I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . .
By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me.
The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”
This “splendid story” by the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Hero and the Crown has been named an ALA Notable Book and a Phoenix Award Honor Book (Publishers Weekly).
Aerin is an outcast in her own father’s court, daughter of the foreign woman who, it was rumored, was a witch, and enchanted the king to marry her.
She makes friends with her father’s lame, retired warhorse, Talat, and discovers an old, overlooked, and dangerously imprecise recipe for dragon-fire-proof ointment in a dusty corner of her father’s library. Two years, many canter circles to the left to strengthen Talat’s weak leg, and many burnt twigs (and a few fingers) secretly experimenting with the ointment recipe later, Aerin is present when someone comes from an outlying village to report a marauding dragon to the king. Aerin slips off alone to fetch her horse, her sword, and her fireproof ointment . . .
But modern dragons, while formidable opponents fully capable of killing a human being, are small and accounted vermin. There is no honor in killing dragons. The great dragons are a tale out of ancient history.
That is, until the day that the king is riding out at the head of an army. A weary man on an exhausted horse staggers into the courtyard where the king’s troop is assembled: “The Black Dragon has come . . . Maur, who has not been seen for generations, the last of the great dragons, great as a mountain. Maur has awakened.”
Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant had three daughters. When his business failed, he moved his daughters to the countryside. The youngest daughter, Beauty, is fascinated by the thorny stems of a mysterious plant that overwhelms their neglected cottage. She tends the plant until it blossoms with the most beautiful flowers the sisters have ever seen—roses.
Admiring the roses, an old woman tells Beauty, “Roses are for love.” And she speaks of a sorcerers’ battle many years ago that left a beast in an enchanted palace, and a curse concerning a family of three sisters . . .
The Newbery Medal–winning author’s charming retelling of the classic fairy tale weaves a tangled story of sorcery, loyalty, and love that is sure to cast a spell on readers.
Robin McKinley returns to the mythical setting of The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword in this “thrilling, satisfying, and thought-provoking collection” featuring two stories set in the world of Damar, plus three other fantasy tales featuring adventurous, pragmatic, and heroic young women (Publishers Weekly).
There’s mute Lily, in “The Healer,” who has the power to help others, and receives a startling opportunity to find her voice when a mysterious mage stumbles into town. And Queen Ruen, who is at the mercy of a power-hungry uncle until she encounters a shape-changer in “The Stagman.” In “Touk’s House,” a maiden who has grown up with a witch and a troll has a chance to become a princess, but she must decide whether she would really live happily ever after. When a curse follows Coral to her new husband’s farm in “Buttercups,” the pair has a choice: Succumb to defeat or find a way to turn a disastrous enchantment into a fruitful new venture.
Finally, travel to upstate New York with Annabelle. In the title story, her family moves shortly after her sixteenth birthday, and just as she starts to adjust to her new life in a small town, a plan to build a superhighway threatens her new home. But a strange box hidden in a secret attic in the new house may be the answer. This is a delightful assortment of tales from an author with “a remarkable talent for melding the real and the magical into a single, believable whole” (Booklist).
Harry Crewe is a Homelander orphan girl, come to live in Damar from over the seas. She is drawn to the bleak landscape, so unlike the green hills of her Homeland. She wishes she might cross the sands and climb the dark mountains where no Homelander has ever set foot, where the last of the old Damarians, the Free Hillfolk, live.
Corlath is the golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the legendary Lady Aerin. When he arrives in Harry’s town to ally with the Homelanders against a common enemy, he never expects to set Harry’s destiny in motion: She will ride into battle as a King’s Rider, bearing the Blue Sword, the great mythical treasure, which no one has wielded since Lady Aerin herself.
Legends and myths, no matter how epic, no matter how magical, all begin somewhere.
Although it had been mostly deserted since the Voodoo Wars, there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years. Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, head baker at her family’s busy and popular café in downtown New Arcadia, needed a place to get away from all the noise and confusion—of the clientele and her family. Just for a few hours. Just to be able to hear herself think.
She knew about the Others, of course. Everyone did. And several of her family’s best regular customers were from SOF—Special Other Forces—which had been created to deal with the threat and the danger of the Others.
She drove out to her family’s old lakeside cabin and sat on the porch, swinging her feet and enjoying the silence and the silver moonlight on the water.
She never heard them coming. Of course, you don’t when they’re vampires.
Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sookie Stackhouse will cheer for this tough and quirky heroine. In Sunshine, which won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, McKinley has a vampire novel that is “a smart, funny tale of suspense and romance” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Princess Lissla Lissar is the only child of the king and his queen, who was the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms. Everyone loved the splendid king and his matchless queen so much that no one had any attention to spare for the princess, who grew up in seclusion, listening to the tales her nursemaid told about her magnificent parents.
But the queen takes ill of a mysterious wasting disease and on her deathbed extracts a strange promise from her husband: “I want you to promise me . . . you will only marry someone as beautiful as I was.”
The king is crazy with grief at her loss, and slow to regain both his wits and his strength. But on Lissar’s seventeenth birthday, two years after the queen’s death, there is a grand ball, and everyone present looks at the princess in astonishment and whispers to their neighbors, How like her mother she is!
On the day after the ball, the king announces that he is to marry again—and that his bride is the princess Lissla Lissar, his own daughter.
Lissar, physically broken, half mad, and terrified, flees her father’s lust with her one loyal friend, her sighthound, Ash. It is the beginning of winter as they journey into the mountains—and on the night when it begins to snow, they find a tiny, deserted cabin with the makings of a fire ready-laid in the hearth.
Thus begins Lissar’s long, profound, and demanding journey away from treachery and pain and horror, to trust and love and healing.
Young Robin Longbow, subapprentice forester in the King’s Forest of Nottingham, must contend with the dislike of the Chief Forester, who bullies Robin in memory of his popular father. But Robin does not want to leave Nottingham or lose the title to his father’s small tenancy, because he is in love with a young lady named Marian—and keeps remembering that his mother too was gentry and married a common forester.
Robin has been granted a rare holiday to go to the Nottingham Fair, where he will spend the day with his friends Much and Marian. But he is ambushed by a group of the Chief Forester’s cronies, who challenge him to an archery contest . . . and he accidentally kills one of them in self-defense.
He knows his own life is forfeit. But Much and Marian convince him that perhaps his personal catastrophe is also an opportunity: an opportunity for a few stubborn Saxons to gather together in the secret heart of Sherwood Forest and strike back against the arrogance and injustice of the Norman overlords.
And then the Circle come to Mirasol, to tell her that she has been chosen to be the new Chalice; and the Master she must learn to work with is a Priest of Fire, a man no longer quite human, whose touch can burn human flesh to the bone.