With temperatures down, and entertainment options becoming more and more—homegrown, let's say—it's a good time to catch up on that new-to-you material that aligns with your interests. Here are two of those lesser-known but deserving properties, marketed toward youth. For those of you who were sold on The Secret of NIMH, Redwall, and everything in between, at first view.
The Mistmantle Chronicles by M.I. McAllister has jacket flaps that compare it to The Wind In The Willows and Watership Down, although as you can see from the first installment's cover, there's much more of a Redwall yen in this series. As they say, though, DON'T judge a book by its cover, as the experiences of brave squirrel Urchin on the titular island carry their own identity. This flies in the face of origins that speak to many favorite role-playing games, as he evolves from his discovery on an empty beach to his eventual destiny in foiling a royal coup.
Camaraderie and species characteristics also run heavy in this, as in Redwall, however there is a noticeable amount of personification of reactive emotion and atmosphere as well, where dread and evil are given concrete outlines. Given my frequent mention of the property in the paragraph, you can gather the audience to which Mistmantle speaks. Dig on into this if you're part of that audience, since Miramax has purchased movie rights [albeit in 2004], and some sort of photo-play is probably not far off.
Another book series we came across: Dragon Mountain by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang. “When 12-year-old Billy Chan finds out his parents are sending him to a summer camp in middle-of-nowhere China, he doesn’t know what to expect. There he meets fellow campers Dylan, Charlotte, and Ling-Fei, and together they stumble upon an age-old secret: Four powerful warrior dragons, hidden deep within the mountain behind the camp. They have been trapped since an epic battle with the Dragon of Death and need the children’s help to set them free before terrible evil is unleashed on the earth. Billy and his friends must set off on a dangerous adventure that will take them to the heart of the Dragon Realm. But can they save the dragon and human worlds from destruction?” Several titles in the series are out now, available in hardcover and paperback.
M.R. Anglin’s author’s page on Amazon.com identifies her as a young Jamaican resident of the U.S.
“Fanfiction” has a particular place in her heart since she started by writing fanfics. She enjoys writing YA and middle grade fiction.
She has a different definition of “fanfics” than most other people, since her amateur fiction is all original, without anyone else’s copyrighted characters in it.
She says on FaceBook about Prelude to War:
Even though the main characters are animals, it is meant for an audience of 13+. I'd consider it Christian (or at least inspirational) fantasy fiction.
I assume that means she considers fiction with talking animals as being for young children; e.g., she is not familiar with furry fiction.
Besides these three Silver Foxes novels, she has written Lucas, Guardian of Truth, a Christian fantasy with a human 11-year-old protagonist. Anglin’s first two Silver Foxes books were self-published through Lulu.com. She has recently transferred them to CreateSpace, and finished the third novel.
This year , I've been working on revising and revamping book 3 in the series for print.
And it is here.
Silver Foxes, by M. R. Anglin, Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com, April 2008, trade paperback $12.00 (134 pages).
Winds of Change, by M. R. Anglin, Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com, June 2009, trade paperback $14.99 (216 pages).
Prelude to War, by M. R. Anglin, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2013, trade paperback $11.99 (viii + 298 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $2.99.
It’s over! This is Book 6 and the conclusion of Jobling’s Wereworld series, which began with Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, and continued through Rage of Lions, Shadow of the Hawk, Nest of Serpents, and Storm of Sharks.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms and their dutchies, counties, and baronies are ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”.
It could also be called the Lyssian civil war saga. The island-continent of Lyssia is divided into seven kingdoms (see Jobling’s map), often called the Seven Realms, dominated by Westland which was ruled by the wolflords.
A generation before the series began, King Wergar of Westland was murdered and the dynasty of the wolves was overthrown by the lionlords, whose leader, Lionel, became the new King of Westland and began exterminating the wolflords. The other six realms of Lyssia, each ruled by a different werelord dynasty – bears, boars, and others – grumbled but accepted the new order.
These are Books 4 and 5 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here in May 2012, and Books 2 and 3, Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, were reviewed in January 2013. The final volume, War of the Werelords, will be published on October 8.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a therian Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.
In Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, the animal nations of Lyssia fall into civil war over whether to acknowledge Drew’s claim to the Westland throne, or whether they should acknowledge any ruling nation rather than declaring their independence; while the supporters of the Lions try to reconquer the whole island-continent. Drew gains allies, but he is betrayed several times, and loses his left hand.
