Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New fantasy books at BEA

Here are some of the new and forthcoming fantasy books that looked interesting or noteworthy at BEA:

  • Endymion Spring has all the makings of a successful book: a story that looks intriguing and unique, and a marketing campaign designed to pique curiosity. At BEA, Random House gave out a pamphlet, locked with the book's signature entwined snakes, and containing a golden key with a ribbon reading, "Unlock the Secret." A web site, will gradually reveal more information about the books; currently all sections but the first one are locked. The story does look interesting: a tale of fantasy, mystery and magic that ties in to the invention of movable type printing. Endymion Spring will be available August 22. Keep your eyes on this one!

  • Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson made a splash last year with their Peter Pan prequel, Peter and the Starcatchers. This year, they introduce Peter and the Shadow Thieves, a sequel to the prequel. They have also begun a new series for slightly younger readers which ties in to the Peter Pan stories. The first book, Escape from the Carnivale, will be published in October.

  • The Looking Glass Wars is an alternate version of Alice in Wonderland. Alyss Heart, deposed heir to the Wonderland throne, trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth but he got it wrong.

  • The Snow Spider is the first book in The Magician Trilogy, by Jenny Nimmo, author of the Children of the Red King (Charlie Bone) series. The Snow Spider was first published in 1986 and has been out of print for five years. It's shorter than the Charlie Bone books and looks appropriate for a slightly younger (ages 8—12) audience.

  • The Floating Island (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme), by Elizabeth Haydon and due out in August, looks to be a fantasy adventure structured around the supposed fragments of a lost journal. The book includes illustrations by Brett Helquist, who is most well-known as the illustrator of the Series of Unfortunate Events.


Michele said...

"a sequel to the prequel" - is that known as a post-prequel sequel, then ?

(Sorry, I'll get my coat...)

On a more serious note, I cannot praise Endymion Spring too highly. It's such a gripping book and I love the way the narrative moves between 14th century Maine and 21st century Oxford !

Unknown said...

I thought the idea of a sequel to the prequel was pretty funny, too. Maybe it should be a tween-quel? Bleck! Forget it! Too hard to say it.

I'm glad to hear that Endymion Spring is as good as it looks. My son has already finished it and recommends it also. I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

My experience couldn't be more different. Our summer reading program participants HATED Endymion Spring. They found the writing patronizing and thought that the author "worked way too hard" [their words] to make Blake likable. I have to agree. While I found parts of it interesting, on the whole I felt as they did, that it was overhyped and relied too heavily on tropes established by Dan Brown and Phillip Pullman, while suffering completely by the constant self-invoked comparisons because it has none of the excitement of the one and none of the charm of the other. The website, while cool, mirrors the book in being overly complicated. They went as far as the media room, listened to the dull narration by the author, and ditched the site.

On the other hand, they loved several of the other ARCs I came back from BEA with. PETER AND THE SHADOW THIEVES was a big hit with most of the participants who got to read it. The big sleeper was Elizabeth Haydon's THE FLOATING ISLAND. That book has the longest waiting list due to word of mouth. It may not have the zazz of some of the other offerings, but its literary qualtiy, charm and intelligence are undeniable, and seem to have hooked readers of all ages, including our head librarian, who claims to hate fantasy.

I predict Endymion Spring will do well out of the gate, but on the whole it does not have the steam in our setting, nor does it seem to be doing well in our partner programs in 7 states.

Unknown said...

That's interesting, Carol. My son and I both loved the book, and I lent it to a preteen who loved it so much she lent it to someone who loved it so much she lent it to someone else, and I'm now trying to track down the book so that I can borrow it back to review it.

It's interesting how different people react so differently to the same book. I do agree with you about hype and the website being overblown.

Thanks for the tip about The Floating Island. I haven't read it yet, so I'll be sure to put it on my TBR pile!

Anonymous said...

My pleasure! I think you are absolutely right about the variations in opinion in reading, which is what makes your site and others like it great. We try to track what kids are saying in our partner groups of libraries because it's interesting to see if books have regional appeal, as they often do, or if they are universal. I think that's what makes Harry Potter so unique. In spite of its being an English boarding school story usually favored by northeastern American readers, it has managed to cross the class and regional barriers and become universal. I have the same sense this is possible for Floating Island, which Mysterious Galaxy and others are comparing to Harry Potter [but then, what YA fantasy ISN'T compared to HP?] What I liked best about it was the messages woven artlessly through it. The hero bucks the traditional orphan role, there is a celebration of race and uniqueness and finding one's own path, while still having the extraordinarily rare strong family unit and many positive parental models. That plus it's very funny and the characters are great. Your mileage my vary--hope you like it.

Unknown said...

Sounds great! You've convinced me.