Hines - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Libriomancer
(The Magic Ex Libris series, Book 1)
Jim C. Hines
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****+

DESCRIPTION: Isaac Vainio loves books... perhaps too much for his own good. As a libriomancer, he can reach into stories and pull out any item that can fit through the pages, from ray guns to magic swords to his pet fire-spider, Smudge. He used to be a field operative with the Porters, a secret society founded by Johannes Gutenberg himself (still alive thanks to a conjured Holy Grail), helping protect the world from supernatural beings and less ethical magic workers, until a botched assignment led him to lose control. Pulled from active duty, he now lives in a quiet Michigan town as a librarian, cataloging new books for the Porter databases and trying to forget the power and temptation of his now-forbidden gifts.
When he's attacked at work by vampires, Isaac is forced back into libriomancy - first to save his life, then to save the world. Someone's been inflaming tensions between supernatural beings and the Porters, unleashing powers neither side has seen before. With the help of the dryad Lena and the ever-faithful (if often-incendiary) Smudge, Isaac sets out to find the culprit... and finds himself up against an enemy so powerful that even Gutenberg himself is helpless against it.

REVIEW: This is a case of a great concept with a good story. Libriomancy would be a dream come true for anyone (like me) who has ever loved a story to life in their minds. It comes with limitations and costs - living beings often go mad if extracted into the real world, and libriomancers risk insanity and other complications if they overuse their gifts - to keep it in check, but it's still one of the coolest ideas I've read in a while. The dark side of this power is seen in the proliferation of vampires, werewolves, and other popular fictional beasts; untrained libriomancers can infect themselves by reaching into a book and being bitten, and as authors create stronger and more resilient monsters, without the traditional weaknesses, the Porters' job of keeping them concealed becomes all the more difficult. A magic system like this raises all sorts of questions, questions which Isaac himself often longs to answer, but it feels solid enough to support a story... even a story as frenetic and occasionally confusing as this one. It moves fast, occasionally too fast, throwing plenty of names and lots of action at the reader in a near-constant volley. There's relatively little down time to absorb it all. It builds to a great climax, then ends on an iffy note, as it's the first book of a series of unknown length. A good story on its own, the extra half-mark comes entirely from my adoration of the concept of libriomancy. Overall, it's a fun, often witty romp of a tale. (I also enjoyed revisiting Smudge, from Hines's Jig the Dragonslayer series.)

You might also enjoy:
Dream a Little Dream (Piers Anthony and Julie Brady, Fiction - When a world created by human dreams is in trouble, one of their own must travel to the real world)
The Journey trilogy (Aaron Becker, YA Picture Book - A girl's magic red pen allows her to enter and explore a world of wonders)
Invisible Prison (Mary Buckham, Fiction - A half-shaman/half witch woman is recruited for a secret government agency)
Storybound (Marissa Burt, YA Fiction - A girl falls into the world of Story)
Ink and Bone (Rachel Caine, YA Fiction - In an alternate near-future, a son of book thieves applies to join the Great Library that controls the global flow of information)
The Inkheart trilogy (Cornelia Funke, YA Fiction - A bookbinder and his daughter share the ability to read characters out of storybooks)
The Tales of Jig the Dragonslayer (Jim C. Hines, Fiction - A cowardly goblin inadvertently survives adventures)
Librarian: Little Boy Lost (Eric Hobbs, YA Fiction - A bookish boy discovers secrets and dangers in a mysterious library)
Teller (Chris Howard, YA Fiction - A teen boy learns he can manipulate reality with stories and paintings)
The Quill Pen (Michelle Isenhoff, YA Fiction - Oppressed by his strict father, a boy in elder-day New England discovers a magical quill pen that may write him a new future)
The Book of Story Beginnings (Kristin Kladstrup, YA Fiction - Writing stories in a special journal makes them come to life, for good or ill)
Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria (Rahma Krambo, YA Fiction - A housecat must help defend a powerful book from evil forces)
The Takers (R. W. Ridley, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old wakes from a fever to find that invisible monsters, escaped from a dead boy's comic book, have devastated the world)
Guardians Inc.: The Cypher (Julian Rosado-Machain, YA Fiction - Able to understand any written language, a boy is recruited by a secret organization to help save the world)
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Brandon Sanderson, YA Fiction - A boy discovers that the true nature of the world has been kept hidden by an insidious cult of evil librarians)
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Dan Santat, YA Picture Book - Tired of waiting for his human child to claim him, an imaginary friend heads for the real world)
Endymion Spring (Matthew Skelton, YA Fiction - An American boy in Oxford discovers a mysterious old book with ties to a dark cult and the roots of history)
The Forbidden Library (Django Wexler, YA Fiction - A girl finds dangers, wonders, and her own magic in a library of magical books)

