Posts Tagged ‘world-building’

V for Vendetta

October 24, 2012

Author: Alan Moore

Title: V for Vendetta

Genre: Graphic novel, book to movie, comic books

Date Published: Nov. 2005

Pages: 256

Setting: Alternative England

Time Frame: The near future

Series: N/A

Summary: In a different world and a Totalitarian England that never was, a young woman, Evey, is rescued by ‘V’, a charming and mysterious vigilante who stands for the downfall of the government’s tyranny and shows her a new and different way of thinking and living.

Headings: Vigilantes, Dystopias, resistance to government, human experimentation in medicine, Totalitarianism, Fascism, revenge, hope

Appeal: dark, grim, bleak, dramatic, suspenseful, thought-provoking, realistic art style, antiheroes, intricate, world-building, gritty, character-driven

Three Best Descriptions: Character-driven. bleak, suspenseful

Similar Fiction Authors:

  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1996) Located in an alternate Oxford, England, young Lyra must discover why local children are being kidnapped and why they are being severed from the Daemons that form part of themselves. (medical experimentation, suspense, world-building, steampunk, teens and adults)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008) In a post-apocalyptic North America known as Panem, a lottery is held every four years to select a boy and a girl from each of its twelve Districts to participate in the widely broadcasted and gladiatorial Hunger Games; in order to prevent revolution. (world-building, character-driven, scifi, bleak, teens)
  • 1602 by Neil Gaiman (2004) In an alternative England, familiar Marvel comic book characters step into new roles in the court of Queen Elizabeth and have to deal with many trials (GN, historical, superheroes, teens and adults)

Similar Nonfiction Authors:

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (2004) A political analysis dealing with Totalitarianism through its many phenomenas in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in the 19th century. In depth study for those who need a definition of the way of thought. (antisemitism, social movements, historical writing)
  • Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (2003) An autobiographical  and child’s eye view at life under the Islamic Revolution. (GN, memoir, historical writing, family and relationships)
  • Doctors from Hell: the Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans by Vivian Spitz (2005) Unpublished photos and documents from the Nuremburg Trials during the Holocaust (historical account, ethics, 20th century)

Name: Jennifer Palermo

Welcome to Bordertown: New stories and poems of the Borderlands

September 26, 2012

Welcome to Bordertown: New stories and poems of the Borderlands

Edited by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner Introduction by Terri Windling

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 517

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations, mostly in Bordertown, present day

Series: Bordertown

Plot Summary:  Bordertown, the town on the border between The Realm and our land where neither magic nor technology is reliable, has reappeared after a 13-year absence from the human world; although, the residence think it has only been 13 days.  New humans are pouring into Bordertown with new technology and ideas.  The authors in this anthology, much like the characters in the stories, are a mixture of old Bordertown writers and new, who grew up reading the books and jumped at the chance to contribute to a new volume for this beloved shared world.  Since this book is a compilation from several different authors, the engaging stories each have their own unique feel.  The stories and poems in this anthology touch on many subjects, including, but not limited to love, identity, music, and horror, and sometimes all in the same story.

Subject Headings: Borderlands; Imaginary place; Elves; Humans; Magic; Parallel universes; Supernatural; Runaways; City life, Family life, Friendship.

Appeal:  engrossing, deliberate, series characters, well-developed, character centered, gritty, contemporary, magical, eccentric, poetic, atmospheric, dark, world building, shared world.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: world building, character detailed, dark.

Three fiction read-alikes:

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (urban fantasy, strong sense of place, magic)

This series is about a professional wizard, Harry Dresden, who sets up shop in Chicago as a private eye.  The books in this series are a cross between hard-boiled detective and dark fantasy fiction with a strong sense of place.

Boondocks fantasy edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg

This anthology of urban fantasy contains a collection of 20 stories featuring a mix of characters from folklore and people you might meet on the street today.

The modern fae’s guide to surviving humanity edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, 2012;

This is a collection of short stories about fairies surviving in the modern world.  Stories range from humor to dark fantasy.

