Gateway to Fourline – Pam Brondos

b00wl6qgig-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_Natalie’s in college, struggling to make ends meet, and make her tuition payments, while also sending money home to help her family. When she’s offered a job by one of the theater professors, it seems like a dream come true – a steady job that can pay her tuition.

It turns out that the professor is one of a band of protectors of the king in another dimension that somehow found their way into our world. The king is in danger, and had to flee. They can all be tracked, so they’ve been looking for someone that can take care of themselves to make contact with their supporters in their homeworld, and let them know the king is still alive.

This is pretty much your standard young person gets thrust into a pretty tough situation and grows into it admirably kind of story. It’s not bad, but I’ve definitely read better. And it ends on a really annoying cliffhanger.

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Sweep in Peace- Ilona Andrews

0ab0c6eb66b87c1597559316c67434f414f4141In the second book of the Innkeeper Chronicles series, Dina’s had an offer to host a peace summit between three warring factions at her inn. It’s immediately clear that everyone else has turned them down, because this is the most unlikely peace summit in some time. But the Gertrude Hunt is still fairly new, and Dina very badly needs the good reviews and money the summit will take in, so she agrees. Naturally, things head south pretty quickly.

I’m really enjoying this series. Space aliens hiding in plain sight on Earth makes for some good reading. The inn manages to acquire a cook for the duration of the summit, who is a hoot (and will thankfully be sticking around). And Dina’s one permanent guest, a former megalomaniacal dictator, still wanted throughout the galaxy, is also a lot of fun. I also really like how they’re treating what I assume will be the love story – the love interest is off living his life in this book, and Dina has to deal with it.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

Seaward – Susan Cooper

3c5615fcb98bccd5979494d6177434f414f4141Here’s another reread. This story is somewhat based on Celtic mythology, but draws in two young people from the “real” world. Westerly and Cally have both lost their parents, and in their grief are both drawn into another world where they met Lugan and Taranis – who both have extraordinary powers. They both know that they must reach the sea, and that their parents may be there, but Taranis will do all that she can to prevent them. They must find their way together.

This is a very sweet story – it was published in 1983, so predates the current YA craze, and it’s therefore a lot shorter than you might expect if you came up reading those books. It ages beautifully – the parts of the world that West and Cally come from are recognizable, but not sketched in such a way that they’re limited to any one time.

Kingfisher – Patricia A. McKillip

f4411df9c26de9d596f59686c774141414d6741This story is set in a kingdom with such modern devices as cars and cellphones, but where magic is alive, and religion is still very much a force in the kingdom.

Pierce is a young man who grew up in Cape Misbegotten – far from the capital of Severluna. He’s always known his mother was a sorceress, but when several knights stumble onto the Cape, he learns that she fled there away from his father, who is himself a knight, and that she left his brother behind. He sets out to find them.

Along the way, he stops at Chimera Bay, where a ritual is enacted every night at the Kingfisher Inn, but it’s clear that something is not right there. Carrie is one of the townsfolk working at the Inn, and she’s trying to figure out what’s wrong in the bay.

And finally, Prince Diamon, the illegitimate son of the king, has finally learned about his mother, at the same time that he’s fallen in love, and these women will play an important role in the action of the story.

This book is all about how the stories of these three people intersect – it’s hard to map out quickly. It’s very typical McKillip, where she throws you right into the middle of a story, and wraps it up neatly for you by the end.

The Grey King – Susan Cooper

9ab96bcea8ef90659316f2b5477434f414f4141I can’t reread The Dark is Rising without also rereading The Grey King. The other books in the series I have to be more in the mood for, but The Grey King to me is totally linked to The Dark is Rising. It’s actually the first book I read in this series (back in the days when you had to track down hard copies of books, and there was no internet to aid your search).

I can’t tell you what it is about this book that I love so much – it might be the atmospheric descriptions of Snowdonia in Wales, or the way that Cooper seamlessly integrates ancient magic into the modern day (and though this was published more than forty years ago, it has a very timeless quality to it – sure, the kids would have cell phones today, but you don’t miss them).

This book was a Newbury Medal winner, and very rightfully so.

 

The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper

5e8e488ea2799085979436a5467434f414f4141Since I’ve been on a rereading binge this year, I had to bring out The Dark is Rising. Set during the twelve days of Christmas, it’s how eleven-year old Will Stanton discovers that he is an Old One – the guardians of the Light, and his first quest as an Old One – to gain the six Signs of power.

This story still completely holds up – though it was written in the 70s, it’s a perfectly recognizable modern day family story, until the ancient British myths and legends surrounding the Old Ones and their power are brought into the tale. I highly recommend this book to any young adult fantasy lover – it’s a classic of the genre.

Jack of Kinrowan – Charles de Lint

2f9dfb367916f5859376e425851434f414f4141Jacky Rowan’s just been dumped by her boyfriend, and goes out for an uncharacteristically wild night to compensate. On this night, she manages to stumble into the path of the Wild Hunt, leading her into the doorway to Faerie, where she’s hailed as the Jack of Kinrowan – a hero who can bring down the local Seelie Court’s enemies. This is an omnibus of two books – in the first book, it’s Unseelie giants. In the second, it’s a rogue sorcerer bent on stealing all of the power the Faerie get from the Moon.

These books are set in Ottawa, so not Newford (though there are a few Newford references sprinkled here and there). Like some of the other not-Newford books I’ve read, I don’t like them quite as much. They’re not terrible, I just like Newford better.