Book Review: Caraval

caravalCaraval
By Stephanie Garber
Place a hold.

Caraval is a lavish performance. Caraval is an elaborate game. Caraval is a mystery and a fantasy where nothing is real. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t hurt you. Once a year, in a different locale, a man named Legend hosts Caraval, inviting a select few to participate in an utterly one-of-a-kind experience in which the players interact with each other and with actors to solve a mystery and win the grand prize–a granted wish.

Scarlet has dreamed of attending Caraval since she and her sister, Tella, were just girls. On her tiny island home, at the mercy of her cruel and manipulative father, Caraval seemed like a perfect escape. But an invitation never came.

Now that she is nearly grown anticipating an arranged marriage to a man she’s never met, Scarlet, Tella, and a roguish sailor are on their way to Caraval. But when Tella is kidnapped and placed at the center of the mysterious game, the dream becomes far too real and dangerous for Scarlet. She must solve the puzzle and find her sister before the nightmarish illusions of Caraval drive her mad.

*  *  *

I loved the imagery, the magic and the adventure of Caraval. I can easily see why Scarlet would dream of this experience. The whole idea is exciting and a little frightening, as is the story. Parts of the tale are intricate and beautiful while others are creepy and compelling.

I heartily recommend Caraval to fans of fantasy, romance, adventure, mystery, and suspense.

____
Tara

Ashe’s Top 3 Fantasy Films

All three of the movies below are ones I can watch over and over and over without ever getting bored! They’re especially my go-to favorites when I’m sick and need something that makes me feel better (at least emotionally. Wouldn’t it be cool if movies or TV shows could magically make you unsick? If only!)

I’m a huge fantasy fan so of course the movies in my top three are all fantasy related!

stardust-movie-coverStardust (2007)

Call Number
DVD SF STARDUST
DVD-BLU SF STARDUST

Rating
PG-13; for some fantasy violence and risque humor

Synopsis

“Tristan hopes to win the heart of his beautiful, but shallow love, Victoria. He promises to recover a star that fell somewhere beyond the stony Wall that sets between the mundane England and the fantasy kingdom of Stormhold. So Tristan sets forth on his own journey in Stormhold. Meanwhile in that magical land, the dying king has set his four surviving sons on a quest for the crown. And the witch Lamia is seeking the heart of the star for an entirely different purpose, one that involves her secret power.”

tangled movie coverTangled (2010)

Call Number
DVD SF TANGLED
J DVD DISNEY TANGLED
J DVD-BLU DISNEY TANGLED

Rating
PG

Synopsis  

“When the kingdom’s most wanted bandit Flynn Rider hides in a mysterious tower, the last thing he expects to find is Rapunzel, a spirited teen with an unlikely superpower, 70 feet of magical golden hair! Together, the unlikely duo sets off on a fantastic journey filled with surprising heroes, laughter, and suspense.”

maleficent-imax-posterMaleficent (2014)

Call Number
DVD SF MALEFICEN
DVD-BLU SF MALEFICEN

Rating
PG

Synopsis

“A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom, and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.”

 

Book Recommendation: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

tbc
Genre
:
Fantasy

First Released: 
2014

Part of a Series? Yes. It is interconnected with Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments Series.

Brief Synopsis:
A collection of eleven short stories, previously published online, that illuminate the life of the enigmatic, flashy, and flamboyant High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane, a character in The Mortal Instruments series.”

Where can I find it in the library?

This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.

Call Number: YA F CLARE

Commentary:

Is your favorite Cassandra Clare character Magnus Bane? (I know mine is!) Then you should totally give The Bane Chronicles a shot. It was really exciting for me when this book was released (and finally have a chance to read it) because I am an absolute sucker for backstory, and that’s pretty much what this entire collection is. How did the vampires get control of a once super fancy hotel? Now you’ll get to find out! Check it out today to learn more about the fabulously mysterious warlock known as Magnus Bane.

Book Recommendation: Fall of a Kingdom

fall of a kingdomGenre:
Fantasy / Action-Adventure

First Released: 2003

Part of a Series?
Yes, it is the first book in the Farsala Trilogy

Book 2: Forging the Sword
Book 3: Rise of a Hero

Brief Synopsis:

“Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala’s aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both feared and respected.

Now a new enemy approaches Farsala’s borders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legend. But the rulers of Farsala still believe that they can beat any opponent. Three young people are less sure of Farsala’s invincibility. Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi see Time’s Wheel turning, with Farsala headed toward the Flames of Destruction. What they cannot see is how inextricably their lives are linked to Farsala’s fate — until it’s too late.” (Amazon)

Where can I find it in the library?
This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.

Call Number: YA F BELL

Commentary

I have a weird relationship with this novel. When I first discovered it, its original title was Flame and a part of Bell’s Book of Sorahb series. I absolutely loved it and kept waiting for another one to come out. I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I had to know what happened next to Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi! I’d check the shelves of the library to see if they ever got book two. Years and years pass. Eventually, I resigned myself to realizing that there probably would never be book two.

Then one day, there was a new series on the shelf by Hilari Bell: The Farsala Trilogy.

I was super crazy excited!

I loved Flame, so maybe this would be good too! It stinks that she never finished the first series, but hey! Something new!

Imagine my surprise that Fall of a Kingdom seemed vaguely… familiar… It’s like when you see someone on the street or at the store and you know you know them from SOMEWHERE and just can’t figure out quite where. So I pulled Flame off the shelf. I began tearing through the pages, comparing the two books. They were identical!