Three related non-fiction titles:

The Fair Folk edited by Marvin Kaye

This 2006 award-winning anthology contains six short stories, from blithe to sinister, involving Fair Folk and the humans who come into contact with them.

Fairy tales in Electri-City by Francesca Lia Block

A short book of poetry involving mythological beings and a girl looking for love in present-day Los Angeles.

Weird U.S. : the oddyssey continues : your travel guide to America’s local legends and best kept secrets by Mark Sceurman, Mark Moran, Matt Lake.

Part of a series of travel books discussing the weirder parts of the U.S. tourists try to avoid and thrill seekers search for.

Name: Shira

The Emperor’s Knife

February 15, 2012

Author: Mazarkis Williams

Title: The Emperor’s Knife

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 346

Geographical Setting: Nooria

Time Period: n/a

Plot Summary: Many, many characters come together in the name of the Cerani kingdom – a kingdom that means something different to everyone. In the time of a plague where the sick are marked with patterns before they are turned into zombie like creatures, the Emperor is in dire need of an heir. The Emperor’s brothers have all been put to death by the Assassin (who wields the Emperor’s Knife) to prevent them from fighting one another for power over the kingdom. Only one brother, Prince Sarmin, was saved. Locked up and forgotten in the Castle, Sarmin now might be the only chance for an heir to the throne. The Vizier Tuvaini and the Emperor’s mother have other plans for the throne.Series: First book of the Tower and Knife Trilogy

Subject Headings: Plague – Fiction, Conspiracies – Fiction.

Appeal: leisurely paced, darker, multiple points of view, detailed, political, complex, world-building, character-driven, exotic, mathematical, violent, multiple plot lines

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: dark, multiple plot lines, character-driven

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Pattern Theory: From Representation to Inference (Oxford Studies in Modern European Culture) by Ulf Grenander (The Emperor’s Knife relies heavily on the use and finding of patterns, the Pattern is the disease in the book), The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma’ilis by Farhad Daftary (This book is about the history and myths of Assassins in the Middle East centuries ago), The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly (This book is about the Black Plague in 1347, medieval setting similar to Emperor’s Knife by the medieval setting and an unstoppable plague).

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: The Runelords by David Farland (both write world-building novels about Kingdoms and Rulers), Hunter’s Run by George R.R. Martin (both write fantasy about rulers and assassins, this book includes violence, flashbacks and being hunted by an overseer like Emperor’s Knife), Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon (both write world-building stories about assassins and magic).
name: Jaymie

The Gladiator

October 12, 2011

Author: Harry Turtledove

Title: The Gladiator

Genre: Alternative Histories; Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 288

Geographical Setting: Milan

Time Period: Future

Series: Crosstime Traffic (5 of 6)

Plot Summary: The Gladiator is the fifth novel in the Crosstime Traffic series. It is set in Milan, Italy in the year 2097 AD in an alternate version of history where Communism triumphed over Capitalism in the Cold War. The story is told through the point of view of two young people, Gianfranco Mazzilli and Annarita Crosetti. The Crosetti and Mazzilli families share a kitchen and bathroom between their two apartments, a consequence of Communist living. Gianfranco develops a passion for a game called Rails across Europe, available only at a gaming shop called The Gladiator. The Gladiator is soon shut down by the Security Police. One clerk, Eduardo Caruso, escapes and comes to the two for help. He reveals he is actually from another time, a world where the U.S. won the Cold War and Communism does not exist. The two resolve to help him get home. As Eduardo reveals more about his world, Gianfranco and Annarita being to consider the consequences it might hold for their own.

Subject Headings: Capitalism; Dystopias, Police; Socialism; Teenagers; Time Travel; Twenty-First Century; War Games.

Appeal: World-Building; Plot-Driven; Issue-Oriented; Fast-Paced; Atmospheric; Strong Sense of Place; Thought-Provoking; Suspenseful; Compelling; Gritty; Descriptive; Richly Detailed.

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Dystopian, Alternative History, YA-Crossover.