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Goblin Quest
(The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer, Book 1)
Jim C. Hines
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****+

DESCRIPTION: Scrawny, selfish, craven, and primitive, tunnel-dwelling goblins are such an insignificant race that not even one of the myriad gods of the realm bothers watching over them. They are picked on and preyed upon by their nastier hobgoblin cousins and by countless parties of treasure-seeking adventurers from the surface world. Any goblin who lives long enough to take a few humans down with them is considered a hero, but of course all heroes get killed just as dead as their less-brave kin, so what good is heroism in the end?
Nearsighted Jig is clever for a goblin, but even among his own people he's considered a cowardly runt. His only friend is his pet fire-spider, Smudge, who ignites when panicked. When he gets bullied into guard duty, it's just his bad luck that he gets captured by a team of adventurers. The arrogant human prince Barius, his wizard brother Ryslind, their dwarf companion Darnak, and the young elfin thief Riana seek the Rod of Creation. A legendary artifact of unimaginable power, a great wizard created it long ago and hid it in the deepest and most dangerous of tunnels... beyond the lake of poisonous lizard-fish, just past the requisite Necromancer, and in the talons of a foul-tempered dragon, naturally. They force Jig to act as their guide, though he has even less of an idea of where to find the Rod than any of the bickering questors - not that they bother listening to him, of course, as it would be beneath them to listen to a lowly goblin. It isn't long before Jig's bad luck lands them all in trouble... though the biggest threat of all may turn out to be within their own party. Jig may never have wanted to be a brave adventurer, but it looks like he has no choice - at least, not if he wants to survive long enough to go back to his old life as a cowardly runt.

REVIEW: Humorous fantasy books walk an even finer line than straight-up fantasies, for much the same reason that humorous movies walk a finer line than serious ones: you can't laugh at an unfunny joke. A bad serious story, you can roll your eyes at and mock, but a bad funny one deprives you of even that luxury - it just lies there, dead, on the screen or on the page. Thus, it was with some hesitation that I picked up Goblin Quest... but I thought I could use a change of pace, and it was on sale. (And a relative bought it, which always helps.) I was very pleasantly surprised. Goblins, often little more than a mild annoyance to adventurers or an easy level-up opportunity to gamers, get their due with Jig, the unlikely hero who nevertheless decides that traditional heroism is highly overrated, not to mention more than a little suicidal and occasionally outright stupid. He grows during his adventure in interesting ways, learning to see the weaknesses of goblinkind but never wholeheartedly embracing the supposed superiority of other races. The questors turn out to be more than cardboard cutout RPG-class characters, each in their own way at least as selfish as goblins in their willingness to sacrifice everything for their own personal gain. The humor isn't heavy-handed slapstick or low-brow body part jokes, playing off the cliches of the genre while still presenting a nice, unpredictable adventure. The ending wraps things up in a way I didn't expect, yet which felt eminently satisfying. I enjoyed reading this one much more than I'd expected; hopefully, I can track down the next book.

