When Professor Andrew Hope’s grandfather dies he leaves Andrew a large manor house in his will. What Andrew doesn’t know is that the estate itself is magical. Andrew has inherited not just the house, but a “field of care” that is now his responsibility to protect. Too bad his grandfather died before giving him any directions!
To complicate the situation, a young boy named Aiden shows up on Andrew’s doorstep, frightened out of his wits and running from shadowy figures he calls Stalkers. Aiden knows the Stalkers are hunting him, but he also doesn’t know why. Aiden does have one thing though, a magic wallet has grandmother gave him that fills up with money as soon as he spends it. I want one!
Andew and Aiden, along with a cranky gardener, a bossy, busybody cook, a beautiful and capable professor’s assistant and some crazy neighbors hunker down to figure out the magic and what they have to do to protect it. Great fun for fans of Fablehaven. Author: Diane Wynne Jones
Petra made a powerful enemy when she outsmarted Prince Rodolfo in The Kronos Chronicles Book 1: The Cabinet of Wonders. Now she’s in hiding with her Dad and her trusted best friend Astrophil, who happens to be a small mechanical spider; a smart, witty and brave mechanical spider.
Astrophil reminds me of Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon in The Golden Compass. Astriphil hides in Petra’s clothes or in her hair. He’s like a permanent mentor, always there whispering good advice. He was built by Petra’s Dad, who is a magical inventor. Petra’s Dad uses invisible tools and is able to shape metal animals and give them life.
What makes Astrophil special is that he learns from his experiences. He can read super fast and remembers everything he sees and reads. The longer he is alive, the smarter he gets. Who wouldn’t like a little mechanical computer like that riding around on their shoulder? What a great gift for a Dad to give his daughter!
In this second book, Petra is being pursued by Prince Rodolfo (and those creepy skeleton looking guys on the cover) and is forced into an alliance with John Dee, a magician she doesn’t trust. In the mean time, Petra’s friends Tomik and Neel are despreately trying to find her, while Petra is desprately trying to find her father who has been snatched by Prince Rodolfo. And all of them…Prince Rodolfo, Petra, Tomik, Neel, John Dee…they all want the Celestial Globe – but why? What can it do? A heart racing adventure with sword fighting, wolves, gypsy pirates, an evil Prince, mechanical animals and good friends that will fight for each other until the bitter end. Author: Marie Rutkoski
Here are some more books that have a similar setting as Petra’s story. Mysterious, magical worlds where kids take on evil with their friends, all of whom are not entirely human, yet reliable, steadfast and true friends all the same. Cabinet of Wonders is Book 1, so don’t miss that.
The Necromancer is book 4 in the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. The series tells the story of twins Sophie and Josh who are caught up in a centuries old battle over an ancient book that is supposed to hold the secret of eternal life. Sophie and Josh are thought to be the twins of an ancient prophecy, so both sides of the battle want them. Their problem is figuring out which side is the “good” side. Is it Nicholas Flamel or his rival, John Dee?
I would start with the first one with these. I actually like them more with each book. I especially liked The Necromancer because the tension between Sophie and Josh is growing as they try to figure out who is telling the truth.
Nicholas Flamel was probably a real person although his life is shrouded in mystery and legends have grown up around his story. Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel DID live in Paris in the 1300s. Both were alchemysts, were thought to be studying a mysterious book and were also thought to have figured out how to turn lead into gold & also the secret of eternal life. When Flamel died, belief that he had discovered the secret of eternal life also died…except for the story that a grave robber dug up his grave and found it empty. Hmm. Did he fake his death and is still around today? Truth or legend? You decide! It makes for a very good story though! You might remember that Nicholas Flamel is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone too. If you like that blending of historical bits and pieces into the story like J.K. Rowling does in the Harry Potter books, then I think you’ll like this series too. Author: Michael Scott
Dreamdark is a wonderful, imagined place full of faeries and hobgoblins and dragons and imps and dragonflies and moths and other creatures. Look at the cover. Check out that sword, and the facial tattoos. It worked perfectly for my imagination. The picture brings to vivid life this tale of a battle against the forces of evil fought by some faeries that can really “bring it”!
The heroes in this story are faeries; small enough to ride on the back of a bird but gifted with magic as well as passionate loyalty. These faeries are not fairies; they are not pixies or Tinkerbells or the little creatures in The Spiderwick Chronicles. These faeries are warriors. Meet them:
Magpie Windwitch: Tough, loyal, experienced warrior, possesses special magical powers she is just learning to control. She doesn’t like to brush her hair, that’s not her thing. Magpie is all action. She’s also champion to the Djinn King who has given her a task to collect five hidden Djinn that can help him save her world.