Relevant Works and Authors


Cold War Hot: Alternate Decisions of the Cold War by Peter Tsouras

Readers drawn to alternate histories or to Non-Fiction about the Cold War may find this an interesting read.

Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture by Alexander R. Galloway

Gaming plays a significant role in The Gladiator; this book discusses gaming’s cultural and social impact, particularly on younger generations.

Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence by Susan Schneider

This book touches on many of the themes found in The Gladiator; its emphasis on time travel may appeal to some readers.


Brave New World by Alduous Huxley

A classic dystopian novel; appropriate for YA-Crossover readers.

Children of Men by P.D. James

Set in an unknown dystopian future; incorporates themes of Science Fiction and social repression.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

A dystopian, alternate war history; its graphic novel format may also appeal to YA-Crossover readers.

Fahrenheit 451

October 12, 2011

Author: Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science fiction

Publication Date: 1953

Number of Pages: 165

Geographical Setting: An unnamed California city in the United States.

Time Period: Distant Future

Plot Summary: Guy Montag lives in a society without any books.   Guy is a firefighter whose job it is to respond to emergency calls of citizens who are found with books.  His job is to burn those books, and in a sad instance, those who own the books.  This is a society purely based on entertainment delivered by TV screens in the household.  He is walking home from work one evening and meets a young girl, Clarisse, who causes him to question his job, his morals, his marriage, and his happiness.  Clarisse, in society’s view is considered mentally ill, but in our contemporary society, appears to be perfectly normal with a normal family- life.  Clarisse’s insight causes Guy’s to re-examine his life, which leads to disastrous consequences for Guy, his family and his co-workers.

Subject Headings:  banned books, book burning, censorship, conformity, dystopias, fires, futurism, mass media, reading, repression, totalitarianism.

Appeal: visionary, prophetic, accurate, scary, eerie, disturbing, bleak, hopeful, lyrical, dystopian, poetic, world-building.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  heroic, character-driven, atmospheric

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 1)Bradbury Chronicles: The life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller-Interviews with editors, friends, family and the author about the author’s work ethic, struggles, successes and inspiration.

2)Universal History of the Destruction of Books: from ancient Sumer to modern-day Iraq by Fernando Baez-This book examines the many reasons throughout history of the destruction of books (Novelist).  This book also makes reference to Fahrenheit 451.

3)Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi-Chosen for a contemporary and political take on book banning and illustrating “the power of literature to nourish free thought” (Kirkus Reviews)

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)1984 by George Orwell- a story with a timeless quality and political and social issues and a heroic protagonist.  A “dystopian classic” (Novelist).

2)Night bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger-A graphic novel that highlights the personal importance and memories associated with books we have read.

3)Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-Chosen for its literary feel, the protagonists feel there is so much more to be experienced than their “utopian”, totalitarian society offers.



September 28, 2011

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Title:  Neverwhere

Genre:  Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: 2007 (recorded)

Number of pages: 10 sound discs (12.5 hours)

Geographical Setting: Present-Day London (England) and fantasy London Below

Time period: Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: The book tells a story of a young Englishman, Richard Mayhew, who enjoys routine and avoids conflict, that is until he impulsively helps a girl he finds bleeding on a sidewalk and is thrust into a fantastic world of London Below. There Richard and his companions, the girl named Door, a shadowy figure-Marquis de Carabas, and a she-warrior named Hunter, embark on a suspenseful quest of obsession, revenge against a powerful evil, and a desire to return home. This strangely believable parallel universe of London Below is inhabited by humans who “have fallen through the cracks” of the modern city, by revered rats, chilling vampires, brilliant angels, and many other colorful villains and heroes, amongst them a deliciously wicket couple of werewolf-like creatures, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, who add a brilliant touch of Victorian macabre to this story. In his imagining of London Below, Gaiman blends history, mythology and religion with the issues of good and evil, while on a deeper level the author sheds a satirical light on Londoners’ modern-day inability to “see” people who are homeless, addicted or just different.  Neverwhere is a fast-paced book with a dark and suspenseful story and a rich set of fantastic characters. The story is also sprinkled with witty word puns and literary allusions, making this book appealing not only to the fans of urban fantasy but to the readers of dark literary fiction. Finally, the unabridged, audio version of this book, as narrated by the author, only makes the story better. Neil Gaiman provides an intimate and pitch-perfect reading of the book. His accent emphasizes the setting of the story, his varied dialects provide unique personalities to the characters, and his even and calm tone adds to the suspense of the plot.

