Reviewer Emily shares her picks for 2017…
Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend
Morrigan is a cursed child, doomed to die on her eleventh birthday until the bizarre and mysterious Jupiter North appears and offers her the chance to escape to Nevermoor. To win her place there she’ll have to compete against hundreds of other children, all with fantastical talents that she doesn’t seem to have, but the longer she stays in Nevermoor, the more determined she is to belong there and thwart her doom. This story is beautiful, magical, charming and quirky, with all the colour and humorous drama of Diana Wynne Jones at her best, and one of a very few books this year to keep me up past my bedtime, because I just had to know what Morrigan was going to do next.
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman tells the tales of the Norse Gods in incisive storyteller’s fashion that brings the old stories into vivid life.
The City of Secret Rivers – Jacob Sager Weinstein
Hyacinth accidentally unleashes a devastatingly magical drop of water, and the chase to recapture it takes her through the bizarre and secret world of London’s underground rivers, and a cast of weirdly unpredictable characters. Hyacinth’s snark and the book’s Jim Henson-like sense of humour will have you laughing all the way through this magical and fascinating adventure.
The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co #5) – Jonathan Stroud
The Empty Grave was a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic series. Ghosts, spooks and mysteries are ramped up to the max as Lucy, Lockwood and their motley band of ghost hunters face down the source of the Problem that’s been haunting London, and everything Lucy holds most dear is threatened. Stroud spins an intensely gripping tale, and I finished it way too fast.
Beauty and the Beast – Mahlon F. Craft & Kinuko Craft
This stunningly gorgeous illustrated fairytale was actually published in 2016, but with the Disney movie released this year I wanted to include it in my favourites for 2017. Kinuko Craft’s artwork is always staggeringly gorgeous, and Beauty and the Beast is the perfect vehicle for her incomparable baroque style, which lends beauty and magic to a charmingly told interpretation of the story. This is one illustrated book that satisfies both the child and the adult in me.
Meet reviewer Emily Clarke…
I am an omnivorous reader with more than thirteen years as a children’s specialist bookseller. During my professional career, I acted as the consultant and liaison to many schools and libraries, and was proud to be invited to speak at several Professional Development sessions for the Centre for Youth Literature as a specialist in children’s fantasy and science fiction. These days, I am honing my skills on a more specific audience, and having fun introducing my two sons to the big, wide world of literature and stories. It warms my heart every time we have to arm wrestle to decide who gets to read a book first (they’re fast and determined, but I’m older and more devious).