The Chronicles Of The Imaginatium Geographica 2 The Search For The Red Dragon by James K Owen. Nine years have past since the last book and the trio of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Charles Williams have settled back into their normal lives at the institutions of higher learning they frequent. The granddaughter of Peter Pan, Laura Glue, comes calling and that takes them on a new adventure. I liked Laura Glue. You say her name as one word. There's more trouble in the Archipeligo. Someone is stealing the dragon ships and Peter Pan is being tortured by the villain. The trio returns to the Archipeligo and Richard Burton (not the actor) and HG Wells get involved. There's plenty of running around in a fairly well told story with some interesting places to visit and people to see. It's illustrated but I'm no fan of the illustrations by the author. I do want to find out what happens in the next books and there are 6 out so far with a 7th due in November. I've just added the rest of the series to my library queue. Once I get through some of the other books I'm reading now I'll find out what happens next.
Murder At Midnight by Avi is the prequel to Midnight Magic. It sets up the relationship between Fabrizio and Magnus that featured in Midnight Magic. Fabrizio was an orphan and he's just come to live at Magnus's house when the plot to kill the King comes to a head. Magnus is a stage magician in a country where real magic is banned by the king. An unkown villain has framed Magnus in an elaborate plot involving a printing press and magic. Since the story is set hundreds of years ago in Italy the printing press is almost unknown. Fabrizio pulls together all the knowledge he has and all the courage he can muster to help save his new master from the noose. Part of it is his own motivated self interest. He's honest in his narration that he'd be back in the street, along with his master's wife, if Magnus was convicted. Fabrizio's other motivation is his love for his new mother figure, Mrs Magnus. She treats him well and she's responsible for his being there in the house. Magnus only reluctantly tries to teach the boy at first. The story eventually cements their friendship and all that bladdy-blah suff. I had read Midnight Magic, which came out in 1999, a while back and liked it but was waffling on keeping it. When I saw the 2009 prequel, and it's neat looking cover, marked down to 2 bucks, I picked it up. It's was a good quick read with a well written story. I have liked most of the Avi fantasy books I have read but I'm not much interested in reading a lot of his other titles. Now I'm thinking I'll keep the pair of them and re-read them again down the road. Then I can decide if I need to keep them.
Icefire & Firestar by Chris D'Lacey are a couple of books that have been sitting around for a while. I got the first three books of the series ages ago. I read book 1, The Fire Within, and thought it was so-so. I still had the two books that followed and I wasn't too eager to read them. Some years go by and I figured I'd plow through those two books and put them on the discard heap. I did that. They weren't much to my liking either.
The Books Of Umber 1 Happenstance Found by PW Catanese was highly entertaining. PW is the author of several books that retell fairy tales. The Eye of the Warlock, The Thief and the Beanstalk, The Mirror’s Tale and The Riddle of the Gnome were all pretty entertaining. I didn't have a copy of The Brave Apprentice so I just ordered one. Since I liked those so much I had hopes that this new original story would be fun or interesting to read. It was. Happenstance is a young teen who wakes up in a strange place without any memory of what happened to him before he woke up. Along with Hap we learn about the world he now inhabits, the magical powers that he has and the problems that he faces. Along with Hap's shitload of problems there are plenty of characters to meet, some of whom are helpful, some of whom are not. There's plenty of interesting places to go and stuff to hear about once you get there. There are some good amount of danger and people die pretty regularly. The world is kind of medieval and the man who rescued Hap at the start of the book is leading a cultural and industrial revolution with his new ideas in engineering, music and metallurgy. Turns out he's not from around there. It moved briskly and I was glad to read it. I read the 2nd book in February and have been waiting for the third book to show up used. It hasn't so I bit the bullet and ordered a new copy over at Amazon. The paperback was only $6.29 and that and the copy of The Brave Apprentice and a dvd put me over the $25 limit for free shipping. It'll get put on the top of the reading list when it arrives, it I can reach the top, it's getting pretty high.