How complex the series has become is shown by Nest of Serpents beginning with a Cast of Characters that takes four pages. Wolflords, Lionlords, Catlords, Staglords, Hawklords, Ratlords, Crowlords, Jackallords, Bearlords, Foxlords, Horselords – you name the animal, and there is probably a werelord for it. (I don’t think there are any Skunklords or Raccoonlords – but those are North American animals, and these are American editions of British books.) And lots of human commoners.
“Wereworld:?Nest?of?Serpents”, Jan.?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xiv]?+?494?+??pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
“Wereworld:?Storm?of?Sharks”, May?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xvi]?+?454?+??pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
Both by Curtis Jobling, published by The Penguin Group/Viking, with a map by the author.
Farmost Star I See Tonight is a mystical, dreamy, touching romantic fantasy for shy teenagers. Whether humans or wolves, ‘omega’ adolescents may feel that they are alone. This novel will help them to see that their troubles are not unique or their fault, and that, even if they have not met them yet, there is someone out there for them.
Rian is a black-furred adolescent wolf and Lissa is white-furred. Otherwise, they are almost identical. Both are shy and lonely members of their packs, blamed by their parents for refusing to socialize, but finding nobody among their peers with whom they can truly be friends. Rian’s father Gull despises him for having no interest in pack dominance battles, and Lissa is left to take care of her younger siblings while her parents bicker and ignore them.
Then, Lissa was left alone in the dark with only her feelings of sorrow, self-hate, and loneliness to sooth her into sleep. (p. 7)
This is one of those officially-Young Adult books (recommended age: 10 to 18) that adults should enjoy equally. Advance reviews are comparing it favorably with Jacques’ Redwall books and “Hunter’s” Warriors books about the talking cat clans.
With the stealth of a warrior, Darrel hopped along a wide branch, tracking the two scouts below. A waterfall roared in the distance, and a tasty-looking fig wasp flitted past.
Darrel ignored a pang of hunger, resisting the urge to shoot his tongue at the wasp for a quick snack.
Dinner could wait until he’d dealt with the enemy. (p. 1)
An Army of Frogs gets off to a rousing start. The back-cover blurb is a good summary:
Darrel, a young frog, dreams of joining the Kulipari, an elite squad of poisonous frog warriors sworn to defend the Amphibilands. Unfortunately, Darrel’s dream is impossible, because he isn’t a poisonous frog and no one’s seen the Kulipari since the last scorpion war, long ago. Anyway, now the frogs’ homeland is protected by the turtle king’s magic. So it no longer needs defending – or does it?
Enter the spider queen, a powerful dreamcaster capable of destroying the turtle king’s protective spell. She and her ally Lord Marmoo, leader of a vicious army of scorpions, are bent on conquering the frogs’ lush homeland. The frogs have never been more vulnerable. Can Daryl save the day and become the warrior of his dreams?
These are Books 2 and 3 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here last May. Viking has ignored my request for review copies, so I had to wait for the Glendale Public Library to get them. Sorry for the delay.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.
Thrown into the Seven Realms’ therianthropic politics whether he wants to be or not, Drew finds friends and allies such as Princess Gretchen, a fox shapeshifter, and Hector the young Boarlord; enemies such as King Leopold and his sadistic son Prince Lucas, and the Ratlord Vankaskan; and those who may be friends or enemies like the dynamically charismatic but utterly untrustworthy Count Vega, the Sharklord.
I can’t believe that nobody on Flayrah has mentioned Curtis Jobling’s Wereworld Young Adult books yet. Although only the first has been published in America in hardcover so far, they are up to Book 3 in Britain in Puffin UK paperbacks, with Book 4 due in June, and the next two announced for January and June 2013. The British edition of Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf was published in January 2011.
Werewolf novels have a spotty acceptance in Furry fandom, but the Wereworld series seems designed for us. Its shapeshifters are intelligent, not feral beasts, and live in the Seven Realms of Lyssia, each of which is ruled by a different Werelord: the Werefoxes, Wererats, and so on. The protagonist, sixteen-year-old Drew Ferran, is the last of the Werewolf dynasty of Lyssia, which has recently been “ethnically cleansed” of wolves by the Werelions led by tyrannical King Leopold.
This is a well-told but stereotypical “teenage farmboy in a mythical kingdom learns that he is really a disguised prince and raises a revolution to regain his throne from the cruel usurper who murdered his parents” adventure, with plenty of shapeshifting. Two of Drew’s first allies are the Wereboar Lord Hector and the Werefox Princess Gretchen.