Jackaby

Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Summary: Abigail Rook has been running for a long time – first from the strict English household of her childhood, where she was expected to be a proper lady, and then from the far-off lands she had first tried to escape to. In 1892, she finds herself aboard a ship headed to New England, where she will find the adventure she has been longing for in the form of R.F. Jackaby, a bizarre investigator who claims to see paranormal creatures that might cause problems both large and small in the world. When Abigail joins him as his assistant, her own sense of careful observation and logic makes them a formidable team.

They are soon on the case of what appears to be a serial killer in their midst and Jackaby is convinced something supernatural is at play. Alternately joining forces with, and then avoiding local authorities, Abigail and Jackaby work to solve the mystery before anyone else, including themselves, lose their lives. This is a terribly fun book for almost any reader. It has elements of mystery, adventure and of course, magic. You will race to the end to see how it all turns out, and you will then wait impatiently for the planned sequel, Beastly Bones, due in September.

Who will like this book?: Fans of stories featuring occult monsters and spirits. Whovians. Readers of supernatural mysteries.

If you like this, try this: The collection The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. While it is not a paranormal story, another great team detective story is The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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Fables

     Fables Vol. 20: Camelot

Title: Fables

Author: Bill Willingham

Illustrators: Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and more

Summary: First printed in 2002, the comic series Fables has endured, becoming one of the most beloved continuing series in recent memory. Forced out of their familiar Homelands by a dark and deadly figure known only as the “Adversary,” the legendary characters of myth and tall tales made their way to our world to establish Fabletown, where, as immortals, they have lived and thrived into our modern age. But the people you meet on these pages bear little resemblance to your favorite cartoon royals and monsters. When Jack (of Beanstalk fame) rushes to tell Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown that his girlfriend, Rose Red has disappeared and their apartment is covered in blood, an investigation into a possible murder begins. Following Bigby’s every move is Snow White, Rose’s sister and deputy mayor of Fabletown.

Over the course of its 12 year run (collected into 20 volumes so far), Willingham weaves in both beloved figures from the most popular fairy tales to obscure characters you may have never heard of. The nature of the story also changes, from murder mystery to domestic drama to epic quest. This is a great story to curl up in, because the twists and surprises will keep you turning pages, and some will even break your heart. With the end of the story coming soon (in early 2015,) this is the perfect time to start Fables at the beginning.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who like ‘fractured’ fairy tales – new spins on familiar stories. TV watchers looking for something a bit grittier than Once Upon a Time. Fans of ongoing graphic novel series such as The Walking Dead.

If you like this, try this: Into the Wild and Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. The series The Unwritten by Mike Carey. And if you can’t get enough of the Fables world, read the prequel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Name of the Wind

Title: The Name of the Wind

Author:  Patrick Rothfuss

Summary: In the quiet village of Newarre, the townspeople sense that darkness and danger are gathering. One night, a traveling scribe known as Chronicler is saved from wicked, spider-creatures called Scrael by a local innkeeper named Kote. The scribe soon realizes that this humble man is really the legendary hero Kvothe, made famous in story and song. After much prodding from Chronicler, Kvothe agrees to tell his story and reveal the reasons why he has retreated from the world that seems to need heroes more than ever.

The Name of the Wind is the first book in a planned triology called the Kingkiller Chronicles. In these pages, we learn of Kvothe’s early years as a traveling performer and musician with his family. When his father angers the Chandrian, an ancient, evil force, it brings about an unspeakable tragedy that sets young Kvothe on his life’s mission: revenge. He enrolls at the University to learn, among other things, ‘sympathy,’ a magical skill that allows users to manipulate objects and bend them to their will. Kvothe  makes friends and enemies and even has a sweetly shy romance along the way, but his focus always remains on his goal of discovering how to find and defeat the Chandrian.

Who will like this book?: This book is a great choice for fantasy readers who have read ‘everythingor are looking for another series to begin. Mature readers who like stories set in magical schools and were fans of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson when they were younger.

If you like this, read this: The sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, which continues Kvothe’s story. The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Cinder

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Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Summary: This futuristic re-imagining of  Cinderella hits all the fairytale basics: unappreciated hard-working daughter, spoiled stepsister, cruel stepmother, handsome prince, and a ball for the entire land.  But, there are also cyborgs, androids, a fatal plague, a cruel Lunar alien queen set on planetary domination, and magic-well not so much magic as bioelectrical manipulation.

