Fictional Friday: Jim Butcher

Courtesy jim-butcher.com
Courtesy jim-butcher.com

Last week, I wrote about one of my favorite lesser-known authors Karen Miller.  Another author that I really like that writes in the same vein is Jim Butcher.  He’s best known for his “Dresden Files” series, but I’ve only read his other series, “Codex Alera.”

“Codex Alera” showcases Tavi from Calderon Valley in the country of Alera.  In this world, people control elemental forces called furies.  Some people can control up to two furies, however, the more they practice with them, the more powerful they become.  Tavi, on the other hand, was born without the ability to tame furies.  However, he somehow gets the better of his enemies using his wits and strategy, making him just as much as force to be reckoned with.

There are 6 books in the series, and I honestly can’t really say much else without giving everything away.  Just know that there are a lot of adventures for this kid, and even when the sixth book ends, there’s so much left open that there’s a possibility for more in the world of Alera.

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Fictional Friday: Karen Miller’s Mages

Courtesy tumbler.com
Courtesy tumbler.com

In the wake of the popular Harry Potter series, I became obsessed with sorcerers.  Karen Miller’s Kingmaker, Kingbreaker universe takes on a new view of the use of magic in an orignal land.

In this universe, there are actually five books (in order): “Innocent Mage”, “Awakened Mage”, “The Prodigal Mage”, “The Reluctant Mage”, and “A Blight of Mages.”  The “A Blight of Mages” is actually a prequel to the events that happen in the other books, however, it was published last in the series.

Now, to explain all the storylines of these would take forever, so let’s start with the general information that you need to know about these books.  The first book begins with Asher of Restharven who sets out to the magical capital of Dorana, hoping to earn enough money to make sure that he and his father are cared for.  While there, he saves the prince and is thrown into employment in the castle.  As with many stories like this, Asher and the prince have dark prophecies following them which could ultimately spell their doom and the doom of their entire country.  I can’t really say what happens in the second book because it hinges on critical events of the first, and I don’t want to spoil it.

“The Prodigal Mage” and “The Reluctant Mage” take place in the same universe, but it’s many years after the first two occur.  Again, I can’t really tell you what happens because it would ruin the first two books for you.  “A Blight of Mages” is a prequel that details how the country of Lur came into being.  Barl, a young mage, has a power that calls to her, however, only nobles are allowed to learn magic.  She’s banned from learning magic forever because her power leads her astray; this brings her to Morgan, a member on the Council of Mages.  Barl’s power intrigues Morgan, and he wants to use it to his own devices.  What happens after that?  Well, you just have to read.

This series provides interesting characters, detailed landscapes and heartbreaking conflicts.  Karen Miller does a great job bringing this world to life, and it’s honestly one of the best magic-based stories I’ve read.  I definitely would recommend this series if you’re into magic and sorcerers and crazy twists.  Happy reading!

— Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor

Fictional Friday: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Photo courtesy of www.npr.org
Photo courtesy of http://www.npr.org

As children, we tend to love picture books; even as adults, we like seeing pictures that go along with the story because it immerses us into the environment.  In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the debut novel by Ransom Riggs, not only is there a good story, but there are amazing photos that are used to enhance our experience.

Jacob Portman’s grandfather is suddenly killed by a monster in the woods, prompting him to visit Wales, where his grandfather had supposedly gone to Miss Peregrine’s home.  Jacob battles his own psyche, trying to determine whether or not he actually saw anything in the woods, however, he becomes so obsessed that he just has to see if his grandfather was right.  While in Wales, he gets lured into a time loop set in 1940, which keeps the gifted children safe from the prying eyes of society.  However, it doesn’t keep them safe from Hollowgasts, which hunt gifted children at the various houses all over the world.

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