Wickedly Good Fun

The Broadway musical Wicked is heading to Detroit in December! The musical opened in 2003 and is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The novel is an imaginative retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Wicked is from the perspective of Elphaba, the misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West. It explains her history and childhood, and as one might guess, it isn’t what you expect!

Maguire continued the story with the release of Son of a Witch in 2005. It delves further into Liir’s story, the mysterious boy from Wicked. The third novel in the series is A Lion Among Men. Recently published, it focuses on the Cowardly Lion and his exploits. Get in the mood to see the musical by reading the books and listening to the cast recording.

Twilight: Audiobook

You may have noticed the buzz when Stephenie Meyer's fourth book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, just came out this August or when the Twilight film grabbed Harry Potter's original release date of November 21st (it's not Twilight's fault, don't get mad at them). All this publicity also means that the original Twilight novel is still in hot demand here at the library. But if you're like me and you enjoy audiobooks, then there's a significantly shorter holds list on the Twilight audiobook.

As for the story and audio themselves, for any who've managed to avoid the media, Twilight is a vampire teen romance novel. For personal reasons Bella Swan (the name kinda makes me think of a certain Pirates of the Caribbean character) arrives in the small town of Forks to live with her father. Used to the warmth and sun of Arizona, Bella languishes in the dreary gloom of Washington state until she meets a strange boy at school...

A kid's adventure...

What happens when you take your average teenager, stick him in the body of a warrior and thrown him into a land of elves and magic? You get The Knight and the The Wizard by Gene Wolfe. The story is told from the view of Sir Able of the High Heart. He is an American teenager who enters the world of Mythgarthr. There, an elf queen transforms him into a powerful man. Able then uses the body to become a knight and eventually a wizard all to win the love of Disiri the Mossmaiden.

A seafaring adventure...

What happens when you take the sea-faring storytelling of Patrick O'Brian and introduce fantasy elements? You get Robin Hobb's The Liveship Traders trilogy. In book 1 Ship of Magic we are introduced to the Vestrit family, one of the oldest of the merchant families in Bingtown, the hub of trade. At her father's death, Althea's family liveship Vivacia is passed to her sister's husband Kyle. The spurred Althea then strives to regain his birthright. The story is continued in Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny.

Trickster's Choice: Audiobook

Alianne of Pirate's Swoop is in for a trouble when a trickster god makes a wager with her. Her adventures take her far from home and everything she knows, but Aly's quick wits and special skills will be needed to save her life and the lives of others.

This follow-up to Tamora Pierce's original Alanna series is even better than the previous series. I loved Aly's spunk and mischevious nature that made it clear why she was chosen by a trickster. There's a cool little musical intro and outro to the novel and Trini Alvarado, who read the original Alanna adventures on audiobook, reads these as well with just as much warmth and talent.

Alanna the First Adventure: Audiobook

Summer reading is approaching. Remember you can listen to books too, so why not try an audiobook?

In this first book by Tamora Pierce, Alanna wants more than anything to be a knight, but it's not allowed for girls in the country of Tortall. She finds a way to sneak into the school for boys, but she has a long and arduous road ahead of her before she can claim her shield.

Trini Alvarado, an actress who played Meg March in Little Women, reads the story. There are no special effects but her reading reminded me of an enthusiastic teacher and brought back good memories of elementary school storytimes. The audiobook our library owns is on cassette, but if you don't have a cassette player and would really like to listen to it, the CD version is available on melcat.

In this day and age it seems stories about girls wanting to break the gender role are at least as common as the ones who don't, so I was originally skeptical of this story. Alanna's desire to do boys things didn't seem enough to define her as an interesting and individual character. But the school drama of her knights training and the fast paced adventure got me interested enough to read the rest of the stories which I also recommend.

Fantasy author and former Ann Arborite Robert Asprin dies at 61


Robert Asprin was reportedly reading a novel by British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett when he died in bed last week at the age of 61. Asprin, author of the Thieves' World and Myth Adventure series, and the 1990 bestseller Phule's Company, is said to have effectively invented the humor fantasy genre back in the 1970s. Local historian Wystan Stevens recalls: "Asprin wrote many of his books in longhand, on legal pads, while nursing cups of coffee at the Brown Jug on South University Avenue."

Read more about Asprin in wikipedia.
Asprin's obituary.

The Tears of Artamon

Set in the snowy wastelands of Azhkendir, Sarah Ash has created a stunning trilogy called The Tears of Artamon. In book 1, The Tears of Artamon, our hero Gavril is kidnapped from his carefree life on an island and taken to Azhkendir. There he learns that he is heir to the kingdom, becoming both a captive and its ruler. The world in which Gavril lives is a mix of technology and magic, where armies fight with muskets, cannons, and magic. You can follow Gavril's story in book 2, The Prisoner of the Iron Tower, and book 3, The Children of the Serpent Gate.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #111

The History of Lucy’s Love Life in Ten and a Half Chapters is fun, fluffy and fantastical.

29 year-old commitment-phobic Lucy is staring at the prospect of a perfect life with dishy and nice Anthony (with whom she had 400 plus one-night stands) and chucks it all, wondering if there’s something better on the horizon.

Sacked from her pointless job and bored, an errant time machine sends Lucy on a dating frenzy with bad boy Lord Byron, Leonardo da Vinci, Ovid and Casanova (a sweet guy, really). It’s a thrill ride but there’s also a lesson to be learned. The question is… Is Lucy ready for it?

This British chick lit./fantasy/romantic comedy is the first to be published in the United States by Deborah Wright, a graduate of Oxford University with three best-selling novels in the U.K.

A story for the ages...

The Magic of Recluse is the opening story in The Saga of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. The series is unusual in several ways. First of all, the series is not written chronologically. The book first actually occurs towards the end of the series. As the series progresses, characters in the stories will be in later books referred to as heros and legendary figures.

The books also feature an in-depth system of magic in the series. Instead of wizards just casting a spell, they must have the ability to control the natural forces of order or chaos inherent in all matter.

The author recommends reading the series in the order written, not chronologically. The second book in the series is The Towers of Sunset.


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