Monday, May 28, 2012

Top Ten High Fantasy Series That Especially Appeal to Boys Though Girls May Love Them Too

Disclaimer: I've already had someone online criticize me for recommending books "for boys." I feel like it is a tender area--recommending books specifically for boys or girls, so I am going to start with a disclaimer. While this list targets boys, girls certainly enjoy them, too. The purpose of this list is not to generalize or to exclude girls. Instead, I aim to inform parents, teachers, librarians, and students specifically looking for high fantasy books that appeal to boys.

And now for the list:

Boys who love high fantasy series in my school REALLY love high fantasy and are always looking for the next series to sink their teeth into. In addition to the traits all of my Top Tens must have, books in this category have the following in common:
  • prevalence of magic, fantastical creatures, spells and sorcery, possibly a quest
  • main protagonist is male
  • very few content concerns--language, violence, and sexuality are kept to a minimum
  • may or may not contain a romance, but romance (if present) is not a major part of the overall plot
  • fantasy-loving boys tend to read the entire series with gusto, often more than once


1. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (Michael Scott, 2007)

What it's about: Twins Josh and Sophie Newman discover that Nicholas Flamel, an alchemyst who lived over 700 years ago, runs the bookstore where Josh works and that they are part of an ancient prophecy.

Why I love it: Many students have heard the name Nicholas Flamel from the Harry Potter series. All I have to do is describe who Flamel was and the mystery surrounding his death, and the kids are sold. 

Multimedia tie-in: I just ordered a History Channel video called "Decoding the Past: The Real Sorcerer's Stone" from Follett. Will be great if I can show a clip to book talk this series with a class.

2. Fablehaven (Brandon Mull, 2006)

What it's about: Centuries ago, all magical creatures from fairies to trolls to witches were gathered into the hidden realm of Fablehaven in order to prevent their extinction. Seth and his sister Kendra discover that their quirky grandfather is the caretaker of this magical land.

Why I love it: Unique with great world-building. Optioned for a movie for quiet some time but nothing concrete as of this writing.

TRAILER for Book #4 (Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary)  

3. Seven Realms (Cinda Williams Chima, 2009)

What it's about: Told in alternating perspectives--Han, the leader of a gang of street thieves, and Raisa, a princess stifled by an arranged betrothal and life at court. Han and Raisa's paths cross when, to protect himself and his friends, Han steals a powerful amulet from a young wizard.
Why I love it: Great world-building and plenty of plot twists.

4. Heir Chronicles (Cinda Williams Chima, 2007)

What it's about: After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards.

Why I love it: Sword on the front cover! Jack is a realistic, modern-day teenager sucked into a world of wizardry.

5. Kane Chronicles (Rick Riordan, 2010)

What it's about: An estranged brother and sister embark on a global journey to save their father, an Egyptologist who unwittingly unleashed an evil Egyptian god.

Why I love it: Rick Riordan books have been huge with the boys for YEARS. All those Lightning Thief readers (who read LT books over and over) are moving on to a new series.

6. Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan, 2011)

What it's about: Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students from a school for "bad kids," find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself.

Why I love it: Camp Halfblood returns! Has plenty of returning characters from The Lightning Thief, plus plenty of new characters to love. I can't keep these books on the shelves!

7. The Tapestry (Henry Neff, 2007)

What it's about: After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy where he trains in "mystics and combat" in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.

Why I love it: Great for Harry Potter graduates. While it starts out a little too much like HP, cool twists and turns make it markedly different.

8. The Ranger's Apprentice (John Flanagan, 2004)

What it's about: When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.

Why I love it: It is my goal to read The Ruins of Gorlan this summer. Many of my boys (some of whom aren't necessarily the best readers) have gobbled this series up. My husband read the entire series (11 books +2 in the Brotherband spin-off series), and loved it as well.

9. Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling, 1997)

What it's about: Do I really need to summarize? A young boy finds out he is a wizard and travels to attend The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Why I love it: Imperfect characters, good versus evil, great story, easy to get into, excellent movie adaptations, what's not to love? Classic.

10. Eragon (Christopher Paolini, 2003)

What it's about: Fifteen-year old Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.

Why I love it: Author Christopher Paolini was only 15 when he wrote this. Criticized by many as being a Lord of the Rings copycat, my students don't care. Most of them have not read LotR anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent compendium! And if you want to go out on the Indie limb, Land of Corn Chips by Angela Carlie is a fantastic MS read!


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