fiction

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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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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Magyk

On a cold wintry day in the Castle, the Ordinary Wizard Silas Heap comes upon a newborn girl, lying (well wrapped but alone) in the snow. Quickly he takes the child under his robes and begins to hurry home to his wife Sarah and their seven sons-- the youngest of whom, Septimus, was born today. As he hurries to their warm tiny home in The Ramblings (a topsy-turvy extension complex of halls and rooms within the Castle walls), he is stopped by Marcia Overstrand, who today has become the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. "Tell no one you found her. She was born to you!" is her cryptic command, and she brushes by, leaving Silas dumbfounded. As he reaches home, he finds his wife sobbing and his six little boys too terrified to cry; Septimus has died! The tiny baby girl is immediately accepted into the family, in some ways filling the hole baby Septimus' death left in their hearts. They name her Jenna, after Sarah's mother.

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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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Kidderminster Kingdom Tales

I bought all 5 Kingdom Tales in one volume, so I will review them as one book, though they are also available as separate hardcover books. The Tales are: Sir Humphery's Honeystand, Mrs. Beaver & the Wolf at the Door, Nicolas & His Neighbors, Cornelius T. Mouse and Sons, and King Leonard's Celebration. Sir Humphery's story tells of the ungrateful servant. Mrs. Beaver is the persistent widow begging for help from an unjust judge. Nicolas the dog learns the meaning of neighbor love at the paws of his Good Samaritan, a cat. Cornelius T. Mouse lives out fatherly love on both of his sons, and King Leonard throws a party which only the sick and poor decide to attend. Sound familiar? Each tale is a retelling of one of Jesus' fairy tales, otherwise known as "parables." Christopher Lane's versions have (very human) animals as their subjects, and all take place in the Kingdom of Kidderminster.

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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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Tatsinda

In a land of ice-white-haired, blue-eyed people, Tatsinda stands out, with her golden locks and deep brown eyes. She is a kind girl, an excellent weaver, and very perceptive. She wins the affections of the Wise Woman, Tanda-nan, who assures her adoptive mother that Tatsinda is beautiful in her own way. Her difference leads her to be captured by a giant from across the mountain, Johrgong the terrible Gadblang, come to their land by the counsel of a wicked snowy owl, Skoodoon. Tatsinda's kindness and industry had won her friends, among them the prince Tackatan. He and Tatsinda form a plan to defeat the giant and free her in the process. They marry, and in the course of time their people come to love many types of beauty.

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