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Books we like.

Posted on 8/8/2013 by Jacci White

Books we like.

The Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi was a series I started on a whim, the story told in graphic novel form starts with Book One: Stonekeeper and introduces you to the main characters Emily and Navin. After the death of their father, they find themselves uprooted from their home, and moved with their mother to her ancestral home. It is there that the kids discover that things are not always what they seem. Emily and Navin find a strange amulet hidden away in the library, and are awaken to find their mother being kidnapped through a mysterious door in the basement. The door leads them to an even more mysterious world. Is it a dream or reality? Will they be able to save their mom before it is too late? Why is that amulet glowing?

For a book, I noticed on a whim, it was instant love. The artwork is amazing. Kibuishi is a talented artist and great storywriter. From the start to end, you find that he is setting you up for an epic battle and you are already so invested in the main characters’ journey that you can only hope it turns out good for them. The best part is with each installment he gives you a conclusion to one mystery while leaving you with more questions to a new mystery. Each installment in the series builds upon the story from the previous installment, making this series one you should read in sequence.

Kibuishi has already published five installments in this series, Stonekeeper, Stonekeeper’s Curse, Cloud Searchers, The Last Council, and the Prince of the Elves. The intrigue and suspense found in this graphic novel series written for such a young crowd impresses me over and over again. I have yet to be disappointed in the level of detail in the artwork or the compelling story of Emily and Navin’s adventures in this seemingly magical world.

I first discovered Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson in early 2009, but did not get around to reading it until later that year when I was fully immersed in school to become a Librarian. The irony of reading a book about a cult of evil Librarians was not lost on me as I pored over the book while sitting in the library on my school’s campus.

The story sets up with Alcatraz Smedry inheriting a bag of sand on his 13th birthday, but Alcatraz is no ordinary boy. In and out of foster care homes, plagued with the unexplainable knack for destroying things, he is a unique boy destined for a unique adventure. When his paternal grandfather shows up unexpectedly Alcatraz is introduced into a war that has been happening for generations, and at the heart of it all are the librarians who rule all of the Hushlands (America).

Sanderson has a quirky style of writing, with false trails of foreshadowing and a knack for cliffhangers. This series is not for everyone, the plot is seemingly lost chapter after chapter in silliness but I couldn’t help chuckle at Alcatraz’s adventure as he is unwillingly pulled into a war to fight against that cult of evil Librarians, that for the record do not exist. I promise. This series includes Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens, Alcatraz versus the Knights of the Chrystallia, and Alcatraz versus the Scrivener’s Bones.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor is an excellent twist on a classic. Although who is to say which one is the true story of Alice in Wonderland? The premise of this book is that Lewis Carroll got it wrong, horribly wrong. The tale of Alyss (he even spelled her name wrong) is not a fairy tale meant to entertain children before bed. No, it is a story of familiar betrayal, love lost and an adventure to find oneself. The story begins on the day of Alyss’ seventh birthday, the exact day her estranged aunt, Redd, decides to take back the crown of Wonderland. Aunt Redd crashes the party and starts dealing out death sentences. By the end of it, Alyss has lost both parents and is ripped from all she knows to end up worlds away, cold, wet, and alone. Forced to deny her past she grows up in a world that lacks warmth and knowledge of White Imagination, the core of her family’s power. Meanwhile back in Wonderland Redd and Black Imagination suppress the inhabitants. However, there is a small group of Wonderlandians willing to fight in the name of the lost princess. By way of perfect timing, Alyss is brought back home, all grown up and unsure of herself or her abilities. The question soon becomes whether or not Alyss can become the Queen Wonderland needs.

I am one of those girls who have a love for the Alice in Wonderland story. It was one of the first stories I read as a kid and it continues to be one of my favorite childhood classics. Frank Beddor is a talented writer, a good mix of adventure, action and emotion finds its way throughout the whole novel. This is a great read and the story draws you in and compels you further into a world that makes the classic Wonderland look so tame. The Cat is spooky and a great supporting character and Redd is by far the cruelest Red Queen to date. Where others have chosen to portray her in a comical way, Beddor creates an evil queen that would scare even the manliest of man.

This trilogy includes Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy.