Monday, January 31, 2011

Contemporary Fantasy for All Ages

I've spent the last several days exploring the worlds of contemporary fantasy. Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold! by Terry Brooks and Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins both begin right here in our very own world, which makes the adventures that follow are all the more exciting because they started so close to home.

Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold! is written by Terry Brooks, author of Shannara books, which are actually the books that first made me love fantasy. I bought Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold! way back in middle school when I was reading Shannara, but never read it. I decided give it another try when a friend suggested it (thanks Cory!). I was a little nervous, partly because when I recently reread some of the Shannara books, I was surprised to find them boring and hard to read. Also because the main character is mid-life crisis-ing lawyer, and I just thought it might be too hard to relate. But, I didn't need to worry because Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold! was a fun, exciting, and overall enjoyable book.

The story begins in Chicago with Ben Holiday, a lawyer who is searching for something more to life. He sees a magazine ad for a magic kingdom for sale, complete with dragons and wizards and knights in shining armor, and decides to go for it. His purchase makes him the king of Landover, but when he arrives he realizes that the kingdom isn't actually doing very well, and there are a lot of challenges that the king must overcome if he wants to save his kingdom. I liked this book, which is a relief because just maybe it means that perhaps the Shannara books weren't so bad the first time around, and my taste in books way back then wasn't so bad after all. And I just have one last thing to say on this topic - Mr. Brooks, what is the deal with the whole women-who-turn-into-trees thing? I mean, seriously?? There's a tree-woman in Landover too? Okay, whatever. Still a good book.

Gregor the Overlander is for an entirely different audience- kids in grades 4-8. This book is the
first in a series by Suzanne Collins, that's right, author of The Hunger Games. I was a little apprehensive about reading this one too- although this time because it's about an 11 year boy
and I wasn't sure if I could relate. Also, because it's about spiders and cockroaches and bats and rats... Not my favorite subjects!! But, Collins did not disappoint. This book was fun and hard to put down, even for my 22-year-old self.

Gregor the Overlander tells about 11-year-old Gregor who falls through a hole in his laundry room, along with his 2-year-old sister. They find themselves on a world filled with talking cockroaches, evil rats, and strange, translucent Underland humans. Gregor just wants to get back home, but he gets caught in the middle of Underland events. Gregor is a brave character, and I really enjoyed reading about him, his cute little sister, and the surprisingly likeable cockroaches. I would recommend this book to people of all ages, not just 4th-8th graders.

No comments:

Post a Comment