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Fantasy Reviews

Looking for some Fantasy Fiction? Check below for reviews of items that are available in our collections to borrow.

Have you read any books yourself recently? Love it or hate it, we'd love to hear about it! Submit a book review here.

‘The Last Smile in Sunder City’
by Luke Arnold

"A noir detective novel full of magical creatures, but no magic. Humans couldn't resist the source of the magical creatures' powers and sought to harness it for themselves but instead they broke it. Now no one has any and Fetch Phillips, man for hire, is to blame. Six years on and the magical creatures are shells of their former selves and trying to come to terms with whatever life means when it's merely mundane.

"The Last Smile in Sumner City is a dry, sharp-witted detective potboiler. In a cheap and tawdry world of faded, formerly powerful beings starved of magic, Fetch Phillips ‘Man for Hire’ has a mystery to solve. Just how far will the monsters of old go to adapt for survival, strive for redemption or sacrifice of themselves for just a taste of the magic that made them who they once were?"

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‘The Belles’
by Dhonielle Clayton

"This is my number one pick for best YA release this year: a beautiful, fully realised world with a dark underbelly. I thought that The Belles would be yet another morality tale of beautiful girls in palaces discovering that there is more to life than beauty, but instead it spiralled out into something more nuanced than I ever expected. The complexities of different kinds of beauty, friendship, power and ambition play out in delicious and thrilling ways leaving the reader desperate to know: when will the next instalment arrive and why was it not last week?"

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‘Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day’
by Seanan McGuire

"This book is weird. That isn't what's wrong with it, it's just an observation. I usually love a weird book because it's refreshing to read something really original, but this one just fell short. While I liked the writing style, I found that the central premise of the book and the character's driving motivation too unnecessarily convoluted. It seems as though the author has confused her crisp, sparse writing that conjures places and characters in sharp focus with the amount of plot and character development required to carry the story ‐ at just 182 pages there's plenty of room to develop further. I found this book unsatisfying as an introduction to McGuire's writing, but there are plenty of very positive reviews online so this may be one for the fans."

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‘Norse Mythology’
by Neil Gaiman

"If you've read Neil Gaiman's Sandman series you will already be familiar with his cast of troublesome Norse Gods. Here they take centre stage as he tells their stories in all their petty, vindictive and often very funny glory. The bards of old knew how to weave a good yarn and Gaiman does justice to them here.

"Norse Mythology isn't a scholarly tome, it's just a collection of stories about the kind of gods you can really relate to."

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‘The Discworld Series’
by Terry Pratchett

"When I was a teenager someone handed me a copy of my first Terry Pratchett book, "Witches Abroad." It was like nothing I'd ever read; full of imagination, whip smart wordplay and laugh-out-loud jokes that described the world in ways that felt both bluntly obvious and completely new. I'd never liked fantasy much, but this was something different. It wasn't about magic or dragons or conquering heroes. It was about people. It was a world that ran on flawed logic with cowardly heroes, bickering witches, venal wizards, feminist dwarves, corrupt fairy godmothers and a librarian with a taste for bananas and the ability to shell peanuts with his feet.

"The Discworld books find me, without fail, when I'm avoiding my towering ‘To Be Read’ pile, and it always feels like rejecting killer heels for the world's most comfortable slippers. Some of them I've read a dozen times and they still make me laugh with every reread. What I love most though is not the jokes but the compassion. They see the small-minded self-interest in people and make it redeeming. They show how you can carve out small independences when you hate what you have to do. They say that sometimes what people really need is a good dose of headology. There aren't many authors that you can say shaped you as a person. If you're lucky you may get one, and mine was Sir Terry."

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‘The Murdstone Trilogy’
by Mal Peet

"The Murdstone Trilogy is a wickedly funny send up of the Young Adult and Fantasy genres. Philip Murdstone writes moving and critically acclaimed books about sensitive boys... until, that is, his publisher demands he churn out a quick fantasy trilogy which will actually sell. At first a small creature from another dimension seems to be his saviour until everything gets wildly out of hand.

"I read this in a weekend and there were several laugh out loud moments ‐ including the portrayal of the local librarians as being about one broomstick and a couple of toads away from standing around a Shakespearian cauldron and cackling."

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‘The Eye of the World’
by Robert Jordan

"The Eye of the World is a masterpiece. A captivating story of the battle between good and evil, The Eye of the World provides a thrilling and mysterious start to Robert Jordan's fantasy epic, The Wheel of Time."

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‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’
by J.K. Rowling

""fter years of prodding from my daughter, I finally read "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone" by J.K. Rowling. We are introduced to Harry living unhappily with his aunt and uncle and then finding happiness and friendship at Hogwarts School. I definitely see the appeal of this series, for both children and adults. Even after watching the movie, it is still a fun story to read."

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‘The Library at Mount Char’
by Scott Hawkins

"This book was violent and strange and most of the time I had no idea what was going on. I'm still not sure why I liked it so much, but I found myself picking it up whenever I had a few spare minutes and resurfacing to find I'd lost half an hour. I picked it up because I liked the cover and it was about a library and quickly realised that it was like no library in the conventional sense of time and space and generally involved less in the way of late fines and more in the way of grisly murders than librarians are generally prone to, and yet I still loved it. This is a book that will appeal to fans of Nick Harkaway and Steven King's fantasy novels, it won't be for everyone but if you like something a bit different and out there then this is one for you."

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‘The Rook’
Daniel O'Malley

"One day Myfanwy Thomas finds herself standing in a park surrounded by dead bodies with no idea who she is. All she has to guide her are two mysterious letters written by her former self, one directing her to an escape plan that, should she choose to, will allow her to flee the country, set herself up with a new identity and start her life over as someone else away from the people with strange powers who are trying to kill her. The other contains instructions for staying and trying to discover who betrayed her, stole her memories and is behind the attempted invasion of Britain by shadowy forces based in Belgium.

"I absolutely loved this book. It's been described as MI5 for wizards, but really it's more like X-Men for bureaucrats. This book is a really fun and enjoyable read, and would pair well with Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. I highly recommend it."

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‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’
Sarah Maas

"This is fairly paint by the numbers as far as novels about teenage girls falling for mysterious handsome boys that are over 500 years old and have magical powers go. While not as magical as previous shortlister Seraphina by Rachel Hartman or as much fun as Kiersten White's Buffyesque Paranormalcy, ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ is a comfortable book to curl up with on a rainy day when you want to spend some time with the fairies."

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‘The Rithmatist’
by Brandon Sanderson

"A tale of magic and tactical geometry.

"In a world where wild chalk drawings can swarm and attack people, humanity's only hope are the select few who know how to wield the magic of trigonometry against the invading horde ‐ The Rithmatists whose numbers are dwindling as a serial killer picks them off one by one.

"Not as strange as it sounds."

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‘The Darkest Part of the Forest’
by Holly Black

"I love Holly Black. I just thought I'd get that out there. I love her writing, I.m a massive fan, and I'm not likely to be unbiased during this review. So. Now I can Squee!!! with utter joy at finding a new book by her, and such a great book too!

"It's a fantasy (Holly Black makes fantasy awesome again), set in the modern world in a little backward village where real fairies live in the woods. Sounds a little bit like everything you've ever read? Think again. There's a boy with horns in a glass casket, children are stolen and swapped for changeling babies, tourists go ‘missing’, it's funny, dark, lovely and has a really great heroine with a badass sword which she uses to deftly remove heads with."

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