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - The irreverent adventures of Arthur Dent, who survives Earth's destruction by hitching a ride with an alien friend)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of an old sci-fi series meets aliens who believe it was all real)
Confessions of a Gourmand, or How to Cook a Dragon (Tom Bruno, Fiction - Raised in his mother's kitchen, a boy's culinary curiosity leads him into adventures in a dangerous fantastic world)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Emperor's Edge (Lindsay Buroker, Fiction - In a steampunk empire, a female enforcer officer finds herself caught up in a conspiracy against the emperor)
Storybound (Marissa Burt, YA Fiction - A girl falls into the world of Story)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
The Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer, YA Fiction - A boy genius and criminal mastermind pits his wits against the entire Faerie nation)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Last Dragonslayer (Jasper Fforde - The prophecised slayer of the last dragon in the Ununited Kingdoms may be a foundling girl)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A magical world is forced to entertain offworld tourists with reconstructed fantasy epic adventures)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tourist's guide to epic fantasy)
The Divide (Elizabeth Kay, YA Fiction - A sickly boy accidentally falls into a world where magic is real and humans are myths)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Heroine Addiction (Jennifer Matarese, Fiction - Five years after leaving the family superhero business behind, a resentful woman must find her missing father)
The Magic 2.0 series (Scott Meyer, Fiction - After meddling with the data file controlling reality, a modern hacker flees to medieval England to play wizard)
The Accidental Sorcerer (K. E. Mills, Fiction - A lowly third-level mage, disgraced in his homeland, discovers untapped powers in the service of an ambitious king)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - Armed with a handbook of practical heroics, a prince sets out to foil an evil warlord)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog spell, but demands a better-looking husband out of the deal)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch, YA Fiction - A princess sets out to rescue her boyfriend, abducted by a dragon)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - A magicless wizard must act as a guide for Discworld's first tourist)
Small Gods (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - An unpromising novice becomes the reluctant prophet for a god whose church has run amok in His name)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
The Bartimaeus trilogy (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - A humiliated apprentice summons a djinni for vengeance, but learns he's in for more than he bargained for)
Heroes of the Valley (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - Raised on tales of his heroic ancestor, a boy attempts to avenge his uncle with disastrous results)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
Princeless (Jeremy Whitley, YA Comic - In a fairy tale world, Princess Adrienne refuses to sit around waiting to be rescued and married off)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a headstrong girl runs away to live with dragons)

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Goblin Hero
(The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer, Book 2)
Jim C. Hines
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****+

DESCRIPTION: Goblin. Hero. The two words are almost never found in the same sentence (unless the sentence is "Look how easily the hero killed that goblin!"), let alone in the description of one person. Jig Dragonslayer, however, is no ordinary goblin. Abducted by a band of adventurers on a quest to the very heart of the mountain and the deepest of tunnels, he alone returned to tell the tale. He even picked up a new friend along the way, the forgotten god Tymalous Shadowstar. But while heroism may be a virtue in many races, among goblins it's a virtual death sentence. They won't hesitate to stab their best friend in the back if they think they can get away with it. Never mind that Jig insists he's not really the brave hero everyone thinks he is; the more popular a goblin is, the more potential assassins there are, and there isn't a goblin, hobgoblin, or ogre in the tunnels who hasn't heard the name of Jig Dragonslayer.
One day, an ogre comes to the goblin lair - not to wreak havoc and snack on goblin-kebabs, but to seek the hero of the mountain to help him and his people. Since the death of the Necromancer and the mighty dragon Straum, something sinister has been afoot in the tunnels, something that has even the massive ogres running in fear for their lives. The current chief Kralk sets the resident reluctant hero up for almost-certain death by insisting he accept the challenge. To further seal his fate, Kralk sends along two less-than-useless companions: Grell, the bent old nursery hag who would do anything to never have to clean a diaper again, and Braf, a musclebound brute who once managed to lodge his own fang in his nostril. As if that weren't bad enough, Jig is followed into the depths by Veka, the only goblin who actually envies Jig his heroic adventures. She once found a wizard's spellbook and a book, The Path of the Hero, and after obsessively reading both is convinced that she is destined for Greatness herself. After all, if someone as useless as Jig can become a hero, anyone can.

REVIEW: Another fun outing starring the cowardly hero Jig, I enjoyed it nearly as much as I enjoyed the first book. The goblins come across as both pathetic in their self-defeating, short-sighted habits and oddly admirable in their tenacity and the lengths to which they'll go to get what they want - even if what they want is merely to survive for a few more minutes. Jig continues to grow, and while he never embraces the role destiny (and his sometimes-tricky god, who may well have been forgotten for a good reason by the rest of the world's races) has set for him, he nonetheless figures out that hiding away from problems in time-honored goblin fashion may well doom his people and the other races of the tunnels to extinction. I found Veka annoying for much of the story, though she, too, finds that she has much more to learn about true heroism than her little book can possibly tell her. Once again, Hines pulls off a satisfying ending with a somewhat unexpected conclusion. As implied by the final pages here, there is a third book out; I expect I'll read it as soon as time and budget allow.

