Love paranormal or fantasy fiction, or a little of both? Here are 6 paranormal & fantasy books that you can lose yourself in.
”Tom and Lovey: Under the Moon Into the Wood” is a paranormal fantasy novel written by G.R. Jerry. Lovey is on a ten-year mission to avenge the death of her man, Bill. He was brutally sacrificed by the local lawman, a devilish fellow who goes by the name of Stargut. The sacrifice is a necessary part of his mission to create the perfect man-beast. Meanwhile, Lovey’s best friend, Patty, seems to be under some type of spell, and abandons her night after night.
In the midst of all of this, a stranger by the name of Tom arrives and moves in next door. He calls himself a preacher of sorts. At first, Lovey has no idea that he is much older than he first appears. He has been following the scent evil for a hundred years.
Now, Tom has arrived in the Village of Wrong, a rural town in the Midwest, to deal with its mutant inhabitants, mere creations of Stargut, known as “friends of the wood.” In the end, Tom, Lovey, and Patty will converge under the moonlight into the wood down by the river at the doorsteps of hell to face none other but the devil himself.
“Tom and Lovey” is a finely-crafted narrative in which the reader is spared no gory details. This book is not for the feint of heart. G.R. Jerry’s imagination is on full display throughout the book. The world building which he does is captivating and colorful. The Village of Wrong seems like it could be a real place that you hope you never pass through.
The characters in this book are definitely memorable. Tom and Lovey are well-written characters, and Tom’s backstory in particular is highly detailed. Every character is interesting and described well enough to see them clearly in your mind. This is definitely a strength of the book. It’s a character-driven story and the backdrop is well-done, as well.
The ending is somewhat predictable by what is written on the back cover. But there are definitely some twists and turns throughout the plot that I didn’t expect. There are a couple of things towards the end of the book that confused me a bit, but being paranormal fantasy, you do have to set aside your disbelief. Things that may have happened might no longer happen if the original cause is erased, for example. I won’t spoil much more than that in this review.
My honest opinion is that there is enough material in this novel to become the basis of a television mini-series or film series. This story deserves that level of treatment, as there is so much to tell in this book that it wouldn’t fit into a single two-hour feature film. I would definitely enjoy watching this story unfold on a television screen.
As for what it is as a book, “Tom and Lovey” is definitely a page-turner. The beauty of it is that it was playing out in my head like a film, and those are the types of books that I love. This is not my first experience with paranormal fantasy as a genre. But, it is the first paranormal fantasy novel that I’ve read from cover to cover. It is well worth the read. The characters keep you interested, and while I could see sort of where the story was going, I closed the book wishing for more. That’s always a good thing.
”Tom and Lovey: Under the Moon Into the Wood” is available in paperback from Amazon.
*I received a free review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review is in no way influenced by any outside sources. No other compensation was received for this review.
by Joshua Packard, Fullness of Happy
I just finished reading Book 7 of the "Harry Potter" series by British author J. K. Rowling. Overall, I think I would describe the stories as tedious and long winded, but ultimately delightful and satisfying. The series of very long child and young adult friendly novels is about the secret world of magic, wizards and witches, and the years they spend studying their magical craft and talents in the schools of wizardry and witchcraft, under the noses of the largely non-magical "Muggles", who are unaware of their existence for the most part.
Rowling's story is mostly set in the British magical school called Hogwart's. It begins with title character Harry Potter being put under the beastly care of his vicious aunt and uncle in law, after his parents are murdered by the evil and power hungry sorcerer Lord Voldemort, constantly referred to as He Who Must Not Be Named. Potter is notified that he is a wizard and will be attending the school of Hogwart's, which is under the management of noble wizard Dumbledore. Each of the novels describes the events of one year of time at the school, as various professors and fellow students are introduced and the progress of their education in the magical arts is elaborated.
As the books progress, there is unfolded a plot of very sinister plans of the attempted return of the evil Lord Voldemort, and his scheme to create a world of Pure blood wizards and witches and the subjugation, eradication, and extermination of all non magical Mudblood and Muggle humans. The story essentially lays out a plot similar to the history of Eugenics, racial "cleansing", and other genocidal movements in the real life history of Earth. It turns out that Harry Potter is the one destined to end the evil plans of Voldemort once and for all. Helped by his friends, especially Ron and Muggle born Hermione, he seeks to understand the forces at work in this epic battle between the powers of evil and good, and figure out how to end the oppression that is taking grip over the world.
There are many characters, and they are believable and interesting. I particularly like the character of Hermione, who although born of non magical human parents, is very talented in the magical arts and very astute. She loves to study, learn, read, and gain knowledge, and plays a very important role in the story and her intelligence and wisdom are very necessary to the success of Potter and his friends and allies.
There is a great deal of mischief and elucidation of the various spells, jinxes, hexes, curses, and other magical objects and works that are available to the wizarding world. There is humor and silliness in abundance throughout, even as the plot begins to thicken and the story becomes more and more dark and the situation becomes very dire and dangerous in the later volumes of the series.
The books are very long, some volumes extending to over 700 or even 800 pages, and, to be honest, at some points it is tedious and boring. I would say that the plot starts to become more interesting around the end of Book 4 (Goblet of Fire) and the beginning of Book 5 (Order of the Phoenix), but there is a lot of development of various characters, magical spells and lore, and there is a lot of dawdling and elucidation of typical nonchalant casual events and dialogue. I won't say it is unnecessary to the story. I think it helps to change the pace of the story so that when it gets interesting, you are rapt with attention, and as I got into the later books, I really wanted to know what sort of twists and surprises were in store. There are a lot of secrets to uncover, quests to conquer, and mysteries to solve, and by the end, the tapestry of all this mystery and adventuring is brought to what I consider a fairly satisfying conclusion and wrap up.
