Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blogging initiative hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl with new themes each week.
This weeks theme is Books From My Favorite Genre (You pick the genre, and give us your ten faves.)
Fantasy has always been a genre that has resonated with me but in more of a fan of lowish fantasy and magical realism than the arcane of High Fantasy although i don’t mind a bit of High Fantasy at MG level as it’s a lot less… extra.
Discworld Books- Terry Pratchett
You may be aware that I adore the works of Pratchett and thus most of his works could fit here.
I love the Guards books for their facing of the darker side of humanity with hope for the light, I love the witches books for their exploration of the folkish aspects of culture and Granny Weatherwax and I love the Death series for its exploration of the desires and hopes of humanity both good and bad.
All with a fantastical and wonderfully funny and witty satirical tone. Gosh i think I will never not miss him.
Speak his name. GNU Terry Pratchett.
Good Omens- Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
I read Good Omens for the first time as a teenager, I was lured by the Terry Pratchett co-writing but also the fact that Neil Gaiman was the other writer- at that point I hadn’t read any Gaiman but he was cool and edgy in a sort of literary Tim Burton kind of way- I enjoyed this introduction to his style and thinking tempered by the wit and humour of Terry Pratchett.
I of course watched the Amazon Prime series and got very emotional both tears and joy seeing such a heartfelt and loving tribute to the original work. Absolutely stellar.
Lady Of Hay- Barbara Erskine
Gosh I do love a timeslip book, I was talking to Mary fromBook Craic the other day about Barbara Erskine and we agree that she is the master of the dual (or more) narrative across time linked by place.
The former historian turned novelist has a way of evoking a historical with supernatural edge with some wistful, some ‘romantic’ and some scary/ haunting stories of usually women who’ve had a disappointment or setback in life finding resonance in a place of history and dreaming of usually women (her VERY latest one apparently is a man in the past!!) who have been there before until their timelines begin to affect each other.
I would LOVE to see books like this in the MG or YA bracket.
Practical Magic- Mary Hoffman
Ok I saw the film first but I was a child when this came out. Yes the book and the film are a bit different but the idea of witchcraft and magic not being just green faced warty villains and instead rooted in nature and part of the world around us was a game changer and led me down a magical path of imagination.
The Magic Faraway Tree Stories- Enid Blyton
Forever and ever in my heart will be the stories of children newly moved to the countryside off for a picnic in the Enchanted Wood and come across a fantastic place of wonder with a Magical Tree so tall it reaches up to other worlds that you can climb into and the folk that live in the tree including a Man with a face like the Moon and a fairy.
As an adult I can see echoes of Norse myths including Yggdrasil whether Blyton intended that it not and this book still touches my soul and forms a huge part of who I am and the desire to see wonder in the world too.
Chocolat- Joanne Harris
If I love the Magical realism of Practical Magic of course the story of a Magical woman infusing emotions into chocolate and using her craft to help the people of a small town was going to appeal to me!!
Again; I saw the film before I read the book which was a surprise when I read the book to find it is actually contemporary not set in the 1950s. However the wonder and magic is even deeper infused in the book and subsequent novels.
The House with Chicken Legs- Sophie Anderson
This book is all sorts of wonderful and an emotional hard hitter dealing with grief, loss, sudden independence and coming of age in one.
Taking the Slavic myths of Baba Yaga this looks at the concept of her being a carrier between the worlds, that Baba Yaga gives people a last party and time to tell their stories before returning to the stars.
The story centres around her granddaughter and her frustrations at being different and never really settling in one place, longing to have a life like the people she is being trained to help cross over.
The StormKeeper’s Island- Catherine Doyle
This is such a wonderful and atmospheric book that looks at the experiences of a young boy and his sister sent to stay for the summer with their elderly grandfather whilst their mother gets help for her depression which has never left since their father mysteriously drowned off the coast just before Fionn was born.
As soon as he sets foot on the island he feels an ancient energy deep in the island which is connected to his deteriorating grandfather and the candles he makes that capture snippets of time distilling the weather, emotions and experiences into the wax. But it appears the time has come for the island to choose its next and most important StormKeeper to finally finish the ancient battle against evil.
I always have an affinity to the mythology and legends of these islands so this book feels very special indeed.
Nevermoor- Jessica Townsend
I came to Nevermoor late, I was able to get my hands on an early proof of Wundersmith and knew I had to read Nevermoor first but as soon as I got through the first paragraph I was a fan.
Often compared to Harry Potter I think it’s actually a bit unfair as Nevermoor has its own depth and range of imagination that crosses an entire city, and whilst Harry Potter has a spot in my heart frankly the Hallowmass and Battle Of Father Christmas Eve knocks the socks off Halloween feast and Wizard Chess at Hogwarts alone.
There has been some OUTSTANDING MG fantasy released since January 2019 like amazing A Pinch Of Magic by Michelle Harrison, Starfell by Dominique Valente and The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods by Samuel J Halpin and more but it was really hard to pick just one however, I decided I needed to include this one!
The Last SpellBreather- Julie Pike
This novel is about Rayne, a young girl fated to become the next SpellBreather in her tiny little village that is secluded and veiled from the rest of the world but Rayne damages her mother’s spellbook unleashing a curse and danger that causes Rayne and her unaffected best friend to flee and search for a solution.
It’s a classic hero’s quest but with a young girl instead this time and with one of the most creative and original magical systems I’ve seen in a long time this is such an exciting book and I look forward to reading more from Julie Pike.
Out in July.
Ok so I didn’t quite stick to the idea of MG Fantasy, YA Fantasy etc but a sweep of the Fantasy books that have earned a place in my heart.
Have you read any of these?
What genre or books would you choose?
My apologies for not including illustrator and cover designer credits on this version of the post- we are currently at the hospital (not emergency!) and I haven’t had time to edit it to the usual standard.
A later edit will update.