Michael Morn lives in New Liberty, “the City without a Super” – no superheroes, not even one. New Liberty is kind of sketchy. It’s a place where a boy like Michael can live quietly with his father building top secret electronics and selling them to the highest bidding villain. It’s not a bad gig. Lucrative. Michael and his father are doing fine, as long as they lay low, don’t cause any trouble and watch each other’s back. Michael’s father is the engineer genius and Michael helps out, learns, and does what he’s told – he’s his Dad’s minion. On the side, they rob banks!
It’s a little known fact that Michael can control other people’s minds. In a city full of villains, it’s really best to keep that kind of information to yourself. It’s always best to be underestimated and having a secret power as the ace up your sleeve helps you keep an edge. In a city of villains, the competition is intelligent and ruthless.
And also, Michael doesn’t want to overuse his power…to take advantage. Michael might be a villain but he’s got some standards! So even though Michael’s a bad guy…he’s not such a bad guy! One of the many interesting, complicated ironies in this non-stop adventure. The characters are full of surprises and not often what you expect at first. They make you re-think how you figure out who the bad guys even ARE.
Twelve-year-old Scirye and her companions travel to Houlani, a new Hawaiian island created by magic, where they enlist the help of volcano goddess Pele in an attempt to stop an evil dragon and a mysterious man from altering the universe.
Scirye’s sister died preventing the theft of a great treasure. Now Scirye must go after the thieves, Mr. Roland and the evil dragon, Badik, to recover the treasure and avenge her sister’s death. Her companions are Bayang- a dragon, Leech- a boy with mysterious powers, and the secretive Koko. Together they find the thieves on a magical new Hawaiian island, and meet the volcano goddess Pele. This is the first book in the City trilogy.
All the fairies are excited to be invited to the King’s ball, except for one young fairy whose only party dress is in tatters.
“Come to the Fairies’ Ball” is a children’s book, written in rhyme with a cadence as delightful as it is rhythmic, good for reading aloud to a child. The story features a magnificent ball to which all fairies are invited, but one female fairy who finds her dress ruined almost does not make it—until she becomes determined and finds a way. This story teaches children success is mostly a matter of making one’s own luck. Good story, lovely illustrations, happy ending!
I really like the new characters: Jason and Piper and Leo. (Especially Leo!) I loved the mechanical dragon Festus. Personally, I’d rather ride a mechanical dragon than a hippogrif, I mean, if anybody ever gives me the choice.
This one opens with Jason, Piper and Leo on a bus on a field trip. Jason has amnesia and doesn’t even know who Leo and Piper are. Monsters attack (of course!) and hey, don’t you know, these three are demi-gods and their teacher is their satyr/guardian. If you don’t have the book yet look inside at the first few chapters and then take a look at what other kids have to say about it. (Although beware spoilers!) Author: Rick Riordan
Hoping to find his lost brother, Rownie escapes the home of the witch Graba and joins a troupe of goblins who perform in Zombay, a city where humans are forbidden to wear masks and act in plays.
*Goblin Secrets* is a terrific fantasy novel, inventive and odd like a novel that Hayao Miyazaki (filmmaker of *Spirited Away* and others) might write.
Rownie is a young boy living in a household of abandoned children raised by a witch-like “grandmother,” Graba. The children are sent out to make deals and steal for her and Rownie is sometimes responsible for winding up her mechanical chicken legs. That’s right – chicken legs. She lost her legs somehow long ago and had them replaced by huge metal chicken legs. And this is only the beginning of the oddness. Rownie lives in Southside, the part of the City of Zombay on the south side of the River (which needs a capital R). He is also looking for his brother Rowan, an actor who disappeared after the Mayor of Zombay banned all acting. The Mayor also has a troop of mechanical Guardsmen, supposedly former humans he has punished.
While Rownie is on an errand from Graba, he sees a touring acting troop of “Goblins” – former humans who have been changed in some way into odd green people. He joins their troop and finds that they and the masks they wear might be the key to all of the strangeness in Zombay. And he himself might be the key to saving the city from the River which is about to flood.
This is a relentlessly fascinating and completely weird book, yet satisfying at the end. The masks are a big emotional key – be careful what mask you wear in life; you might become what you wear. *Goblin Secrets* is the first novel by this author (but a companion novel, *Ghoulish Song*, has just been published). It’s for children 6th grade and up, who like fairy tales and fantasy but who are ready to jump away from the well-trod paths. And for adults who don’t mind remembering that they once were children in search of themselves.
Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Children’s Literature.