The Floating Island by
Four stars Elizabeth Hayden is a wonderful combination of fantasy and the early modern genre of "traveler's tales," such as Gulliver's Travels. When the young Nain shipwright Ven encounters Fire Pirates while testing a new vessel, he ends up leaving his home and setting off an adventure. The first in a series, this book has a wonderful, exuberant imagination, with several humanoid species in a world with humans, each with their own traditions and habits. The first-person narrative has an in-story justification, and the plot has several twists and possible interpretations that could be chosen.
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.
When I picked up this book, I had some vague memory of reading an Arthurian legend with this title and finding it rather dull. I must have been thinking of another book, because this one was beautiful. It was like taking a drink, expecting cherry cough syrup, and finding rich apple cider with caramel syrup instead.
The Wingfeather Saga
This book is the first of a trilogy focusing o
n Merlin. It begins with twelve-year-old Merlin, bastard grandson of the king, at his home in Less Britain, learning about his Sight and other learning from a man living in a crystal cave. When his grandfather dies, he flees to join Ambrosius. This book has a wonderful combination of historical detail and imagination, and the writing style is gorgeous. I'm planning to add the next two to my interlibrary loan request list at some point.
Four and a half stars.
Unfortunately, it's been a while since I read the first book in this series, and I was only able to find the second and third at the library. So I was a bit confused while reading it. However, Andrew Peterson's series is a wonderful fairy-tale adventure. With such original monsters as toothy cows and Fangs, the world of The Wingfeather Saga is new and fresh, wonderful for reading aloud and introducing children to the genre. The characters are well-written and realistic. I'd give you a summery, but the first book's ending is necessary for any sort of overall summery, and I don't want spoilers.