Subject Headings: English fiction—20th century, Parallel Universes, Quests, Underground Worlds, Villains, Heroes, Angels, Go0d and Evil.

Appeal: suspenseful, dark, menacing, character-driven, chilling, intricately-plotted, entertaining, witty, world-building, fast-paced, intimately-narrated, original, urban, imaginative.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: dark, engrossing, intimately-narrated.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd: a witty and engaging story about everything that lies underneath London, from streams, animals, ghost stories, Roman buildings to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts and modern train stations.

2) Necropolis: London and Its Dead by Catharine Arnold: a macabre historical tour of London’s dead with an emphasis on London’s plagues, fires, and burial grounds hidden underneath the contemporary city.

3) A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirit by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack: a great reference guide to the world’s most famous folkloric and mythological spirits, their sources and their role in the society.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) A Madness of Angels: or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin: a dark and witty story of Matthew Swift who wakes up in his London bed two years after being murdered and starts his quest for revenge.

2) The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind: a story of a young woman, Jennsen, compelled by inhuman voices in her head on a vengeful quest against the demonic powers.

3) Kraken: an Anatomy by China Mieville: another urban fantasy vision of London (England), in which Billy, a young museum curator, is propelled into a supernatural underworld filled with magic squids, witches, golems and warriors.

Megan Rosol

Legends of Shannara: Bearers of the Black Staff

September 28, 2011

Author: Terry Brooks

Title: Bearers of the Black Staff

Genre: Fantasy fiction

Publication Date: August 24, 2010

Number of Pages: 353 pages (audio – 12 CDs)

Geographical Setting: A mythical, protected valley called Shannara.

Time Period: Post Apocalyptic

Series: Legends of Shannara

Plot Summary: In a valley protected by magical mists and a loner, Sider Ament, two young trackers find that demons have breached their valley and killed innocent trackers.  Sider is the only surviving member of the Knights of the Word and the Bearer of the Black staff.  He and the trackers seek to warn the inhabitants of the valley- humans, elves, lizards and spiders.  In doing so, they put themselves in danger from those who believe that the failure of the mists means the second coming of their God.  This forces them to seek help from other species in order to protect the impending demon invasion. They join with an Elven cast of characters and other humans to defend their valley. In their quest they encounter duplicitous royalty, demons, and the religious, who are on their own quest for power.  Sider Ament’s personal quest is to find a worthy successor to bear the black staff. The audio book is narrated by Phil Gigante, who is known for his ability to do characterizations. Listening to the audio version brings all of these characters to life.

Subject Headings: Refugees; Survival; Magic; Trolls; Knights and Knighthood; Magic sticks; Good and evil; Shannara (Imaginary place)
Appeal: reflective, fast-paced, engrossing, compelling, dangerous, foreboding, heartwarming, optimistic, flawed but memorable characters, well-developed, multiple plot lines, mystical, world building, nostalgic.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heroic, richly detailed, strong sense of place.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Tolkien & C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez. A commentary on the friendship and the inspiration for each authors’ fantasy works, including their spiritual beliefs.

2) Tales from a Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien.  A collection of short fantasy novellas and poetry with illustrations.

3) The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings by Brenda Rosen. Illustrations and history of the origins of mythical creatures and their basis in reality.


3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Dragons of Autumn Twilight (DragonLance saga) by Margaret Weis. A world-building and fast-paced work including themes of good and evil with magic wielding creatures and humans.

2) Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Fantasies) by Juliet Marillier.  These stories have young heroes/heroines that are noble, but sometimes behave badly.  They learn from their experiences and sometimes are fighting religious battles.

