Pure Magic- The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

First, let me say that C.S. Lewis is my absolute favo(u)rite author (note the optional u in the word to account for his British background), and I have read the Narnia series at the very least four times–several books I have read five or six. C.S. Lewis himself declared, “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once” (The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, page 439).

Having said that, the reason I chose The Magician’s Nephew to review over the other Narnia books was its broader appeal. The Horse and His Boy is generally the least interesting to readers because of a lack of fantastical elements (excepting talking horses) and a surplus of “dry” traveling and plot. The Last Battle seems to be the least understood and the most obscure (when ignoring the brilliant allegorical techniques used). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader all have brand new movies, and I wanted to avoid simply ranting about what the production companies changed or ignored. The Silver Chair I have read less recently. All of these books are wonderful, and I highly recommend them for all readers.

The Magician’s Nephew is unique in that it explores the creation story through allegory. As Lewis is also a brilliant philosopher, it is really interesting to compare the behavior and thoughts of Jadis–the villain–to the beliefs of certain individuals and groups in our culture. The writing is, of course, phenomenal, because C.S. Lewis is a highly revered writer, and the seemly simplistic plot for children reveals more complex allegory every time I read it.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Magicians-Nephew-C-S-Lewis/dp/0064409430/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347735557&sr=1-1&keywords=magician%27s+nephew

Author websites include (although he is dead, unfortunately): http://cslewis.drzeus.net/http://cslewis.com/http://www.cslewis.org/

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My Goden! : Feast Island by Tamar Hela

After winning this book from a giveaway, I opened it with no expectations. What I found was a very cute and unique story with a refreshing lack of make-out scenes (as much as I appreciate romance, I get tired of young adult drama sometimes). To be quite honest, it could have stood for a little more editing. As a grammar Nazi, I cringed a tiny bit at some misplaced commas. I think the best group for this book is junior highers. In fact, I am going to lend this to my twelve-year old family friend, and I promise she will adore it. Readers who do not mind the grammar mistakes and are looking for a short, fast-paced, less intense read will thoroughly enjoy Feast Island.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Feast-Island-Tamar-Hela/dp/0985454210/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347734565&sr=1-1&keywords=feast+island

Author website: http://tamarhela.wordpress.com/

The Next Rising Series: The Nexus by Robin Woods

From the beginning of The Unintended (the first in the series), I could tell that I would end up in love, head-over-heels, with the story of Aleria Hayes. And that I did. The Nexus, believe it or not, was even more enthralling than the previous book. It found me laughing hysterically, gnawing on my fingernails, or nearly crying at every turn. Robin Woods has the power to break or satisfy a reader’s heart, and she does both, frequently and skillfully. I can’t decide whether to despise or admire how much power she has over my heart. I eagerly await The Sacrifice. No, I am DYING for The Sacrifice. Pun Unintended.

My review of the first of the series:https://trudreamr.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/an-unexpected-blessing-the-unintended-by-robin-woods/

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Nexus-Watcher-Book-Two/dp/0985454202/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347424885&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nexus+robin+woods

Author website: http://www.robinwoodsfiction.com/

Author fan blog: http://robinwoodsfan.wordpress.com/

Whoa. -The Giver by Lois Lowry

I had heard this book mentioned many times, mostly in the context of, “My favorite book? Easy. The Giver.” Curious, I picked it up one day. I meandered through the first part, wondering what made it so appealing to my friends, thinking it was just another dystopian novel. Then my jaw hit the floor. It was NOT “just another” dystopian novel. I was astonished at Lowry’s brilliance. This book is for grandparents and children, geniuses and teenage girls. But be ready to be amazed.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Giver-Lois-Lowry/dp/0547995660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346609854&sr=1-1&keywords=the+giver

Author website: http://www.loislowry.com/

Do Not Go Gentle: Matched by Ally Condie

Another dystopian young adult novel. Another “Which boy do I choose?” crisis. It seems, from reading through other reviews, you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I liked that defiance of the government came through poetry. That an individual could recognize true beauty in something she had been taught to despise and reject. Besides that, it was a fairly frivolous read that I recommend for a lazy summer’s afternoon.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Matched-Ally-Condie/dp/014241977X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346609024&sr=1-1&keywords=matched

Author website: http://www.allysoncondie.com/