n

Fantasy fans are anxiously waiting for the June release date of the next
"Harry Potter" movie. But the best way to enjoy the thrills of fantasy is to
read a good fantasy book. I have found three different types of fantasy
books that will have you and your 10 through 14 year old wanting more from
these authors!  One adventure is set deep underground; another is about life
with high tech computers; and the last deals with magical beings.
"Gregor The Overlander", by Suzanne Collins, is a riveting adventure into
the depths of our own earth. When Gregor watches his 2 year old sister fall
down a hole in the laundry room of his New York City apartment, he has to
make a swift decision to jump down this deep, dark hole as well. The hole is
so deep that he has time to count the seconds before finally landing.
Luckily for him and his young sibling, "Boots", they land without any
serious injuries. But what awaits them will make them wish they were back
above ground. As they adjust to the dim light, they begin to see eyes
looking at them from all around. Are these creatures "human"? Are they
friend or foe? Will they ever get back to their home above ground? What they
are about to encounter will keep even the most reluctant reader on the edge
of their seat.

n

ow for a book in the upper regions of our world, Tor Seidler has a new book
out that is full of adventure and excitement. Unfortunately, the title may
put some readers off. But, aside from the title, "Brainboy and the
Deathmaster", the story is compelling, thrilling and a page-turner from
beginning to end.  Twelve year old Daryl is an orphan living in a shelter
until he can be adopted. When young BJ encounters him at the shelter, he
discovers that not only is Daryl really smart and able to play the
"Starmaster" game on the computer beyond anything he'd ever seen, but he
finds a friend.  Daryl and BJ get along very well and seem to bond almost
immediately. BJ and his mom begin to prepare the way for Daryl to become a
part of their family. But everything changes when Daryl is suddenly adopted
by the creator of the "Starmaster" game.  The story takes many turns and the
plot thickens when Daryl ends up in a high-tech research structure. The
longer Daryl stays there, the more he realizes that the scientist that
adopted him may not be what he appears. What is the real reason for his
adoption? Why are other kids living there as well? Will he ever be able to
leave this windowless edifice? Will BJ ever locate this laboratory and find
his friend again? And what is this research lab really used for?  Once
again, this book will have you turning the pages from beginning to end while
trying to discover, along with Daryl, the mystery that lies before him as
the adventure unfolds.

n

ow for a book with magic, fairies and winged horses: "The Various", by
Steve Augarde, is a most ingenious story about 11 year old Meg and what
happens to her when she goes to stay at her uncle's farm. When she
investigates a small pig barn, she hears an unusual sound. Upon
investigation, she discovers a small, winged horse and the adventure begins.
Meg saves little "Pegs" as he is trapped helplessly under some farm
equipment. As Pegs learns to trust Meg and become her friend, he learns that
her uncle is about to sell the farm and all of the acres of forest that are
part of the property. What Meg is about to learn is that the forest is
filled with a magical kingdom of what's left of a fairy world.  Mr. Augarde
has written a very unique story because he writes not only from Meg's point
of view, but in alternating chapters, the readers learn all about the secret
lives of these magical people. His characterizations are so well described
that they become as real as Meg and her human counterparts. In fact,
whenever I put the book down (which was rarely) I found myself thinking
about the story and excited to return to discover what happens. This book
has more pages than the other two reviewed books with 448 pages, but the
pages will fly by as quickly as the adventures are encountered.
Now for a list of a few more fantasy books and/or series: (The best thing
about these books is there are more!)
"Rowan of Rin", by Emily Rodda, has five books in the series. A young boy
becomes a hero when forced to save his people.
"The Enchanted Forest Chronicles" by Patricia C. Wrede, has a heroine that's
engaging, brave and funny as she learns about dragons. 4 books in this
series.
Garth Nix's "The Keys to the Kingdom" has 2 books published so far, with 5
more planned. A young boy has only so much time to unlock secrets in a
mysterious world.
"Guardians of Ga'hoole", by Kathryn Lasky, has 4 books in this series, (# 5
is coming this August). Owls abound in this adventure of good versus evil.
If you enjoy fantasy books, then you're in for a real treat. If you're not a
fan, you very well could become one after sampling any or all of these tasty
treats!