coming-of-age

Castle

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 Borrowers

Have you ever lost something you swore you left right there? Maybe you did. Maybe they were Borrowed. The way Mrs. May told it, her younger brother actually met a family of these little people, these Borrowers. At one time, they lived almost every where, but now they are rarely seen. Pod, Homily & Arrietty (14) Clock were named for the clock in Great-Aunt Sophy's house, the clock that hid their front door. Their furniture is made of cigar boxes, their walls are hung with postage stamps, and their gates are locked with safety pins.

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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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Flyte

Septimus is trying to take his place as the youngest son of the Heap family, and the Apprentice to the intimidating Extra-Ordinary Wizard, Marcia (who is still wearing her purple python pointy shoes). Jenna is learning what it means to be the Princess. The Heap family has greatly changed; Silas & Sarah now live in the Castle along with Jenna, and are trying very hard to learn to manage the huge empty building, left bare and sad after 10 years occupation by the Custodian Army. Nicko is a Apprenticed to a boat-builder and lives by the Harbor. Sam, Jo-jo, Edd & Erik have decided to stay on in the Forest at "Camp Heap." Septimus lives in the Wizard Tower under Marcia's supervision. That leaves Simon... unfortunately he returns just as the book begins, bent on getting back at the twerpy younger brother who took (was offered) the Apprenticeship he'd long desired. He kidnaps Jenna, despite having grown up with her as his beloved little sister; to him she is now the one responsible for ruining his life and the cozy family life he once had. When none of the grown-ups believe that he would do such a thing, Septimus & Nicko set off to find her.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Bottom line? This is an odd-numbered HP book, meaning it is intensely psychological. We are all up in Harry's angst, identity crises, and confusion. Alchemically speaking, this book represents the "black" (nigriedo) stage, which is all about breaking the character down to prepare it for purification from of all impurities to create a pure and beautiful Gold in the end. This book is full of Harry being stripped of every part of his identity, with everything that he holds dear being taken from him in some measure: his identity as a wizard, as a Quiddich-player, as a part of the Weasley family, as "just like his father," as an honest and sane person (the newspaper reports that he is attention-seeking and slightly deranged), future career goals, and even as a hero are all questioned.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The more I read, the more I see!! J.K. Rowling is the queen of narrative misdirection; I can see why she loved Emma (Jane Austen), which is a book ALL ABOUT thinking you know where the characters and plot is going, and being totally wrong. This book is amazing at that! For any who haven't read the sequel I won't spoil anything, but I will say that this book does a wonderful job making you lean one way, and then letting go so you fall over. :)

Bottom line? This book is chock-full of lessons on mercy and trust. But really, it's incomplete without Book 7!!

Cautions? The death at the book's end is in some ways unexpected, and it is very very sad. I cried. Some of the material is clearly for older readers-- the boy-girl relationships are quite full of "snogging" (kissing), though this is poked fun at and shown to be immature.

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North! Or Be Eaten

Ryan & I LOVE Andrew Peterson's music.

We also love children's books. Especially children's fantasy.

So when we found out that we could get both Andy P & Fantasy in one package, we were eager to try it out. Andrew Peterson has recently begun to try his hand at another form of word-art. Not only is he still writing songs; he's now also writing a children's fantasy/adventure series called The Wingfeather Saga. Ryan & I read Book 1 (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness) aloud to each other in the first year of our marriage, and lent our copy out to as many folks as we could. Book 2 came out ON our second wedding anniversary (August 18th '09), so of course we planned to order and enjoy our own copy. Imagine our excitement when we got a chance to participate in the North! Or Be Eaten blogtour! Basically, we got our own free copy of the book, and then "have to" write up a blog post on it during this week. Oh, please don't throw me in the brier patch! =D (Although it does sort of feel like I'm back in school with book reports due, lol.)

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