Storybound

Storybound is a children’s fantasy book written by Marissa Burt. It is a part of a duology about Una Fairchild and her adventures in Story. This book is aimed at children 10-13 years old, but I think even younger kids might like it. Even though the heroine of the book is twelve years old.

This is one of those novels where the heroine disappears into a book where she finds a magical land where all the characters she always thought were only fictional prove to be real. Una Fairchild falls into Story in the middle of Peter’s practical examination where he has to fight a dragon in order to save a lady in distress. When he discovers Una in the cave he thinks she might be another maiden in need of a knight so he tries to save her too. But Una is not brought up to be a lady and she is more than ready to try to save herself. Later, Peter and Una become friends and Una joins him in the school where he is training to become a storybook character. But why has Una really come to Story? Will she ever get back to her real world? And who is the mysterious lady in red lurking around talking about Write-Ins?

I loved this story, and the plot, even though it has been told many times before, is original and creative. This book reminded me a lot of Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series, which has much of the same storyline. This book however, is a richer, but also more demanding read. It took me a long time to get into the story, and much of the plot is revealed through dialogue (there is a lot of eavesdropping) and reading of passages in books. The action part comes at the end of the book, something that can require too much patience for a young child. I found that the language didn’t flow as easily as I would have liked in a children’s book, but having said that, the book is very popular, so it might just be a personal preference thing.

I would definitely recommend this book, but for children who are a little impatient and like more action-driven books I would rather suggest checking out Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series.

Advertisements

C.S Lewis and me

I frist encountered the magical world of C.S Lewis through the BBC Tv-series “The Chronicles of Narnia” from 1989. I must have been just 5-6 years old, or even younger, when Narnia became the name of my own magical world. I made this world so detailed and vivid that when I first read the books in their original form I was quite let down. C.S Lewis’ writing was very straightforward and to-the-point and lacked the detailed descriptions that I have also craved in books. Nevertheless, he is the father and creator of this enchanted world with all its magical inhabitants and adventures, and for that, he has my absolute admiration, gratitude and utter respect. He has inspired my imagination to take flight ever since I was just a very little girl through his books; unabridged and complete, and abridged picture book versions.

The BBC series that introduced me to the wonderful world of C.S Lewis was normally telecast during Easter in Norway, as a morning treat for kids. My family and I spent our Easter in a sailing boat at sea, and it was only my uncle who had a TV in his boat, so he made us pay an admittance fee in candy in order for us to watch the series. Something we happily did, even though our storage of candy was quite limited.

My favorite parts of the series are the scene in Mr. Tumnus’ house when he and Lucy take tea for the first time in the first book, the scene in the magician’s house when Lucy makes the magician and his subjects visible in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, and when Eustace and Jill first meet the marsh wiggle in “The Silver Chair”.

The port keys to Narnia have always fascinated me. And all my life I have been looking for enchanted wardrobes and magic oil paintings of mighty ships at sea. Even the lamppost that is the first Narnian landmark after you’ve entered the magic Wardrobe has made me take hundreds of photos of Narnia-looking lampposts in the real world. I specifically remember one Wardrobe I found in an artsy hotel just outside Venice when I went there with my best friend to celebrate my 21st Birthday. It was magnificent, and yes, I did try to look for a magic country inside it.

When the “new” (well not so new anymore) Narnia movie came out, I was soooo excited. I spent hours on the Disney website playing Narnian games and watching trailer-clips of the upcoming film. But I was a bit let down when I first watched it in the theater. It was, as most modern movies are, fast-paced, action driven and computerized. The action bits (like the battle) were blown way up, and it had even added action scenes that were not there in the books. Having said that, I loved the four young actors who played the Pevensie children, they were all brilliant, and I wish I could have cast them in the BBC series, but I would have kept the old witch, played brilliantly by Barbara Kellerman. She is way scarier than the witch in the Disney movie.

The magic of Narnia will always fascinate me. It is not only a part of my childhood, it has become the totem pole of my imagination. I will always keep looking for secret doorways in paintings and wardrobes, and turn around to marvel over old lampposts. Narnia has become a part of me, of who I am, and that is all thanks to the wonderful C.S Lewis, who said so brilliantly: “Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.” If only in my dreams.

The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial is the first book in a fantasy series called “The Magisterium Series” written by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. The book is said to be aimed at children between 9 and 12, but I would say it will suit young teenagers more.

The Iron Trial is about 12 year old Call and his two friends Tamara and Aaron who are all apprenticed to the same master in an underground school of magic called the Magisterium. In the Magisterium young mages are taught to control elemental magic and fight against the chaos-ridden. It is a classical plot where good has to stand up against evil, but the evil in this book is the chaos, the blankness, the nothingness, and sometimes good and evil are all mixed up and can be hard to tell apart, and that is when the line between chaos and order becomes blurry.

