LIBRARY IDEA FOR NOVEMBER:

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA GAME: Looking for zero-prep Thanksgiving activities for middle school? This trivia game helps keep your students learning and engaged, even in the days before a holiday break. It’s zero-prep for you, and text and images are 99% editable.

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CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK:

Since Ragnarokthe great war between the gods and the forces of chaos—the human realm of the Midlands has become a desperate and dangerous place, bereft of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones—his family has remained prosperous. But he stands to lose everything when he’s wrongly convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is Eiric’s half-systir, Liv, who’s under suspicion for her interest in seidr, or magic. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reginn Eiklund has spent her life performing at alehouses for the benefit of her master, Asger, a fire demon she is desperate to escape. After one performance that amazes even herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make Reginn an irresistible offer: return with them to the Temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric’s, Liv’s, and Reginn’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, a paradise fueled by magic and the site of the Temple. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

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Review: The Impostor Queen (Fine)

>AUTHOR: Sarah Fine  
SERIES: The Impostor Queen, book 1  
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry  
PUBLICATION DATE: January 5, 2016  
ISBN: 9781481441902  
PAGES: 336  
SOURCE: Edelweiss  
GENRE: fantasy  
SETTING: Queendom of Kupari  
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: As the next in line to become the Valtia, or magical queen, of Kupari, Elli lives a sheltered life inside the a temple. She is taught by priests and elders so that when the current Valtia dies, Elli’s body will fill with magic, specifically, the power to wield fire and ice. But when the current Valtia dies protecting the city, the magic does not enter Elli’s body. Disgraced, Elli runs away, leaving the only life she has ever known. When she is found near death in the outlands, Elli is brought to live with a band of thieves and outlaws, where she learns of deceit in the temple and a missing prophecy that gives insight to Elli’s lack of magic.

REVIEW: No, you probably don’t understand the summary. That’s okay; I didn’t either. I did not read this book because of the summary; I read it because I read Sanctum by Sarah Fine a few years ago and just loved it. Having just read my second Sarah Fine book, I am hooked on her creative world-building and complex characters.

It took me a couple of days to get into this one. The world-building is intricate and takes some time to develop. Eventually, though, I was unable to put it down. I finished the last 300 or so pages in one sitting! I loved the characters and the slow-building romance between Elli and Oskar. Sig is an especially interesting and complex character, and I look forward to reading the sequel to find out his fate.

Great ending! I know I’m not saying much about the plot here, but it really is so hard to explain. If you like books like Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone or Golding’s Dragonfly, this one is not to be missed!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Top-notch world-building and complex characters make The Impostor Queen one of my early 2016 favorites. The story takes some time to build, so I recommend this for stronger readers who love high fantasy.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order.

READALIKES: Shadow & Bone (Bardugo); Dragonfly (Golding); Eon (Goodman); Girl of Fire and Thorns (Carson)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5–love Sig especially!
  • Engrossing: 4/5–a little slow to start
  • Writing: 5/5–incredible world-building!
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5–best for strong readers
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5–loved that ending!

CONTENT:

  • Language: mild; one hilarious reference to a man’s “balls”
  • Sexuality: mild; kissing; castration; non-sexual nakedness
  • Violence: high; whipping (described in some detail); murder; blood-letting and blood-drinking
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none
  • Other: evil priests; overall “dark” feel
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