Apparently, Hilari Bell had renamed her series! Those sneaky publishers! Luckily for me, all three books of the Farsala Trilogy were available! I was able to check them out all at once (muahahaha) after so many years of waiting. I DID MY WAITING. TWELVE YEARS OF IT. IN AZKABAN (oh wait).

Now, after all my babbling, why should you read it?

Fall of a Kingdom is a high fantasy novel. It has elements of magic, action, world-building, the whole shebang!

The best part? It’s complete! Finished! No waiting for the next book because it’s already right there on the library shelf! Do you have any idea how many fantasy series I’m waiting on the next book for? Of course you do! We’re probably waiting for the same books together!

I also enjoy that despite the main characters being two boys and a girl (which is usually all you need for an author to decide HEY LET’S HAVE A LOVE-TRIANGLE. YOU GUYS LOVE LOVE-TRIANGLES RIGHT?) there is no love-triangle! The occasional one in the occasional novel is fine. But it’s so prevalent lately.

oprah giveaway

YOU GET A LOVE-TRIANGLE. AND YOU GET A LOVE-TRIANGLE. YOU ALLLLLLLL GET LOVE-TRIANGLES YAAAAAAAY!

Fall of a Kingdom is a story about three characters trying to find their place in their kingdom and where they fit into it. Will they get overtaken by the enemy that is trying to invade? Will all be saved or lost? Only you can figure that out by checking it out today!
__
Ashe

Anime Recommendation of the Month: The Devil is a Part-Timer

This month’s recommendation is the anime The Devil is a Part-Timer.

devil is a part timerGenre: Comedy / Fantasy

Number of episodes: 13

Rating: TV-14

Language: English & Japanese with English Subs

Brief Synopsis: “Inches away from conquering the world, the devil is foiled by a hero and finds himself in modern-day Tokyo. With no real-world skills to speak of, the devil is forced to make ends meet flipping burgers at a fast food joint!” (Hulu.com)

Spoiler-free Commentary:

I first discovered this anime during Anime Central in 2014 while wandering around the vendor’s hall. At Funimation’s, they had a ginormous promotional poster advertising the anime. I knew nothing about it, but from just the title, I wanted to see it: The Devil is a Part Timer. The whole premise of satan being a fast food worker is hilarious. I began to imagine what it could possibly be about. Did he love it? Did he hate it? How did the devil get himself into such a situation? Maybe it was on purpose! Perhaps it was a social commentary on how fast food CEOs are the devil themselves (though then again, CEOs are not part-timers…there went that theory)!

About a year later, as I browsed aimlessly on Netflix, imagine my delight when I saw they had picked up the title! With nothing to lose but time, I started up the show to see if it would be as good as I hoped. It was! My only major complaint is I wish there was more. I’m a person who is an absolute sucker for character development and interaction. Thirteen episodes isn’t nearly enough time with the characters. I NEED MORE. Will there be a second season? Unfortunately, probably not.

However, which of my 2014 Anime Central musings came true and which were wild fantasies that never came to fruition in the show? Not telling! When I say spoiler-free, I mean it! Watch it yourself!

If you have Netflix, you can watch it there, but it is also available for free on Hulu.com! I watched it subbed, because the dub has a very strange glitch on netflix. Occasionally the show switches into a made-up language (which is fine) but if you leave the subtitles off, you have no idea what they’re saying when they switch into said fake language. So, long story short: watch the sub. You’ll save yourself some confusion.

Hulu

Netflix

When you finish the show and you’re itching for more and just can’t stand it? GUESS WHAT. There’s a manga that is being released! AND GUESS WHAT ELSE!!!! The library has it! Check it out today!
__
Ashe

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

darkest part of the forestGenre: Fantasy

First Released: Jan 2015

Part of a Series? Nope! Crikey! You have stumbled upon a rare creature in the world of YA Literature known as….The Standalone novel. Approach carefully, she’s a wee bit shy.

Brief Synopsis “Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Tourists drive in to see the lush wonders of Faerie and, most wonderful of all, the horned boy. But visitors fail to see the danger.” (Amazon)

Where can I find it in the library?

This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.

Call Number: YA F BLACK

Commentary:

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s engaging, the writing is great, and the book has dynamic characters. It’s nice to see a sibling duo that is not constantly at odds with one another. They fight as most sibling-like manner, but you can tell they don’t really mean it.

My favorite part is that this book focuses on different types of fae you normally don’t get to read about. It’s refreshing! How often is it do you pick up a novel and one of the main characters is a changeling? Answer: NOT VERY.

Darkest Part of the Forest does have some spooky moments but as I had mentioned in my Anna Dressed in Blood review, I’m a chicken. I wasn’t overly distressed, but I did make sure I read with the lights on and not right before bed (which of course I always end up doing anyway. Who needs sleep? SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK).

So if you want a fantasy novel but you’re sick of witches, angels, zombies, vampires, or whatever else is popular at the moment, give Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest a try. You won’t regret it.
__
Ashe

Summer Adventure 2015: Read or Listen to Someone Read

escape powThe library is debuting a brand new summer program on May 4th.  Our Summer Adventure is more like a game than a traditional reading club, but we still encourage you to read!  You can earn points by reading or listening to someone read for 30 minutes.  Wondering what counts? See below.

  • Books
  • eBooks
  • Graphic Novels
  • Magazines or Comics
  • Audiobooks
  • Playaways

At a loss for what to read? Never fear! For your friendly-neighborhood-librarians are here!

We have compiled a bunch of lists for you to look through to get started or visit fountaindale.org to view the newest in teen fiction and nonfiction.