When I began to read these stories, I only did so because they were extremely popular, especially amongst young children and adolescents, and I wanted to see what the big deal was. For the first few books, I felt like I was wasting my time, but as I delved further into the series, lent to me by a long time friend of mine, I began to notice that the story was more compelling and the theme more epic than I could have expected. Although I do not think the Potter series rises to the level of other fantasy stories written by British authors such as "Lord of the Rings" by Tolkien, and "Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis, the Potter story was very intelligent and compelling. It is not just a popular story. It has been woven into the fabric of English literature and world culture, having been translated into many languages. It is a good demonstration of the power of universal love and critique of the evils of Eugenics ideologies and the philosophy and theology of genocide and racism. If you do decide to start reading, I hope you don't get bogged down in some of the sections where the action drags on. It is worth it to slog through the slow parts and ultimately read it to its dramatic conclusion.
At the time of this writing, I have only seen the first four films. I might update this after watching the rest. The only big criticism I have of the movies so far is that there can seem to be a tendency on the part of many of the actors, particularly the extras and minor characters, to overact their parts. But it is OK, I think. The story, while serious in many ways, has its elements and threads of comedy and silliness, which probably anyone acting in would have the tendency to overdo. I expect that the rest of the films are even better, and become more interesting as much as the books progress in their intrigue and ability to grab the attention of the reader. Also, the films have great special effects and visual profundity and beauty and imagination-inspired. The visual effects bring the text to life in a wonderful way. And the sound and music is well composed.
If you decide to read the books or watch the films, and I recommend both, as a result of reading this review, I hope that by the end you do not regret having done so.
You can find the complete series of Harry Potter books, as well as the Harry Potter movies on Amazon.
by Joshua Packard, Fullness of Happy
Finally, I have finished reading the original Sword of Shannara Trilogy and the followup quadrilogy, “The Heritage of Shannara”. There is a story behind how I was introduced to these novels by Terry Brooks. When I was in 4th grade or so, I was really into the Goosebumps books. I would read really fast, often reading a whole book in a single night. My aunt noticed I read really fast and recommended I read the Shannara books, of which she had the first 7 volumes. At this time, these were the largest books I had ever tried to read, with the first book “The Sword of Shannara” being over 700 pages. It took me a long time to read the first book, and I found that I often would read 20 pages and not remember anything that had happened in them, and have to backtrack to concentrate on them. My reading comprehension skills were very poor for a long time. But these books challenged me, excited, and inspired me. I read the first three books, doing a book report on the second one, and my favorite of the series, “The Elfstones of Shannara” for an 8th grade English paper. Years later, about a few years ago, I decided to read them again and try to break into the followup four book series “The Heritage of Shannara”. I got into the second volume of this series “The Druid of Shannara” and put it down, having lots of other reading to do. Once again, a year or so later, I picked them back up, rereading from the beginning and finally tonight, finishing the last book of those I am reviewing here.
The Shannara series is a fantasy series, being something like Tolkien's “Lord of the Rings”, including elves, dwarves, magic, demons, and sword-fighting. While I enjoy Terry Brooks fantasy world, I find that Tolkien is far better. But Brooks is very good to read, in my view. I know some people who do not like his writing, but I enjoy it. The plot is essentially about the powers of magic, and the use or misuse of magic. That is the theme that runs throughout the series. Essentially, an order of Druids who practice and develop magical powers, is split, where one druid seeks to much power and is corrupted with the power they use and try to destroy the world and rule it. It is somewhat like the Darth Vader and Sith storyline from Star Wars, but this is not an interstellar galactic empire, but a world-bound army where there is no advanced technology, mostly medieval level society and there is magic.
But the series follows the adventures of members of a certain family, the Ohmsfords, who are partially descended from the race of Elves which has power of magic. Each volume find the Four Lands of Shannara threatened by some kind of evil, demonic, destructive force or character, and the druid Allanon charges a certain descendant of the Ohmsford, to go on a quest to stop this danger. Often the characters bounce all over the world, of which there is a map at the beginning of each novel, kind of like Lord of the Rings, but totally new, seeking out magical items and weapons and recruiting help along the way as the ever doubtful protagonists seek to bring peace and harmony back into the threatened land of Shannara.
Terry Brooks is someone whom I find to be very eloquent in his descriptions of setting, characters, and action. Especially in “The Elfstones of Shannara”, his portrayal and descriptions of battle scenes are very exciting, fast paced and visually imaginative. Whenever he described the setting or scenery or action sequences, I have a very vivid idea in my mind of what the scene looks like, what the characters are doing, and the psychological state of the characters are. The characters are all believable. There is a great variety of characters, and they are easily recognizable and distinguishable. Many of the characters are very likable, and there were feelings of devastation in my soul when certain very important characters are suddenly slain or die, sacrificing themselves to save others and keep the quest going until it is finished. There are some interesting plot twists, and the lore and background story behind the state of the world and the battle between the good magic and lust for power through destructive magic is intriguing.
One thing I would like to gladly note is that there is a “Shannara” TV series in production, which will be aired on MTV. The first season is going to cover the second book “The Elfstones of Shannara”, which I mentioned before, is my favorite in the series. I expect this will be very good, and I hope you obtain copies of these books, and enjoy them very much. I liked it, and I hope you like it as much as I did. You might not, but at least give the first book a try, and you'll get a good idea soon of whether you like the book or the author or not. The list below this review is the order in which the books should be read, just so you know.
“The Sword of Shannara”
“The Elfstones of Shannara”
“The Wishsong of Shannara”
The Heritage of Shannara:
“The Scions of Shannara”
“The Druid of Shannara”
“The Elf Queen of Shannara”
“The Talismans of Shannara”