper meals and lodgings, Bilbo begins to enjoy his adventure, despite encountering trolls, Beorn the wild bear-man, wood-elves, goblins, Wargs, a wretched Gollum creature, and one very greedy dragon (Smaug). Whatever would their company have done without Gandalf? They surely would have been eaten by trolls or goblins or both!

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The Final Storm

This book, third in the series, picks up chronologically immediately where Book 2 left off. Aidan and his dad are back in Maryland, trying to meet with Robby and convince him of the Scrolls' truth, and Antoinette is still in The Realm, imprisoned in Paragor's prison. Paragor is amassing an army larger than any before, complete with a stronger-than-ever Wyrm Lord (a dragon whose very breath brings death) and the Seven Sleepers ("wolvins," which sound a lot like Tolkien's "wargs"). Sentinal Kaliam is doing everything in his power to defend & gather his allies and build new defenses. Aelic (Aidan's glimpse) is found, badly injured, but alive. Back on Earth, Aidan has discovered that his best friend Robby already believes in The Realm, but that he has been convinced by Count Eogan (the impostor emissary from the previous book) that Paragor is the true hero of the tale.When Count Eogan tries to kill Aidan, Robby decides to serve King Eliam, and is swept into Alleble. Like Aidan & Antoinette before him, he becomes a Twelfth Knight and sets out on a mission, racing against Paragor to find both the Scroll of the Prophecy and King Eliam's scribe Zabediel.

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The Rise of the Wyrm Lord

Aidan, recently returned from his voyage to The Realm, meets Antoinette, a fellow Believer. They realize that she is being drawn to The Realm this time, and Aidan passes on to her his concern for Robby, as he fears that his Glimpse is following Paragor. Antoinette is drawn into the Realm and becomes a Twelfth Knight just as Aidan did. (Antoinette is Gwenne's human twin) Soon she is off on her own mission defending Alleble. Several of Alleble's former allies are turning from them, citing unfair treatment at the hand of an Alleble emissary whom King Eliam never sent. Rumor has it that Paragor is also trying to awaken evils from ancient prophecies in his desire for power. Antoinette's team sets off through the Blackwood Forest to Yewland in order to try and re-establish their alliance while doing reconnaissance of Paragor's dealings.

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The Door Within

Aidan is a teenager who has just moved across the country to care for his wheel-chair-bound grandfather "Grampin." And he isn't happy about it. He misses his best friend from Maryland, Robby, and does not look forward to trying to start over making friends. Amidst his fuming, mysterious scrolls appear in his basement, telling an engaging story about life in a parallel world simply called "The Realm." This land and ours were once the same, but after The Schism, the two were separated, with each human in our world having a twin in the other-- not human, but a Glimpse. At the end of the Scroll, a riddle appears, inviting him into the Realm itself, should he go through the "Door Within," which is belief. Hardly daring to believe his luck, Aidan ventures into the realm, where he finds himself welcomed as the "Twelfth Knight" of Alleble-- the last member of a select group sent on a vital mission against Paragor.

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Artemis Fowl

Follows the first exploit of 12-year-old criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl. He comes from a long line of geniuses who amassed their gold by less-than-above-board means. With his father gone, and his mother so grief-stricken that she is confined to her room, Artemis has free run of the place, and has set his sights on fairy gold. Protected by his trusty bodyguard, the solid, loyal Butler, he cracks the code to a fairy book, and becomes familiar with their underworld's secrets. Familiar enough to kidnap a fairy-- Holly, a member of the elite "Lower Elements Police recon team." He may have bought off more than he can chew by holding her for ransom. Will he manage to have his gold and his life, too? Or will he and his entire family be blasted to nothingness by the fairy's ultra-high-tech "blue rinse" bomb?

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Time Cat

Jason's cat, Gareth, reveals to him the secret of cats' "nine lives." They can visit 9 different lives; any place, any century. He takes Jason with him. Egypt, Rome, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Peru, The Isle of Man, Germany & the almost-independant British Colony in the Americas all are visited, with many lessons learned!

A wonderful overview of world history!

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The Lost Hero

Jason awakens on a bus in the middle of the Arizona Desert, surrounded by kids his own age and being bossed around by a coach. He has no idea who he is, nor who the people around him are. They are soon attacked by storm spirits, and Jason instinctively knows what they are and how to fight them. He and two other students- Piper, who says she's his girlfriend, and Leo, who says he's his best friend- are rescued by Annabeth & Butch (a new demigod), and are flown to Camp Half-Blood. By order of Zeus, Mt. Olympus has cut off communication with all mortals, including Camp Half-Blood. Something strange is definitely going on. Chiron realizes who Jason is and where he is from, but won't divulge anything. Soon all three friends are claimed by their godly parents, and they are sent off on a quest to save Hera from an unknown super-powerful enemy. All along, Jason is trying to discover who he is, where he's spent the past 12 years, and why each of them has been selected by Hera for this quest. The fulfillment of the second Great Prophecy is being revealed.

I truly savored this book, relishing the slow revealing of the parallel Roman aspects.

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The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Four siblings- Peter, Susan, Edmund & Lucy- enter the fantastical world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe in the home of the Professor. Lucy, the youngest, enters first, and makes friends with a faun (Mr. Tumnus) under a solitary iron lamp-post in a snowy forest. She finds that Narnia is under the control of the White Witch, who has made it "always winter and never Christmas." Her brother Edmund secretly follows her through the wardrobe a few days later, meeting the White Witch herself, and falls under her spell through enchanted Turkish Delight. Finally, one fateful day, all four children hide in the wardrobe and find themselves in Narnia. Edmund's deceit is revealed, and in his anger he runs away to the White Witch. Meanwhile, the children take refuge with Mr. & Mrs. Beaver, who explain that the true King of Narnia is Aslan, the Great Lion, Son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, and that his coming will end the White Witch's reign and her life. The children are to be a part of this, for so runs an ancient prophecy. Peter, Susan and Lucy reach Aslan, while Edmund finds himself imprisoned by the evil Witch in whom he had trusted. Aslan promises to help Edmund, and this he does, through one of the most beautiful Gospel analogies in all of literature. (read more!)

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