Sunday, July 27, 2014

Magical books

I just finished reading a not very new book called "The Akhentaten Adventure" which is part of the Children of the Lamp series by P. J. Kerr.  I liked the story a lot, which is about twins, John and Phillipa who discover that they are genies, or djinn.  Djinn have a different kind of magical power (one that is depleting to their bodies, so they are instructed to use their powers carefully) and in this book, they spend a lot of time learning about their powers as well as the history of the djinn, both from a historical and a literature perspective.  It got me me thinking about magic as a genre of fiction and why it's so common.

There have been a lot of books about magic in the last few years, most notably Harry Potter, but there have been others like Charlie Bone and Percy Jackson.  The overarching theme to me is most often good versus evil.  I mean it's really cool to be able to do magic and make things happen outside of the world of reality, but if there isn't some compelling reason to do the magic to help others, the books seem a bit pointless.  One of the magical books that didn't get as much play at my school (because I work in an elementary school and this would definitely be a book for bigger kids than mine) was "Hold Me Closer Necromancer" by Lish McBride.  This is another book where the character is unaware that he has magical powers until something silly brings him into contact with the magical world.  In this case, Sam pulls a prank at the fast food restaurant where he works and finds Douglas, a completely evil necromancer who decides he probably ought to destroy Sam.  So Sam has to figure out all his powers, who he should be friends with, who he should tell this big secret to while trying not to get killed by Douglas.  Sound like a familiar plot?  Here's a book trailer about it:

The other magically related book that I read this week was "Thursdays with the Crown" by Jessica Day George.  It's coming out in October.  I really liked the first book in this series called "Tuesdays at the Castles".  It's about a royal family with two brothers and two sisters and the king and the queen living in the Castle Glower.  The castle is actually magical and title refers to the fact that Tuesdays are the day that the King hears petitions from his subjects that day and that castle is often bored and will do things like open a door to allow the sheep to come in from the pasture or lock a visiting (underhanded and evil) dignitary in his room.  In "Tuesdays"  the castle comes under attack and three of the kids have to try to protect the castle and the kingdom (the king and queen are taking the oldest son to magic school and fall under attack).  I missed the Wednesday one, but in the Thursday one, the kids are trying to help heal the castle and there are griffins involved as well as evil magicians and not so evil magicians and apprentices who's loyalties are unclear.  It's complicated but interesting and again... learning powers, trying to figure out who's friends and who's not, good versus evil.  Here's a book trailer for Tuesdays at the Castle.

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