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - The irreverent adventures of Arthur Dent, who survives Earth's destruction by hitching a ride with an alien friend)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of an old sci-fi series meets aliens who believe it was all real)
Confessions of a Gourmand, or How to Cook a Dragon (Tom Bruno, Fiction - Raised in his mother's kitchen, a boy's culinary curiosity leads him into adventures in a dangerous fantastic world)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Emperor's Edge (Lindsay Buroker, Fiction - In a steampunk empire, a female enforcer officer finds herself caught up in a conspiracy against the emperor)
Storybound (Marissa Burt, YA Fiction - A girl falls into the world of Story)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
The Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer, YA Fiction - A boy genius and criminal mastermind pits his wits against the entire Faerie nation)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Last Dragonslayer (Jasper Fforde - The prophecised slayer of the last dragon in the Ununited Kingdoms may be a foundling girl)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A magical world is forced to entertain offworld tourists with reconstructed fantasy epic adventures)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tourist's guide to epic fantasy)
The Divide (Elizabeth Kay, YA Fiction - A sickly boy accidentally falls into a world where magic is real and humans are myths)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Heroine Addiction (Jennifer Matarese, Fiction - Five years after leaving the family superhero business behind, a resentful woman must find her missing father)
The Magic 2.0 series (Scott Meyer, Fiction - After meddling with the data file controlling reality, a modern hacker flees to medieval England to play wizard)
The Accidental Sorcerer (K. E. Mills, Fiction - A lowly third-level mage, disgraced in his homeland, discovers untapped powers in the service of an ambitious king)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - Armed with a handbook of practical heroics, a prince sets out to foil an evil warlord)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog spell, but demands a better-looking husband out of the deal)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch, YA Fiction - A princess sets out to rescue her boyfriend, abducted by a dragon)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - A magicless wizard must act as a guide for Discworld's first tourist)
Small Gods (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - An unpromising novice becomes the reluctant prophet for a god whose church has run amok in His name)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
The Bartimaeus trilogy (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - A humiliated apprentice summons a djinni for vengeance, but learns he's in for more than he bargained for)
Heroes of the Valley (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - Raised on tales of his heroic ancestor, a boy attempts to avenge his uncle with disastrous results)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
Princeless (Jeremy Whitley, YA Comic - In a fairy tale world, Princess Adrienne refuses to sit around waiting to be rescued and married off)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a headstrong girl runs away to live with dragons)

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Goblin War
(The Tales of Jig Dragonslayer, Book 3)
Jim C. Hines
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****

DESCRIPTION: Necromancer, dragon, pixie invasion, and a brief stint as the chief of the goblin lair... the cowardly, nearsighted goblin Jig has been through a rough few years. Somehow, he's managed to survive, and even earn some respect from his fellow goblins - who still, naturally, would stab him in the back to swipe his boots, though at least they haven't tried killing him for a while. He's starting to think he just might live to a relatively old age, despite the burden of being a hero.
When humans raid the goblin lair in search of the powerful Rod of Creation, Jig's future suddenly looks a little less certain. Taken as a captive by the princess Genevieve, he and several of his fellow goblins find themselves far, far away from their mountain tunnels and deep into human lands. Not only do the humans tend to want to murder his species on sight, but word has spread of an army of monsters on the march, making for the very city where Jig has been taken. He wants nothing to do with armies or wars or anything but escaping, but his god, the forgotten Tymalous Shadowstar, insists that Jig stay in the center of action. For the coming battle may be about more than a clash of mortal forces. It may mean the difference between survival and extermination - for goblins, humans, monsters, and even the gods themselves.

REVIEW: I actually came close to shaving a half-star off the rating. While Jig's adventures continue to be fun and unpredictable, his chief sidekicks - the warrior Trok and the blindly devotional Relka - feel like lightly redressed versions of his co-stars from the previous book. Unlike Veka, her Book 2 counterpart, however, Relka never does clue in, grow up, and bring more to the story than being an annoying, sometimes interfering follower. Most everyone else shows the extra dimensions I've come to expect from Hines. I especially enjoyed how Tymalous Shadowstar came to the forefront as more than a voice in Jig's head; in some ways, this book is more about him than about Jig. Overall, the story reads like a finale, though a few loose threads from this book and previous ones could form the core of future stories. A good, fast-moving yarn, despite a few bumps and blemishes, that makes for a satisfying conclusion to Jig's harrowing, heroic adventures.

