Author Amanda Foody has successfully ventured from the YA books to middle grade fantasy with The Accidental Apprentice (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021). I’m excited to see there’s already a sequel planned in the Wilderlore series for next year.
Orphan Barclay Thorne is happy to be an apprentice to the village mushroom farmer. But when he is scared off the path into the Woods he meets a Lore Keeper looking for the same mushroom he needs. The girl is trying to bond with a Beast but it goes horribly wrong and Barclay is bonded with a Lufthund. Driven away from home, Barclay’s goal is to break the bond so he can return home. To do so he must journey to the city of the Lore Keepers who think these monsters are their friends and pets. But does he really fit with his rule-laden village?
Read about Amanda and her other books here. Enjoy several interviews with her about this book here and here.
The cover illustration is by Petur Antonsson–see more of his art here.
I love how Story Magic (Jolly Fish Press, 2020) by Laurel Gale dives right into a magical world where stories are magic.
Kaya A’Dor isn’t supposed to know anything about the listeners and the magic they will do if you tell them a good enough story. But she’s learned enough from her older brother Hob to attempt a story herself despite it being forbidden to girls and women. When Hob is taken prisoner, Kaya’s sure it is her fault and she has to save him. Will she survive the dangers of her journey? Especially since it will require more story magic?
This story is a page turner. And isn’t that a lovely cover?
Read about Laurel here where you can also see pictures of animals she’s taken.
If you’ve read Newbery Honor Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, you’ll know you’re in for a treat with Ogre Enchanted (Harper, 2018). (And if you haven’t read Ella, you should.)
This is a gender reversed Beauty and the Beast inspired story. Read more what the author has to say about that here.
Fifteen-year-old Evie is enchanted when she turns down a marriage proposal from her best friend, Wormy. Now she has 62 days to accept a new marriage proposal or remain an ogre for ever. What will all her patients do?
The book is funny and keeps one guessing. Is that tingle because Evie the ogre loves the guy or that she thinks he’ll taste good? The countdown of days adds to the tension.
Read about Gail Carson Levine here and check out her other books here.
For Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I’ve got a fantasy, Spark (Clarion Books, 2019) by Sarah Beth Durst, to recommend.
Quiet twelve-year-old Mina is anxiously waiting for her egg to hatch and find out which storm beast she’ll have. Will it be a rain, wind, or sun beast? Everyone knows she doesn’t have the temperament for a lightening beast. But when Pixit hatches everyone is surprised at the creature Mina is bonded with. Maybe she’s not meant to be a guardian. When Mina learns that their wonderful life in Alorria is hurting others, she has to decide whether to tell the truth or not.
I love that this novel shows quiet girls can be heroes too!
Sarah writes for kids, teens, and adults. Check out her website here where you can discover she’s authored 19 books!
Shadow Magic (Disney Hyperion, 2016) by Joshua Khan is fantasy told from two viewpoints. We have twelve-year-old Thorn, the outlaw peasant who was purchased from a slaver to become the executioner’s squire, and thirteen-year-old Lily (Lilith Shadow) who is now the ruler of Castle Gloom and Gehenna, the land of the dead. Thorn just wants to escape and find his father. Lily would like to escape her onerous duties. How can she be a successful ruler when girls are forbidden to do the magic that members of her family have done for ages?
These two are drawn together over their dislike of Gabriel, who Lily is pledged to marry. Secret passages, assassins, a puppy named Custard, zombies, and a giant bat named Hades all have their roles in this fantasy. What’s not to like?
I was pleased to discover this was book 1 in a trilogy. Dream Magic came out in 2017 and Burning Magic comes out in 2018.
Read more about the books and the author here.