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Filled with magic, necromancy, ‘zombies’, a talking cat, and a teenage girl having to save her father and well, the world.  This is a wonderful adventure and the beginning of the Abhorsen trilogy, although Sabriel can be read as a standalone novel.  Perfect for young and old readers, this has been one of our staffer’s favorites for over a decade.

“Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.”–Taken from Goodreads.com

Game of Thrones fans will love the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series. Sabriel, the first installment in the trilogy, launched critically acclaimed author Garth Nix onto the fantasy scene as a rising star.

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny. . . .”–Taken from Amazon.com

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This week’s staff pick is weird but really good (reportedly).   Hawkins has been repeatedly hailed as a cross between Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill, and the genre-bending The Library at Mount Char definitely reflects that.    This is a novel where you won’t know what’s going on immediately, but it’s an excellent ride into the unknown.  Part horror, part sci fi, part fantasy, and part mystery as we don’t know what’s going on and are trying to piece it all together, The Library at Mount Char is a darkly funny horrific fantasy that will leave you wanting more from Scott Hawkins.

“Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.” — Taken from Goodreads.com


The Library at Mount Char

Scott Hawkins

Published: Jun 16, 2015 by Crown
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This week’s staff pick is the debut from author Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes.  Our staffer found it powerful, harsh, and multifaceted.  On the surface, they said it seems like ‘one of those’ fantasy novels, but it quickly sucked them in, and they really enjoyed it.  The first in a series, we highly recommend An Ember in the Ashes, for both teens and adults.

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”–Taken from Goodreads.com


An Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir

Published: Apr 28, 2015 by Razorbill
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This week’s staff pick has been making the rounds around the staff, and everyone who’s picked it up has loved it.  This is a building-wide staff pick, and in November it’ll be a movie starring Matt Damon.    The premise is that an astronaut finds himself stranded on Mars, with no rescue in sight for years.   Compulsively readable, Mark Watney is funny, determined, and brilliant.  You’ll be rooting for him from page 1.   This is a fast read (you won’t want to put it down), and every staff member who’s read this encourages you to go pick this up and read it now.   Like, right now.  Hurry up and place your hold!

It should be noted that there is a lot of science in the book (there would have to be to survive), but it’s broken down into easily understood language, and doesn’t slow down the plot.  A couple engineers have read this, and say it checks out.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”–Taken from Goodreads.com 


The Martian: A Novel

Andy Weir

Published: Feb 11, 2014 by Crown
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9781410469571

The Martian

Andy Weir

Published: Jul 09, 2014 by Thorndike Press
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This week’s staff pick is from a bestselling author, but maybe not one you’ve read before.   Once again it has a long time span and one event effects a lot of people, with some suspense thrown in there, but it’s an excellent novel according to our staffer and worth the read.

“In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves… From the exclusive men’s club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world’s wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy… men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped, or not just one man’s dreams, but those of a nation, will die…”– Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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