Magical powers, daring adventures, and space travel are the main focus for this week’s summer reading suggestions. Science fiction and fantasy allow us to travel to unknown lands or the deepest parts of space without ever leaving the comfort of our home. Here are this week’s staff recommendations:
In 2019 we discover intelligent life in space. But how should we deal with this discovery? Who should make first contact? While the United Nations debates, the Society of Jesus quietly executes its own expedition. “The Sparrow,” by Mary Doria Russell, follows Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz and his companions on the journey to planet Rakhat, and his return home as the sole survivor in 2059. The book bounces back and forth through time as the story of the mission, and what went wrong, unfolds. The story concludes in “Children of God.”
Nicodemus Weal may be a gifted wizard, but his dyslexia has always corrupted his spell-casting, causing dangerous outcomes. It has also held Nicodemus back. Now, at the age of 25, Nicodemus remains an apprentice, only allowed to perform basic janitorial spells at the wizardly stronghold of Starhaven. Things go from bad to worse for Nicodemus when a powerful wizard is murdered by a mis-spell, and Nicodemus becomes one of the prime suspects. As more deaths occur and suspicions continue to build against him, Nicodemus flees Starhaven on a quest to unravel the truth. “Spellwright” is author Blake Charlton’s first novel. The second Nicodemus Weal book, “Spellbound,” was released September 2011.
If you take Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, mix them together, and make the leads college-aged, then you might have a story similar to that of “The Magicians,” by Lev Grossman. Quentin Coldwater can’t let the Fillory books go. Though he’s a senior in high school, he longs for the adventure and magic found in the fantasy realm of Fillory. But Quentin’s life takes a drastic turn when he is recruited by Brakebills, a wizard college in Upstate New York, and discovers that the world of Fillory may not be just a story. The adventure continues in the sequel, “The Magician King.”
“Suffer ye not the life of a witch…” this is the main tenant of the Eodorian faith. Those that hear the songs of the earth must suffer death by burning. In “Songs of the Earth,” by Elspeth Cooper, Gair has heard the song since he was a child. He knows the dangers of using the magic of the song, and yet, he cannot resist. When he is caught and convicted of being a witch, a reprieve from the Rede saves him from the fires, only to brand him and exile him from his home and faith. Marked a witch, Gair leaves his past behind to seek out a place with the Guardians of the Veil, those who hear the song just as he does. As Gair discovers the full span of the powers within him, he uncovers a plot that may tear the world as he knows it to sunder, unless he can find a way to stop it.