Guest Review: Jack Campbell – Lost Fleet: Dauntless

jackcampbell-lostfleetdauntlessToday’s review is a guest review. Wiebe has caught the review bug and has started writing up some reviews for A Fantastical Librarian. For those of you not familiar with his name, Wiebe is my husband, who also loves SFF and watches a lot of anime. And he’s got opinions. So sometimes he just needs to write them out in a review, which I happily co-opt for the blog. Today he reviews Jack Campbell’s Dauntless, the fist in the Lost Fleet series.  Read More …

Henry L. Herz – Little Red Cuttlefish

henrylherz-littleredcuttlefishLittle Red is off to deliver a fresh basket of crab cakes to Grandma Cuttlefish. Everything goes swimmingly . . .at first. While Little Red might be safe from any big, bad wolves, she has to look out for something even more dangerous: the hungry tiger shark!

Luckily, this cuttlefish is anything but cuddly, and Little Red has a few tricks hidden up her tentacles. She’ll camouflage, squirt ink clouds, and use her quick reflexes to outwit that pesky shark and deliver her crab cakes unharmed. After all—she doesn’t want to miss dessert!

Little Red Cuttlefish is the second book out from Henry L. Herz this month. This time it’s a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but one with a twist. I really enjoyed the fact that Little Red didn’t need rescuing, but did the rescuing herself. The colourful, bright illustrations by Kate Gotfredson capture the story beautifully and also give little readers plenty of interesting elements to search out. My favourite thing was the little clownfish that was hiding in each page and having my girls try and spot him.  Read More …

Author Query – S.C. Flynn

childrenofthedifferentweb150Earlier this month I reviewed S.C. Flynn’s debut Children of the Different, which I really enjoyed. Today I am part of S.C.’s blog tour for the book with an Author Query. Thanks to S.C. for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the interview.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is S.C. Flynn?

I am an Australian/British/Irish/Italian reader and obsessive reviser. I was born in a small town in South West Western Australia, but I have lived in Europe for more than twenty years. First the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of my ancestors. That has been a great experience, but also difficult and lonely at times.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Dark Talent

The Dark Talent coverAlcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary–known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders–the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

The Dark Talent is the fifth and latest book in Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series. It comes after a gap of six years between book four and book five, but combined with the new editions of the first four books, it’s a perfect time to allow new readers to discover the series. The book delivers on the opening scene of the first book and, as such, closes off the arc in this quintet, but hopefully doesn’t signal the ending of Alcatraz’s story.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Shattered Lens

Untitled-3.inddAlcatraz Smedry is up against a whole army of Evil Librarians with only his friend Bastille, a few pairs of glasses, and an unlimited supply of exploding teddy bears to help him. This time, even Alcatraz’s extraordinary talent for breaking things may not be enough to defeat the army of Evil Librarians and their giant librarian robots.

The Shattered Lens is the fourth instalment in the Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series and this time Alcatraz goes to war! Or rather, he goes to stop a war and prevent the Librarians from conquering the entire country of Mokia. Our boy is growing up and coming into his own, though not without wreaking a lot of havoc.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Knights of Crystallia

brandonsanderson-theknightsofcrystalliaIn this third Alcatraz adventure, Alcatraz Smedry has made it to the Free Kingdoms at last. Unfortunately, so have the evil Librarians–including his mother! Now Alcatraz has to find a traitor among the Knights of Crystallia, make up with his estranged father, and save one of the last bastions of the Free Kingdoms from the Evil Librarians.

Alcatraz is back for another rip-roaring story in The Knights of Crystallia, where he, Bastille, Grandpa Smedry and a host of other wacky characters need to rescue the Free Kingdoms from another dastardly plot hatched by the Evil Librarians to take over the Kingdoms and align the entire world with the (somewhat boring) vision Biblioden has for the “proper” ruling of the world. While we learned about some of the different Librarian factions in the previous books, as you might have guessed from the title, this book focuses on the order of the Knights of Crystallia, who are an integral part of Nalhalla and the Free Kingdoms.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Scrivener’s Bones

brandonsanderson-thescrivenersbonesIn this second Alcatraz adventure, Alcatraz finds himself on a mission to meet Grandpa Smedry when he gets swept up by a flying glass dragon filled with his unusual and mouthy Smedry cohorts.

Their mission? A dangerous, library-filled one, of course!

They are on their way to the ancient and mysterious Library of Alexandria (which some silly people think was long ago destroyed!) where they must find Grandpa Smedry, look for clues leading to Alcatraz’s potentially undead dead father, and battle the creepy, dangerous soul-sucking curators who await them.

The Scrivener’s Bones is the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs. the Librarians series. For those familiar with Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy writing, be aware, these books are completely unlike those. This series is a zany, mad-cap adventure series aimed at a middle grade audience and the humour Sanderson includes in it will probably not work for everyone, especially if they are expecting books in the vein of the Stormlight Archive or the Mistborn books.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians

brandonsanderson-alcatrazvsevillibrariansOn his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.

To anyone familiar with the field of fantasy literature the name Brandon Sanderson will bring to mind big fat fantasy novels, intricate, logical magic systems, in-depth world-building, his finishing of The Wheel of Time and the fact that he is one of the most — if not the most — prolific authors currently writing. And while I knew that in addition to his novels for adults he’d written several YA works, I was surprised to learn that he’d also penned an entire middle grade series. However, upon learning the title of the series is Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians I had to read it—I mean, as a librarian, how could I not? What I found in the eponymous first book of the series surprised me. While Sanderson’s world-building and magic-system-creation skills are very much on display, the book was also irreverent, funny, puntastic, and very different from Sanderson’s other works I’ve read.  Read More …

Author Query Redux – Rowena Cory Daniells

RowenaCoryDaniells-TheKingsBastardRowena Cory Daniells is an author I fell in love with from the moment I started reading her The King’s Bastard, the first book of the King Rolen’s Kin series. I really loved Byren, Fyn, and Pyro and their world. So I was really excited to learn that this September Solaris is kicking off their Solaris Classics series by republishing the King Rolen’s Kin series. To celebrate I’m really happy to have Rowena visit again for a second Author Query. I hope you enjoy it and if you want to learn even more about Rowena, the King Rolen’s Kin series and her Outcast Chronicles, you can also check out her first Author Query from 2012Read More …

Henry Herz – Mabel and the Queen of Dreams

henryherz-mabelandthequeenofdreamsLittle Mabel is an expert at not going to sleep. She knows all the best bedtime-avoiding excuses. “I’m thirsty.” “I need to use the bathroom.” “Will you tell me a story?” Luckily, Mom’s quiver of bedtime tales includes the story of the Fae Queen, who paints children’s dreams and can only visit when their eyes are closed. Inspired by Mercutio’s soliloquy in Romeo & Juliet, in which he details how the tiny fairy queen influences people’s dreams as she passes by in her flying chariot, the soothing story evokes images of an ant in a worn gray coat and a hazelnut-shell chariot with a roof of grasshopper wings. Told in lyrical language that adults will also appreciate, the story helps parents get their kids to sleep. 

Reviewing Henry Herz picture books has become a family activity here at Casa Librarian. While at first it was only my six-year-old daughter Emma helping me “eviewer” them, this time my four-year-old Cat decided she wanted in on the fun. So what follows is a collaborative review with my girls, including pictures drawn by the girls inspired by the story.  Read More …