book lists

Monsters.

Middle-Grade:

Amanda Foody, The Accidental Apprentince (2021).

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.”

Kelley Armstrong, A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (2019).

Monster hunting isn’t for the faint of heart!

Twelve-year-old Rowan is next in line to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the rule is, the oldest child is next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her royal monster hunter aunt’s official sword and having tea with dignitaries with her mother, the queen. But a tragic event breaks up longstanding rules, and now Rowan finds herself in hunt of a dangerous gryphon.

Accompanied by a feisty and determined baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, she sets off on a journey that will see her join forces with other unlikely allies: a boy who has ambitions of his own to hunt monsters, and a girl from a nearby clan with hidden motives for befriending Rowan. It will take all of Rowan’s skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this journey on track. The future of the kingdom depends on it.”

Kaela Rivera, Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls (2021).

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.”

Diane Magras, Secret of the Shadow Beasts (2022).

For fans of Dragon Pearl and the Lockwood & Co. series comes a swift-moving contemporary fantasy about a young girl tasked with destroying deadly shadow creatures.

In Brannland, terrifying beasts called Umbrae roam freely once the sun sets, so venomous that a single bite will kill a full-grown adult–and lately, with each day that passes, their population seems to double. The only people who can destroy them are immune children like Nora, who are recruited at the age of seven to leave their families behind and begin training at a retrofitted castle called Noye’s Hill. But despite her immunity, Nora’s father refused to let her go. Now, years after his death by Umbra attack, Nora is twelveand sees her mother almost killed by the monsters too. That’s when Nora decides it’s time for her to join the battle. Once she arrives at Noye’s Hill, though, she and her new friends are left with more questions than answers: Where are the Umbrae coming from? Could the government be covering up the true reason their population has whirled out of control? And was Nora’s father, the peaceful, big-hearted man who refused to let Nora fight, in on the treacherous secret?”

Андрей Жвалевский и Игорь Мытько, Здесь вам не причинят никакого вреда (2006).

Если бы Кинг умел смешить, если бы Пратчетт умел пугать, возможно, они написали бы эту книгу. Или очень похожую – с ужасными созданиями, вызывающими смех, и со смешными людьми, испытывающими ужас. Книгу про страшно/смешной мир. Бойтесь с удовольствием! Здесь вам не причинят никакого вреда.”

Adult:

Sarah Beth Durst, Race the Sands (2020).

In this stand-alone fantasy, Durst introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster-racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth – in Becar, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope – you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok…and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she needs a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win – if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races – and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special.”