3) The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan. This series is chosen for the story of unlikely heroes banding together with other species to go on a dangerous quest in order to defeat evil.

Name:Cheryl R.


August 1, 2011

Author:  C.J. Cherryh

Title:  Foreigner

Genre:  Science Fiction

Publication Date:  1994

Number of Pages:  378

Geographical Setting:  an Earth-like planet in another solar system (mostly set in the city of Shejidan and the estate of Maiguri)

Time Period:  the future – unknown year

Series:  Book 1 in the Foreigner series

Plot Summary:  Centuries after the Phoenix starship brought humans to an unknown galaxy, to a planet populated by the atevi, the two races have found a way to co-exist separately but (somewhat) peacefully.  The humans keep to the island of Mospheira, except for one – known as the paidhi, the interpreter – who lives and works amongst the atevi as a diplomat and technology consultant.  Bren Cameron, the current paidhi, has spent his adult life immersed in the government of the atevi, sitting in the inner circle of the aiji, the lord of the central association.  One night, a would-be assassin makes an attempt at Bren’s life, and his reality is turned upside-down.  In a society where there is no atevi word for “trust,” but fourteen for “betrayal,” Bren must tread carefully to protect not only his own life, but the delicate relationship between humans and atevi.

Subject Headings:  space colonies; politics; human-alien encounters; culture conflict; loyalty

Appeal: detailed setting, engrossing, political, relaxed pace, builds in intensity, contemplative, thought-provoking, imaginative, world-building, well-crafted, densely written, complex

3 terms that best describe this book:  thought-provoking, world-building, builds in intensity

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

God’s Crucible: Islam and the making of Europe, 570 to 1215 by David L. Lewis:  Even though the humans and atevi did not live amongst each other, the exchange of technology and resources was central to the development of both societies.  Lewis examines that theme a little closer to home, focusing on the cultural interplay between Islamic and European culture.

 Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue by Eric Felten:  The most complex concept in atevi culture is that of man’chi – the atevi form of loyalty.  The term is so abstract that Bren is not able to come up with a concise translation.  In his book, Felton explores the role loyalty plays in life and what our loyalty-based decisions reveal using anecdotes from the Bible, literature, and other sources.

Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System by Ray Jayawardhana:  Before the accident that led them to the planet of the atevi, humans spent five centuries searching for a planet that could sustain life.  In Strange New Worlds, Jayawardhana explores the history of human curiosity and finding new planets, and also guides the reader through the numerous recent planetary discoveries, showing that a new Earth is possibly within our grasp.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Crossfire by Nancy Kress: A group of wealthy humans led by billionaire Jake Holman travel to the planet Greentrees to establish a new earth colony, only to realize that they landed in the middle of a war between two alien races.  Imaginative and thought provoking, Crossfire may appeal to those who enjoyed reading about Bren’s ethical dilemmas in Foreigner.

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Le Guin: Shevek, a naïve physicist and theorist attempts to share knowledge between two dissident planetary societies, igniting unprecedented change.  Like Foreigner, The Dispossessed is the first book in a thought-provoking series set in the distant future.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin:  In a kingdom of decades-long seasons, seven families plot and scheme to amass power and gain control of the throne.  Fans of the Foreigner series may enjoy Martin’s complex and well-crafted political fantasy saga.

Name:  Mieko Fujiura

Midnight Robber, by Nalo Hopkinson

April 20, 2011

0446675601.01._SX220_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg (220×344)Author: Nalo Hopkinson

Title: Midnight Robber

Genre: multicultural science fiction

Publication Date: 2000

Number of Pages: 329

Geographical Setting: The fictional planets of Toussaint and New Half-Way Tree

Time Period: distant future

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: On the utopian, Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint, violent criminals are exiled to the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree.  Innocent young Tan-Tan is unjustly thrust into exile there when her convicted father, Antonio, drags her along.  Antonio’s selfish actions continue to add additional layers of misery onto a life already made difficult for Tan-Tan by the harsh realities of New Half-Way Tree.  As a child, Tan-Tan loved to play the role of the legendary Robber Queen; after a horrendous trauma inflicted by her father, the role of the Robber Queen becomes reality for Tan-Tan, whose struggle for survival in New Half-Way Tree is also a struggle to reconcile the various parts of her identity.  Along the way, Tan-Tan meets aliens, dangerous beasts, and a vengeful stepmother.  Hopkinson’s rendering of the future mixes the idea of nanotechnology with Caribbean legends, to create an unconventional and fascinating science fiction experience.