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - The irreverent adventures of Arthur Dent, who survives Earth's destruction by hitching a ride with an alien friend)
Galaxy Quest (Terry Bisson, Fiction - The washed-up cast of an old sci-fi series meets aliens who believe it was all real)
Confessions of a Gourmand, or How to Cook a Dragon (Tom Bruno, Fiction - Raised in his mother's kitchen, a boy's culinary curiosity leads him into adventures in a dangerous fantastic world)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective works with his somewhat sarcastic dragonlike familiar)
The Emperor's Edge (Lindsay Buroker, Fiction - In a steampunk empire, a female enforcer officer finds herself caught up in a conspiracy against the emperor)
Storybound (Marissa Burt, YA Fiction - A girl falls into the world of Story)
Bad Unicorn (Platte F. Clarke, YA Fiction - A pudgy middle-school boy is the last blood descendant of a powerful wizard, meaning the fate of three worlds is in his hands)
The Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer, YA Fiction - A boy genius and criminal mastermind pits his wits against the entire Faerie nation)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Last Dragonslayer (Jasper Fforde - The prophecised slayer of the last dragon in the Ununited Kingdoms may be a foundling girl)
The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang, Fiction - On the chaotic world of Bish, the barbarian hero Venir fights evil underlings)
Monster on the Hill (Rob Harrell, YA Comic - A professor and a street urchin must help the local monster live up to his title)
Fairy Quest: Outcasts (Paul Jenkins, YA Comic - In the fairy-tale realm of Fablewood, forbidden friends Red and Woof must escape the totalitarian rule of Mister Grimm)
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A magical world is forced to entertain offworld tourists with reconstructed fantasy epic adventures)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones, Fiction - A tourist's guide to epic fantasy)
The Divide (Elizabeth Kay, YA Fiction - A sickly boy accidentally falls into a world where magic is real and humans are myths)
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - When her brave older sister falls deathly ill, a fearful princess must set forth on a dangerous quest to find a cure)
My Sparkling Misfortune (Laura Lond and Alla Alekseyeva, YA Fiction - Seeking vengeance against a prince, a villainous lord finds himself stuck with a do-gooder spirit helper)
Heroine Addiction (Jennifer Matarese, Fiction - Five years after leaving the family superhero business behind, a resentful woman must find her missing father)
The Magic 2.0 series (Scott Meyer, Fiction - After meddling with the data file controlling reality, a modern hacker flees to medieval England to play wizard)
The Accidental Sorcerer (K. E. Mills, Fiction - A lowly third-level mage, disgraced in his homeland, discovers untapped powers in the service of an ambitious king)
A Fate Worse than Dragons (John Moore, Fiction - A princess and her beloved knight scheme for a way to him to earn her hand in marriage, plans that go terribly awry)
Heroics for Beginners (John Moore, Fiction - Armed with a handbook of practical heroics, a prince sets out to foil an evil warlord)
The Unhandsome Prince (John Moore, Fiction - A determined girl frees a homely prince from a frog spell, but demands a better-looking husband out of the deal)
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch, YA Fiction - A princess sets out to rescue her boyfriend, abducted by a dragon)
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley, YA Picture Book - A boy and a girl write a fairy tale together, with peculiar results)
The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - A magicless wizard must act as a guide for Discworld's first tourist)
Small Gods (Terry Pratchett, Fiction - An unpromising novice becomes the reluctant prophet for a god whose church has run amok in His name)
The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett, YA Fiction - In a backwater of Discworld, young would-be witch Tiffany Aching faces an otherworldly threat)
The Princess and the Firedrake (Jim Stinson, YA Fiction - Cursed by being too clever, a banished princess must save her kingdom from an angry dragon)
The Bartimaeus trilogy (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - A humiliated apprentice summons a djinni for vengeance, but learns he's in for more than he bargained for)
Heroes of the Valley (Jonathan Stroud, YA Fiction - Raised on tales of his heroic ancestor, a boy attempts to avenge his uncle with disastrous results)
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White, YA Fiction - A 13-year-old orphan becomes part of a Rightful Heir quest that could save or destroy her magical world)
Princeless (Jeremy Whitley, YA Comic - In a fairy tale world, Princess Adrienne refuses to sit around waiting to be rescued and married off)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a headstrong girl runs away to live with dragons)

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