I can’t not say how much this book reminded me of the Harry Potter series, there is a lot of similar twists to the plot, and sometimes I felt as though I was reading about Ron, Harry and Hermione, but I mean that in a good way. Who wouldn’t want to be compared to the great J.K Rowling!? But this book however, is much more action-driven, and leaves out the little details and the characteristics that make the Harry Potter books so special. Still, I loved the book as a pure thrilling and entertaining read that will definitely catch the attention of young fantasy-loving readers. It is also one of those books you can thoroughly enjoy as an adult too.

The only thing I will say is that I did not feel that the characters were 12 years old, the way they talked and behaved was more like teenagers in my opinion. And some of the magical explanations will definitely go over the heads of 9 year olds.

Having said that, I devoured this book, and did not put it down until it was finished. And I will definitely continue reading the other books in the series.😊👍🏻

So I give this book five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I highly recommend ” The Iron Trial” to young teenagers and everyone else with a taste for the magical realm!

A Fairy Tale

img_6265

A misty call from Dryad’s Lips
A tinker’s touch like feather tips
Brought upon a mighty roar
From magic steeped in fairy lore.

Sparkling light that Inspires Song
Chanting echoes from days long gone
Dance upon a Rainbows Wings
As Memory calls and Mystery Sings!

Such was the stirring, deep as yon’ pound
It shook the very forest ground
And our faerie hero came awake
A regal nymphadora from lovers’ lake.

His amber eyes with bejeweled glitter,
Colourful as Autumn’s litter
Sought the visage of his Dryad Bride,
But could not find her, though he tried.

A gust of muddy darkness brought
The sound of broomsticks from abroad
And witching hour’s wishful sight
Showed to him his captured bride.

*******
Upon the Midnight’s brazen tide
The shimmering aspect of his Beloved Bride
Bound with gnarled ropes of leather
Captive to the loam, a Trollish Treasure.

A distrusted moon on the edge of things
Told a tale of magic rings
With Light that mourned the darkest night
And Sirens’ song to wrong the rights.

Our Hero arose with sabre glinting,
Baleful expression less than hinting
His wrath kindled, Wings ablaze,
His vision naught but crimson haze.

He sliced the ropes with his winged pride
And gazed into his lover’s anemonic eyes
She dipped her hand into his scaled-up chest
And stirred the bottom to retrieve Magick’s Amulet

The Magick sang it’s Sweetest Song
In spite of anger and in the face of wrong,
The Magick Whispered of Finer things,
Of the Mystery that only Magick Brings.

He spoke finally: “There is a prize.”
She drifted slowly, like a ghost, from his side
And nodded, while leaves grew from her eyes.
He faintly smiled, and kissed his bride goodbye.

Yet as the Magick played its melody
His wings grew rigid; then tinted green
As their Sweet embrace became eternal Rhyme
Twain became One, Clasped throughout Time!

This poem was written in collaboration with the magical Morgan from Booknvolume (https://booknvolume.com/). She is an amazing author and poet who has published a fantasy trilogy called Dark Fey, which you can read about here: https://booknvolume.com/dark-fey-trilogy/.
Morgan also writes amazing fairy poetry, please check out her blog, you won’t regret it 😊😊😊.

The Christmas Dragon

img_2115

The Christmas Dragon is an American Christmas Fairytale Film from 2014. The film was released directly on DVD and it is not your typical ginormous budget Hollywood movie. It is a rather small film, but with a huge heart, lovely storytelling and wonderful child actors. The plot is your typical “save-the-magic-of-Christmas” plot, but it adds dragons, elves, goblins and child snatchers into the mix, and that makes it so wonderfully different!

img_5026

In the opening scene we are witness to the killing of Ayden’s (our Heroine) parents by a dragon. Six years later we meet her again, now the resident of an orphanage. One day Ayden ventures into the forest, and there she meets an elf who gives her a magic crystal, a compass that will help her save the magic of Christmas. As soon as the crystal leaves the elf’s hands he turns into a dark goblin. Meanwhile the children in the orphanage who have come of an age are being sold to the highest bidder to meet their destiny as slaves in the mines. Ayden convinces some of her friends to come with her on her quest to save the magic of Christmas and put an end to the dark times in the village. Ahead lies an adventure none of them could have expected where what the children thought of as their enemies become their most valuable helpers.

img_5028

I love this film wholeheartedly! It is sweet, magical and inspires the imagination to come up with lovely new universes! Yes, the special effects aren’t very good, but some of the sets are absolutely beautiful, and the children are such good actors! If had seen this film as a kid I would enacted the story in make-believe games over and over again, and probably made up my own stories set in the same universe. I will say though, that I think the film would have worked better as a TV series, I say this only because it would have reached a broader audience, and the fairy tale thrill of it would have allowied each episode to end on a cliffhanger which would have made it even more popular. But anyway, regardless of other reviewers, I loved the film and have already watched it twice!

img_5029

I absolutely recommend this sweet fairy film to children and adults alike!
Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author Recommendation: Jeff Wheeler

img_4757

One of my most beautiful discoveries this year is the author Jeff Wheeler. I came across one of his books, “The Queen’s Poisioner” by coincidence (Well, I don’t really believe in coincidences, but anyway…) when I was visiting Norway in April, and I was immediately drawn to it. I bought it, and wolfed it down in a day! The very same day I started the follow-up: “The Thief’s Daughter”. Both the books are a part of the “Kingfountain” series and I finished the series in days and started on the next series.

img_4762

I am currently reading the “Muirwood” series and I am loving it even more (if that is possible) than the the “Kingfountain” series!