Subject Headings: Abuse; Aliens; Caribbean culture; Carnival; Exile;  Fathers and daughters; Legends; Nanotechnology

Appeal: character-centered, descriptive, detailed setting, dangerous, folksy, imaginative, hard-edged, homespun language, imaginative, mythic, moving, poetic dialect, vibrant, violent, vivid characters, well-crafted, world-building

3 terms that best describe this book: imaginative, poetic, vivid characters

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles, edited by Thomas Glave – Homosexuality is common and accepted by the Caribbeans in Midnight Robber. Readers who enjoyed that aspect of the novel may enjoy this collection, which like Midnight Robber also features some patois.

Carnival: Culture in Action – The Trinidad Experience, edited by Milla Cozart Riggio – Carnival plays a major role in Midnight Robber. Those who enjoyed the colorful descriptions of Carnival customs and pageantry may enjoy this book, which includes both text and photo essays.

The Kiss: A Memoir, by Kathryn Harrison – Like Midnight Robber, a book about an incestuous father-daughter relationship, and the daughter’s attempt to reclaim her life.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy –  like Midnight Robber, this is a work of moving, character-driven, feminist science fiction that features a utopian future and its dystopian alternative.

Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban – Readers who enjoyed the creativity of the language in Midnight Robber may appreciate this classic in the science fiction genre; like Midnight Robber, it was also written with an invented dialect.

The Girl with the Golden Shoes, by Colin Channer –  A young, Caribbean girl is exiled from her community; the book also features poetic patois.

-Noelle Nightingale

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

February 23, 2011

Author: Orson Scott Card

Title: The Lost Gate

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 378

Geographical Setting: U.S.A.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Mitherages, vol. 1

Plot Summary:  14 centuries after Loki closed the gates between Westil and Mittlegard (earth), the Families of mages that were once revered as gods have lost much of their power.  Danny North, a member of the same Family as Thor and Loki, is unwanted and believed to be a drekka (a member of the Family with no power).  Danny realizes that he is a Gate Mage and he is in more danger than he ever knew because the Families have sworn an oath to kill all Gate Mages.  He escapes his family compound and embarks on an adventure among ordinary humans.  As he deals with the Family, the mysterious Gate Thief, and the problems faced by ordinary teens with no place to call home, he discovers his true destiny.

Subject Headings:  Magic; Mythology; Contemporary America; Urban Fantasy; Fantasy

Appeal Terms: measured, magical, detailed, lifelike, multiple points of view, recognizable, series, strong secondary characters, well-developed, world-building, imaginative, mythic references, contemporary, accessible, descriptive magical elements

3 terms that best describe this book: magical, world-building, recognizable

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.  Campbell’s study of the phenomenal existence of the mythological Hero found throughout the world.  The Lost Gate is full of references to gods and myths from different cultural groups.
  2. The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths by Padraic Colum.  Here is a retelling of the traditional Nordic myths featuring Odin, Thor, and Loki who are also characters in The Lost Gate.
  3. Don’t Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in human History but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis.  An excellent guide to the mythological themes and characters found throughout The Lost Gate.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. An exploration of the sleeping gods and myths that were brought to America by Europeans immigrants and their desire to return to power.
  2. Jumper by Steven Gould.  Davy, a young man who shares Danny North’s ability to teleport, is being chased by those who want to kill him because of his ability.
  3. Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier. The first of Sage of the Light Isles series that follows a Wolfskin warrior in the service of Thor who goes in search of glory for himself and his people.

Name: Mike Monahan