Thrift Store – Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

TS Fantasy Challenge 1 WM

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When the kids and I were at the thrift store about a week ago, I had the bright idea to do a reading challenge based on the books I found there.  I went for both a fantasy challenge and a sci-fi challenge (which I will document later).  It seems like thrift stores carry a good number of fantasy and sci-fi titles, some of them being unique finds.

Based on my made-up rules, I could only choose novels from the adult section, and they could only be from a series if they were the first.  It wouldn’t make much sense to read book #2 in a four-part series, if I hadn’t already read the first book.  Picking the books out took longer than I anticipated because there were so many that were part of a series.

In the end, I came up with the stack you see above.  I don’t know what to expect of these books, but I’m optimistic about a couple of them.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles and what you thought of them.  Later!

READING LIST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

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The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper

Dark is Rising-w

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What can I say about The Dark is Rising? I like it.  It’s good.  Read it.  Nah, just kidding.  If you don’t want to know any details before reading the book, stop reading now.

For reals now, this book is a sweeping tale essentially about the fight between light and dark, good and evil.  Really that’s it in a nutshell.  More specifically it’s an Arthurian tale of magic and destiny, history and man’s free choice.  The main players are Will, the last of the Old Ones; Merriman, or Merlin; the Drew children–Simon, Jane and Barney; The Rider; Bran, Arthur’s son; and many other characters, both good and bad.  The storyline is very broad and difficult to condense into a shortened form without sounding a bit like the recitation of a boring timeline.  I’ll try to sum it up in short order, at least telling how the characters relate to one another.

The Old Ones are charged with promoting the cause of the Light (good), and pushing back the Dark (evil) when it rises, to make sure the Dark doesn’t become a dominant force.  Will is the last of the Old Ones to be born, and it is up to him to complete a quest to find the magical items needed to permanently vanquish the Dark.  The Drew children are instrumental in helping complete the quest.  Merriman helps guide Will in his various tasks.  The Rider is their main foe, though many others work with him to hinder the cause of the Light.  I don’t want to say a lot about the storyline itself, because if you’ve never read it, it’s nice to make discoveries of your own.

The Dark is Rising can be firmly classified as fantasy, but it’s what I think of as old-school fantasy.  Instead of a vastly different universe housing totally foreign people and places, the story takes place on the good old planet earth that you’re sitting on right now.  It’s fantasy very much rooted in reality.  The first two books, Over Sea, Under Stone and The Dark is Rising, are my favorites.  Greenwitch gets a little stranger, and the last two books, The Grey King and Silver on the Tree are really out-there.  It can be difficult to follow the last two books because of the sheer amount of imagery that is not rooted in reality.  Your imagination really gets a work-out.

So, I do recommend the books.  They’re entertaining, the characters are interesting, the plot has plenty of twists and turns, and the writing is well done.  Also, if you have kids, they would be  great read-aloud books to share with them.

There are some scary parts, but I don’t think it’s too scary for elementary-age kids.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER DARK IS RISING POSTS:

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

Light Fantastic

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The Light Fantastic is the sequel to The Color of Magic, which I reviewed earlier.  This book picks up the story where the previous book left off, in the middle of the adventures of Rincewind (a wizard) and Twoflower (a wealthy tourist).  There are some new characters in this book, who add a bit of fun to the story.  Cohen, the aging hero, is quite entertaining.  I’ve also come to admire the Luggage much more, as his loyalty to his owner continues on through the story.

The story basically boils down to Rincewind and Twoflower going on an epic adventure, though one man is trying to keep from dying, while the other thinks it is the best vacation he’s ever been on.  A strong parallel story is the jockeying of wizards for positions of power, which enters into the spotlight more at the very end.

I certainly enjoyed the book and have had fun getting to the know the characters better.  Like the previous book, the action and characters are all over the place.  It can get a little confusing, but I still think the overall story is charming.  (My husband tells me that the Discworld really starts to come into clearer focus around the third or fourth book.)

So…will you give it a go?  Have you already read it?  If so, what did you think?

Possible Objections:

  1. Some rude language.
  2. Several references to things of a sexual nature.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE LIGHT FANTASTIC POSTS:

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic 1This post contains an affiliate link.

Let me just start out by saying that my husband and I are both Terry Pratchett fans.  I know that his books are not everyone’s cup of tea.  It really takes a certain type of person to appreciate his books.  You have to appreciate English humor, especially its subtlety.  You should be a fan of fantasy literature, and it helps if you’re a bit of a geek.  If you fit those requirements, I highly recommend his writing to you.

The Color of Magic is the first in the Discworld series of books about a fantasy land and a wide cast of unique inhabitants.  This land isn’t really restricted by things like gravity, probability, absolutes of time and space, etc.  It’s a fantasy world that does not take itself seriously and which can change in the blink of an eye.

Since this is the first book in the series, you should expect it to be less polished than later books.  While I did enjoy it immensely, I can see how the story doesn’t flow quite as smoothly as others that I’ve read.  The plot seems somewhat disjointed and the sheer number of characters and places introduced can be bewildering, as well.

If you’re a Pratchett fan, read the book anyway.  If you want to be a Pratchett fan–read it.  If you want to follow the advice of a total stranger–read it.

Let me know what you thought of the book!

Possible Objections:

  1. Lots of violence–it’s how many issues are solved.
  2. There are plenty of allusions to things of a sexual nature.
  3. One kingdom is full of barely clothed people.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE COLOR OF MAGIC POSTS: