Folklore Fantasy

This is fantasy based on folktale, legend, fairy tale, mythology etc.  Sure, most fantasy has a touch of folktale but these books have a more prominent focus.

L.G. Bass –  Sign of the Qin

Published in 2004, this book was to be the first in a series.  What happened?  This is a combination of Chinese folklore, martial arts, hero quest.  With this blend of elements, the book is complex but the avid reader is rewarded with an adventure.  I’ve been waiting for years for the sequel.  I suppose the author switched to another project.  L.G. Bass is a pseudonym for Laura Geringer, a prolific author.

Hilari BellThe Goblin Wood, The Goblin Gate, The Goblin War

Who knew goblins could be so endearing?  I am a huge fan of all books by Hilari Bell and this is a favorite series.  The two main protagonists are Makenna, a young hedgewitch, and Tobin, an idealistic knight.  They end up helping the goblins against an evil intent on ridding the wood of all that is magical.  The first book was published in 2003, then the long wait for the second book published in 2010, with the final book in 2011.  It is best to read the books back to back and not wait 7 years between them.

Clare B. DunkleThe Hollow Kingdom Trilogy :  The Hollow Kingdom, Close Kin, In the Coils of the Snake

I didn’t know where to put this series so why not here.  This trilogy is about the goblin and faerie world, characters often present in fairy tales, thus the reason to plunk the books in this subgenre.  Outstanding trilogy.  Loved the goblins especially the goblin king and his brave human bride.  The goblin world is vividly described, one I’d enjoy being a part of.

Nancy FarmerThe Sea of Trolls, The Land of the Silver Apples, The Islands of the Blessed

Vikings!  I enjoy reading books about Vikings.  Never a dull moment.  Would hate to live during that time period – I don’t imagine I’d live to a ripe old age – but reading about it is always a thrill.  This story has the best of everything.  A sprinkle of Norse mythology, plus Vikings, plus historical elements, and fantasy adventure.

Shannon Hale –  Books of Baynern series: Goose Girl and many more

Delightful retelling of the fairy tale, but much more.  The princess’s caravan to meet her bethrothed at his castle is attacked/betrayed.  Arriving at the castle, another girl pretends to be the princess.  The real princess makes her way to the castle, but who would believe her?  She finds a position as the goose girl.  Three books followed, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born (Books of Bayern) and the series falls more into the political fantasy category.  Captivating series.

Alexandra Harvey – Stolen Away

stolenawayI enjoyed reading Stolen Away and hope there will be more to come.  Eloise has no idea that her mysterious aunt Antonia is the bride of the current Faery king.  He was supposed to rule the Faery courts for seven years, but greed and power got the best of him and he wants a longer rule.  In order to extend his rule, he must wrestle power from Antonia who has hidden herself away from the Faerie.  What’s a king to do?  He kidnaps Eloise knowing Antonia will attempt a rescue.  To tell anything more about the plot will spoil it for the readers.  I love the characters in the book.  The three teens involved are the three musketeers, out to save the day.  They are no nonsense, tough and wise cracking.  No simpering whininess but a get-it-done approach to right the wrongs created by the messed up world of Faery.  Both girls have a romantic interest and I approve of their choices!  It is their male friend, Devin that I really like.  The girls drag Devin into the rescue attempt and he is almost drowned by a kelpie.  Typical Devin:

“So, you get a Fae prince, El gets a hawk, and I get a psychotic water horse who tries to kill me?  How is that fair?” . . .  “You guys haven’t even read Lord of the Rings,” he said again, disgusted.

The author includes great dialog, brilliant characters, a tinge of romance, and plenty of action (fighting) that leads to a heck of a climax and sets everything up for more.  Stolen Away is the perfect Faery book for tweens, teens and adults.  There is romance, but not over-the-top lusting.

Diana Wynne JonesDogsbody 

Sirius is the dog star.  He is found guilty of murder and sentenced to be reborn on Earth as a dog until he completes a quest.  This book needs to be rediscovered by today’s teens.  Excellent read!



Diana Wynne JonesEight Days of Luke 

This book was my first introduction to Norse mythology.  The main character, Luke, is Loki – god of fire and mischief.  It helps to read up on the Norse gods before reading this book.



Alethea Kontis – Enchanted

enchantedSunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and is in love with an enchanted frog prince.  His curse ends abruptly and painfully.  He makes his way back to his father’s kingdom and calls for a series of balls so that he can meet Sunday now that he is a man.  This novel is a joyful rollup in fairy tales!  Everyone in Sunday’s family has a story to tell. It is cleverly written and chock full of delightful characters dealing with the dangers of magic and curses.  This is a must read for fans of fairy tales and just might urge readers to pick up a book of fairy tales to get reacquainted.

Edith PattouEast  

This is a blend of two fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and told in several voices.  Rose is the obedient eighth child, whose mother keeps her close to home.  One day a great bear shows up to claim Rose’s birthright.  The setting is Norway, so bits of Norse mythology infuse the telling.

Laurence YepDragon of the Lost Sea quartet  : Dragon of the Lost Sea, Dragon Steel, Dragon Cauldron, Dragon War

Asia folklore and fantasy blend together in this quest novel involving a renegade dragon princess, Shimmer, and a human boy, Thorn, set out to right an evil wrong.  Dragons in any story are a plus.  When dragons blend with folklore quest/ adventure/fantasy with this level of writing the result is wonderful.  I read this series years ago, along with his stand alone fantasy/science fiction Sweetwater,  that is also a must read.