So what is it about Jeff Wheeler’s books that I love so much?
Well, first of all it is Fantasy, but more than that it is extremely well written fantasy! The books are both action driven and character driven. Almost every page is a page-turner and the language flows so easily that it is a dream to read. The plots are intricate and dramatic, but still logical and realistic ( with realistic, I don’t mean they are like reality, I just mean that they make sense and have no irritating holes in them).
The characters are loveable and interesting, they all have their weaknesses and strengths, and the most important part, the real heroes are often girls and women! Here you will find that it is often the strong woman or girl who saves the man! Yet, she never loses her femininity, and become what I personally never like in female heroines, like a man.

img_4760

But what I love most about Jeff Wheeler’s books is how very spiritual they are! Especially the “Muirwood” series. The spiritual aspect of the books is not preachy, or depicted as a very fantastical and otherworldly magic. It is described, or used, in a way very similar to non-fictional spiritual books, only it is done in a way that weaves it so beautifully into the tale. There are little pearls of wisdom everywhere, and you learn something new, even if you are experienced in hardcore spirituality yourself.

Many of the tales are set in castles or abbeys, with a wise person, a spiritual teacher, training the hero/heroine in the spiritual aspects. I love seeing these beautiful places in my mind! It is like I am there taking part in the story myself.

img_4759

Jeff Wheeler himself recommends starting with the “Kingfountain” series, which is his most recent, but if you want to read the books mostly because of the spiritual aspects, I recommend starting with the “Muirwood” series. The protagonist in this series is a young teenage girl and she is such an amazing character I am in awe of Jeff Wheeler for creating her!

img_4761

I am not sure what age group Jeff Wheeler targets, but I did not feel that I was reading Children’s- or young adult books. I think these books really are for all age groups, but some of the content is at times a bit violent, not overly so, but it has short descriptions of battles and many of the villains do get killed, so I think it depends upon the sensitivity of the child, but I would perhaps say that the books are suited for everyone from 12 years and up. And with everyone, I really mean everyone!

If you want to know more about Jeff Wheeler and his books, you can check out his website here: http://www.jeff-wheeler.com

All the above images have been sourced from Jeff Wheeler’s website.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

willy-wonka

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a musical fantasy film from 1971 directed by Mel Stuart and written by Roald Dahl, who is also the author of the book the film is adapted from. The film has later attained a Cult Classic status and is still being shown on television in many countries.

I think there is no need for my to retell the plot here, as we all know the story well, so I am just going to dive into the review. 😊

When I was little I loved Roald Dahl’s books, and I loved Willy Wonka. To me, he was such a magical, eccentric character, who cared about kindness, not about being liked by everyone. I remember thinking that Willy Wonka must have been tired of not fitting in to the wicked world of men, so he made a world for himself full of sweetness and fun and imagination. But as the story enfolds we understand that this world has become lonely, and that Willy Wonka is seeking a kindred spirit to share it with, and he finds this in Charlie Bucket, our hero.

wonka1

When I watched the 2005 adaptation of this film, the one directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp in the lead as Willy Wonka, I was completely torn out of my childhood fantasy. The Willy Wonka in that film was not MY sweet and magical Willy Wonka, he was a selfish dark character, and I did not like him one bit. The whole movie took a very dark turn in interpreting this story, probably due to both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s influence, and consequently I did not like the film. The 1971 adaptation on the other hand, I loved!

willywonka1971

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a much sweeter and more innocent take on the story, except for perhaps one scene (the one in the dark tunnel). I also loved the singing and dancing sequences, especially the opening one in the Candy Shop. The song “The Candy Man” is such a whimsical hit. (It was later recorded by Sammy Davis Jr.)

And I love, love, love the colors, the costumes and the sets, especially the first room in the Chocolate Factory. So magical! It is very typical the 70s, and of course free of computerized special effects and animation. Everything is actually made by hand! This, to me, gives the movie real soul and artistic quality, something I feel I rarely find in movies of this nature today. Today’s movie industry has a feel of being more about making money than art, I think. (But let’s not get political! 😀 ) It is not only the Chocolate Factory sets that are beautiful, the footage from the streets and buildings in the city is also lovely! The film was shot in Munich in 1970, and the authentic vintage shops are delightful!

vili-vonk_-720_04

If you love old movies, especially the musical ones, you will also love this sweet film. I highly recommend it to children and adults alike! 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

(Oh, and by the way, a warning: I still can’t get that Oompa Loompa song out of my head!! 😂😂)

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️