Talon: Magpie’s right hand. He’s a Scamperer Faerie. He doesn’t have his own wings but has crafted himself magic wings out of spidersilk. He’s strong and fast with good instincts. He’s the guy you want to watch your back – he’s got Magpie’s at all times.
Whisper Silksinger: A quiet girl from a family of weavers. She’s small and fragile. She can’t fly, but she can weave a magic carpet and fly on that. She can conjure and do spells. Her clan lives in secrecy on an island she has never been away from. She thinks she’s not a warrior, but oh, she’s a warrior all right.
Hirik: Determined to become a champion even though his clan has been exhiled for a betrayal that occurred long before he was born. Hirik knows what it is to be the ousider and will fight to protect the weak, the underdog and the fragile little faerie named Whisper.
These four share devotion to family, friends & to a cause. Their stories begin separately, but they eventually meet to take on the very worst kind of evil, the kind that passes itself off as a friend. Dreamdark is an exotic place, where powerful Devils hide in bottles & where singing makes silk weave itself into flying carpets. Author: Laini Taylor
The setting of Silksinger is exotic and interesting but the real appeal to me is the four friends and how they make up a team. They have the same appeal as Percy, Anabelle, Grover & Tyson or Harry, Ron & Hermione. If you like that kind of tight friendship where each person makes the group stronger, try some of these out. These stories are also set in fantastic places:
Here is a perfect Halloween adventure for you – book 3 in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, The Faceless Ones. If you haven’t read Skulduggery yet you’re missing something. Skulduggery Pleasant is a wise-cracking, classic car driving detective, an impeccable dresser…and a skeleton with magical abilities! With his 14 year-old detective in training sidekick Valkyrie Cain, he’s out to save the world from all kinds of vampires and and a slew of creepy villains bent on taking over the world.
In The Faceless Ones, Skulduggery and Valkyrie are working their beat following up on some mysterious murders. They are really undercover this time as they have been banned from working for the official police force and deemed dangerous “loose cannons.” (A “loose cannon” is someone who is unpredictable or reckless, a person whose behavior is believed to put the people around them in danger. The phrase originates from heavy cannons that used to be secured to the decks of ships. If a cannon came loose and was able to slide around the deck on its own it endangered all of the sailors on the ship.)
Anyway, Skulduggery and Valkyrie ARE unconventional…and they DO bend the rules on occasion, so they find themselves working the case secretly. They’re good though, and they begin to piece together a plot by their arch enemies, the evil Diablerie, to bring back to our time the Faceless Ones, beings that will threaten life on earth as we know it if they are allowed to return.
Of course Skulduggery’s former boss thinks he’s a trouble maker and doesn’t believe him, or maybe he just doesn’t want to believe him, or maaaaybe he’s working for the bad guys. It takes a good detective to figure that out. Skulduggery’s former boss is a lot like Cornelius Fudge actually, when Fudge doesn’t want to believe that Voldemort is back.
Skulduggery and Valkyrie have to call on all their friends, make some new friends and take some risks to rally a ragtag group that are willing to confront the Diablerie and keep the Faceless Ones from returning. Who to trust and who not to trust is a challenge this time around. Also, Skulduggery is not above making an alliance with someone he may or may not trust in different circumstances. To complicate matters, even some of Skulduggery’s close associates are beginning to question his judgement, mainly his judgement about the dangerous situations he puts Valkyrie in. She IS only fourteen. Why DOES Skulduggery train Valkyrie and what does he really want for her future? In this book, we find out more about Skulduggery’s past and what might motivate him as he continues to exist as an immortal skeleton.
Hand to hand combat, trying to weed out double crossers, following hunches, planning surveillance…it’s all here…plus the sarcasm and wise-cracking. Skulduggery and Valkyrie can dish it out as fast as they can take it.
I think you will enjoy these more if you start at the beginning and read them in order. There are a lot of characters and a whole different world to understand. Besides, all three are good! They are full of action and very funny. Dialogue like this that is truly funny is rare – don’t pass it up. Author: Derek Landy
Don’t miss the first two Skulduggery Pleasant books. And if you like the idea of a wise-cracking, unconventional team – try the Bartimaeus Trilogy beginning with The Amulet of Samarkand. It is the story of a magician’s apprentice and a sarcastic, wise-cracking genie. They also team up to save the world.