It happened in cyberspace…

In the mid to late 21st century, going online has become an adventure in virtual reality. For some mysterious reason, young people all over the world are falling into deep comas after spending time on the Net. In book 1 of the Otherland series, the City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams, Irene "Renie" Sulaweyo goes online to try and find the cause of the mysterious illness which has claimed her brother. While on the Net she sees a city of gold. She enters the city and finds others also trying to solve the mystery. The story continues in the River of Blue Fire, Mountain of Black Glass, and Sea of Silver Light.

Has it really been that long?

I was amazed to find R. A. Salvatore is still writting about Drizzt, the Drow. The character has been round for more than 20 years! That's longer than my kids have been alive. Stories based on games have been around for a long time. Anyone still remember the Gord the Rogue series written by Gary Gygax? Anyway, back to Drizzt. In this series, we follow two story lines, one 100 years in the future of the other. War is brewing between the orcs and dwarves. Can it be prevented? Read on in The Orc King & The Pirate King. Book three in the series, The Ghost King will be out later this year.

New Fantasy Novels for Youth

Do your children devour books of magic and fantasy? Never fear--the library has plenty more for their consumption! Check out some of our new novels:

Lost, the sequel to the Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. Conn is a wizard's apprentice. The only problem is he cannot perform magic anymore because his magic locus was destroyed. While Conn desperately searches for another way to perform magic, he uncovers a terrible plot by an evil sorceror-king, and he is the only one who can stop it!

Or:

A Great Adventure

Have you ever gone on an adventure? I don't mean a vacation, I mean a real cross country trip, an odyssey. Follow the story of young Katook, a lemur on the island of Bo-hibba in The Katurran Odyssey by Terryl Whitlatch and David Michael Wieger. His island home is threatened by the Long Winter, a time of great suffering and death. Katook is banished from his village and must search for a new home. Along the way, he is put through many trials and tests. Ultimately, he learns the secret of the Long Winter. To over come it and save his family, he must face his deepest fears.

King Arthur

Plenty of folklore and mythology has seeped into popular culture and our daily lives, but few legends have spurred as much fascination as the story of King Arthur. Ever since his name made its first appearances in early Welsh poetry, the story has grown in increasing complexity and detail. In the late 12th century Chretien de Troyes combined scraps of knowledge from oral history as well as the encyclopedias of the time (such as Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain) to form a firm collection of stories based on Arthur's rise and fall, including the introduction of Lancelot, Gawain and Perceval as knights of the round table. King Arthur reached a height of celebrity in 1470 after the publication of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. From that point forward the story has been reinterpreted and retold throughout each generation through literature, films, and plays, but regardless of shifts in representation, the framework for King Arthur's life remains true to the basics of the early legend.

Fabulous Fiction First #161

The Chathrand Voyages Trilogy opens with The Red Wolf Conspiracy* and marks the debut of fantasy author Robert V.S. Redick.

The I.M.S. Chathrand, a floating city carrying a reluctant princess bride sets sail on a peacemaking mission. Among the passengers and crew is a young sailor bearing a family curse, a tribe of miniature warriors, a magic rat, assassins, treacherous mermaids and monstrous slavers, all desparate to unlock the mystery and conspiracy of the Red Wolf, a powerful ancient artifact.

This epic fantasy of maritime adventures, bloody diplomacy is vibrant, fresh and exciting. It won over this reluctant fantasy fan from the very first page. Trust me on this one.

* = Starred reviews

A Tale for All Ages

Cinderella is a story for all ages. For the adults, we have The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. In this story, Ella of Cinder attempts to rewrite Tradition in the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms. Teens may enjoy Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Here Ella is under a spell and must do whatever she's asked to do. Lastly for the kids, we have the traditional Cinderella story as told by Jacob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm. Enjoy a good fairy tale adventure as we prepare for summer reading.

DVD Genre Spotlight: Silent Films

The AADL owns over 100 silent film DVDs, and now this high-quality collection has a DVD genre shelf for easier browsing. To the novice silent film viewer, some tropes of these films can seem stilted, but become rather seamless as you grow familiar with them. For example, the musical score is an omnipresent and integral component as it must perform several functions. The music must reflect a character's emotions, advance the action in a sequence, and set the tone for a scene. Also, intertitles appear frequently as brief frames of textual narrative or dialogue that help deliver the story.

Filmmakers during the silent film era (1888-1927) embraced several types of feature films, including comedy, drama, and fantasy. Some primers for silent film fandom that the AADL owns are the surreal Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for those interested in the darkly psychological, The Birth of a Nation, a perennially controversial drama, and almost any film from comedic geniuses Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.

Mace Windu's purple lightsaber

If you're turning 13 and love Star Wars, it makes sense that you would want a purple lightsaber for your birthday. My son got one--over my initial objection that he already had way too many lightsabers of other colors. Now I know what's behind Mace Windu's purple light saber, and also that this hue of magic weapon may actually have been a personal request from actor Samuel Jackson, when he agreed to play Mace Windu in the films. (I got that from Wikipedia, which quoted an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman.) Yes, of course: who wants to wage galactic battle, and not have your lightsaber clearly identifiable among other Jedi?

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Audiobook

Want to brush up on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince before the long awaited movie comes out in July? Why not try the audiobook? Jim Dale gives his usual stellar performance of the Harry Potter cast. I will admit I feel the music at the beginning did not feel dark enough for the story. They used the same music up to the Deathly Hallows audiobook where they finally changed it to something darker. And I've never liked Dale's voices for Narcissa and Bellatrix. He makes them both sound vaguely French, and both of them are just supposed to be British. Otherwise, though, this audiobook is just as excellent as the rest of the series.

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