Fantastic Fiction

The Water’s Daughter by Michelle Lovric, Published by Hachette

Imagine being able to hold history in your fingertips, to be able to touch a building and see through time to its stories! This wondrous novel will allow you to do just that! Aurelia Bon has magical fingers, she uses these for the purpose of selling books about her beloved city of Venice.

Venice is steeped in myths, legends and magic so what better place to set this story. Being Noble born, Aurelia will have to stop using her gift soon and become betrothed to Marco Spatafora, or she will face the convent of Padre Pino. Both choices fill her with dread.

Aurelia’s ancestral home, long abandoned, is full of haunting legends and dark secrets. Boys are lured there and disappear forever. The last boy was Momo, and he was seen with a spectral glow about him before vanishing. The mystery of The Palace that Eats Boys is one Venetians are desperate to learn more about. Aurelia will use her gift one last time to share the secrets she learns from her fingertips.

When the crowd turn against her, she is kidnapped and taken to a place where her fingertips will be transplanted onto another who seeks fame and fortune. This dark and twisting tale is full of adventure and incredible characters seamlessly linked through Venice and its charm. A smashing story!

The Island that Didn’t Exist by Joe Wilson, Cover by George Ermos, Published by Oxford University Press

Rixon Webster has inherited an island from Great Uncle Silvester. It can’t be found on modern maps and is reachable only by boat, if you can find it that is. Desperate to find his island, Rixon convinces his Mum to go searching for it along the coast. When an opportunity to set sail arises, Rixon grabs the tiller with both hands and sets off.

Adventure awaits Rixon as he sails across the sea looking for this lost island. Unsure, yet hopeful, of what he will discover, he is completely unprepared to have spears land at his feet upon arrival.

It turns out the island is not uninhabited and it is not particularly friendly. Four children live on this island, brought there by Silvester after the boat carrying their families was destroyed some years ago. They live wild and free, awaiting the return of Silvester who brings food and supplies regularly. Rixon must deliver the bad news of Silvester’s death.

Bridging a truce, Rixon discovers Rose, Faith, Russell and Thorn live together on the island. Their parents were fleeing to the island with their secret invention when their boat was destroyed. The children have stocks of food, clothing and weapons. They remain hidden due to the clever technology of seagulls. Rixon has a lot of work to do to ensure his own safety and to protect the secret invention. A superb adventure!

A Girl Called Justice The Smugglers Secret by Elly Griffiths, Illustrations by Nan Lawson, Published by Quercus

Justice Jones has an insatiable thirst for mysteries and the truth. Her father and head mistress know her well and try to give her advice about going headlong into trouble as she arrives for another term at Highbury House. Advice she will consider and then disregard completely.

A new matron gives Justice pause for thought and questions. Why is the basement out of bounds and where is Matron going at night in her gym shoes? Justice loves questions and will stop at nothing to find the answers. A new sense of freedom is given to the girls this year as they are to volunteer with residents of the local community. Justice is assigned to the spooky and believed to be haunted Smugglers’ Lodge and to Mr Arthur, it’s elderly resident.

When he is found murdered, the plot well and truly thickens! Using all her skills and new friends, Justice is right in the middle of this investigation! It was absolutely wonderful to be back with Justice and the boarding school girls, and this term Justice finds new skills and talents to help her!

Do Not Disturb the Dragons by Michelle Robinson, Illustrated by Sharon Davey, Published by Bloomsbury

Grace is the luckiest girl in the world…dragons poo all over her. In her kingdom, this is considered lucky and knights will line up to shake her hand to gain some of that luck before a match of Troll-O. Grace and sister Portia are tired of being lucky and are tired of the rules imposed across their kingdom. Their Dad, the King, rules a kingdom where everything is done to protect the dragons. Rules from girls unable to become knights, wear trousers or stay in the bath until wrinkly. Rules about disturbing the dragons, riding unicorns or eating ice cream for breakfast.

Is it any wonder Grace and Portia want more? As Grace and Portia push the rules, break the rules and show a complete disregard for the rules, they are having the best time. However, the dragons are acting strangely and the kingdom believes that someone is breaking the rules- little do they know who!

This hilarious story focuses on the two girls breaking the rules but in reality they are breaking the mould imposed by ridiculous rules. Proving themselves worthy takes effort and some laugh out loud moments along the way. Perfect for anyone looking to laugh, cheer on the girls and meet some unicorns…one aptly named Poop. This book will be devoured and become one of the most popular books in the library.

The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller, Published by Text Publishing

The cover immediately grabbed my attention! Fantasy, adventure, myths- it all awaits the reader! Olga and her family are being sent to the far reaches of their kingdom as a “promotion”, which is a lovely way of saying exile. Her father has displeased the ruler and is sent away. Where they are forced to live is near to where the birds live, after the war with humans. The two have been divided for years and the tensions are still high.

As Olga has grown, she comes to realize that she is different but being different is not celebrated in this world. Yagas have been chased away and are no longer welcome at court, believed to be responsible for stealing the firebirds egg. This is the momentous event leading to the divide and war. Olga is a Yaga but has no mastery of her skills yet and is scared of showing her abilities to anyone.

When her sister is captured by the birds, Olga knows she must find and rescue her but to do so she will need to enter the Republic of Birds, a place forbidden to humans. There is much she will learn on this journey and will come to rely upon her abilities as a skilled map Yaga and a special book she treasures. One she knows off by heart but can now use practically for tips and clues about surviving.

She meets other Yagas, finds out school for Yagas is not to be feared but attended with a sense of belonging and hope, and she meets Ptashka, the ruler of the Republic of Birds. Given a job to do in order to save her sister, the journey of Olga is not yet over.

A completely enchanting story of bravery, belonging and with elements of Russian folklore, with chicken legged houses and Yagas throughout. Delightful and hopeful with elements of survival, tricks and finding your place in the family.

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