It’s a fairytale  like no other, set in New Beijing sometime after the Fourth World War-a war where nuclear and chemical warfare killed millions, decimated entire cultures, and reduced dozens of cities to rubble. This is the world of Cinder, a sixteen-year-old cyborg with an uncanny ability to understand how to fix things.  She supports her stepmother and two stepsisters by running a mechanic’s booth in the market and has earned a reputation for being the best in New Beijing.  Then, everything changes for Cinder when a disguised Prince Kai brings a broken android to her booth jokingly telling her that fixing the broken robot is “a matter of national security.”  Cinder believes there may be some truth to the prince’s joke and agrees to the job.

However, Cinder is quickly side-tracked from the job when her young stepsister, the only human friend she has in the world, is stricken with a deadly plague.   The same plague that threatens the life of the Prince Kai’s father, the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth.  Cinder’s stepmother blames Cinder for her daughter’s illness and in retaliation she volunteers Cinder for plague research, a task no one has survived.  The lead scientist soon discovers that there is something special about the latest volunteer.  Something that others would kill and die for.

Who will like this book?:  Readers who are looking for something a bit different from typical sci-fi/ fantasy story and open to a bit of fairytale romance.

If you like this, try this:  The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Every Other Day

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Title: Every Other Day

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Summary:  Every second day Kali is just your average 16-year-old girl, who reluctantly transferred halfway through first semester junior year from a gifted high school program run by her father’s university to public school.  She has no friends,  a mother who disappeared when she was just a kid, and an absentee father who doesn’t seem to understand her at all.

But every other day she is something else entirely.  She is confident and beyond strong.   And, on those days she is not human.  She is the thing that hunts and kills supernatural creatures that would do harm to the human race and she is practically indestructible.   Kali doesn’t know what she is on those days, but she knows there is no denying her need to hunt and destroy evil.

One day, Kali notices a demon mark on the back of the most popular girl at school.  A mark that means she will be dead within 24 hours.  Unfortunately,  it is on a day when Kali is simply a human.  Without the benefit of super strength or extraordinary healing powers Kali decides to try to save this girl.  It’s a decision that will change everything.  It will create friendships, threaten family relationships, endanger lives, and change the hunter within Kali.

Who will like this book?:  If you like strong-willed, tough female main characters in paranormal settings this is the book for you.

If you like this, try this: Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Raised by Wolves and Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Summary:  Karou lives in two worlds.  In one, she is a multi-lingual, blue-haired art student living in Prague who fills her sketchbooks with beautiful monsters known as Chimaera.  In the other, she is the ward of one of those Chimaera slipping through magical portals throughout the world collecting teeth for his devilish creations.  Karou loves the Chimaera who have raised her, but she can’t help wonder “Who is she?”  While her guardian provides much, his demands are great and he leaves so many of her questions unanswered.

Then black handprints begin to appear on the doorways of the portals used by Karou.   Her secret world and beloved Chimaera family are threatened by Seraphim or angels, creatures unlike any found in biblical writings.  Further complicating Karou’s life are the confusing feelings she has developed for the creature who attempted to kill her. Soon, Karou discovers that she is at the center of an otherworldly war.  She may finally find out who she is, but at what cost?

Who will like this book:  Those who have long since graduated from Twilight and its countless read-a-likes will be enthralled by this original fantasy.  Laini Taylor has vividly created a new world populated with unique characters and combined it with traditional themes of  forbidden love and epic war.

If you like this, try this:  Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

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Title: This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Author:  Kenneth Oppel

Summary:  Written as a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this story introduces us to a young Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad. They are as close as two people can be, yet in some ways their personalities are in direct odds with each other.  Konrad is the one everyone loves and respects.  He is smarter, more athletic, and kinder and it all seems to come so easily for him. Victor knows Konrad is the better of the pair and deep in his heart he is starting to resent his brother’s goodness.   

Then Konrad becomes deathly ill. Doctors can’t seem to cure him, but Victor believes he has found a way. Hidden in a secret underground dark library Victor finds a book on potions that contains an entry for the forbidden Elixir of Life. Victor enlists the help of his cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry to embark on a dangerous mission to collect the ingredients for this lifesaving draught.  Victor knows he can save his brother if only he is willing to go against everything he was raised to believe, forgo the love of which he dreams, and sacrifice a part of himself.    

Who will like this?: Oppel’s tale of gothic horror holds appeal to fans of adventure, alchemy, heart-wrenching emotions, love, and mystery.

If you like this, try this: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.

Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian

Find this book at the Fairfield Public Library or Fairfield Woods Branch Library.