Category Archives: Fantasy

368M: Mysterious Archipelago

I’ve been looking for a book, but have been unable to find it – I believe it’s because I can’t remember any sufficiently specific keywords, but it’s also possible that I made the whole thing up. 
Context : it’s an early chapter book (see: Secrets of Droon, Fairy Realm) I would have read this somewhere between 2003-2010, but probably 2005-2006. This is part of a series of books, and I believe it’s the last one – probably the third or fourth book in the series. 
Physical description: I think it’s about 200-300 pages long, and I had it probably in a paperback, which I almost certainly got from the library. I think the cover was light (maybe a white background?) with some bright colors, and I distinctly remember both the cover art and the illustrations having a sparse, low-fi, doodle-y style. One of the things I remember best is that all the books had maps in the front, which I think were in black and white – this particular map shows the mythical islands where most of the story takes place, and I learned the word “archipelago” while reading it. It’s possible that the author was from the U.K., based on the vibes of the place names. 
Plot description: It’s a fantasy series (all the characters come from a fairly generic, medieval-y world, definitely none come from our world through a portal or anything). It features a young, plucky heroine, who is now a seasoned adventurer (despite her humble origins in the beginning of the series). She might have some kind of professional title (possibly “Royal Adventurer” or something of that ilk) – I’m pretty sure the first book in the series involves her being sent (or sending herself) to slay a dragon, but instead befriending it. I think at some point, she’s illustrated with curly, light-colored hair, wearing a horned helmet and an oversized chainmail shirt (possibly found in the dragon’s hoard?). In this book, she is caught in a storm (while flying on the dragon? Or perhaps in a boat? Did she sail into it on purpose?) and becomes stranded on an island that seemed to be part of myth (diegetically- she had found a partially destroyed map with some clues on it, while searching for some MacGuffin, which involved some kind of powerful object or noble person who had disappeared under unusual circumstances). On this island, there are people who might be mages of some sort, who heal her injuries, fix up her mode of transportation, and give her soft robes to wear – kind of a Calypso/ spa kind of thing. I think these people are also tall and unusually beautiful in some way. They have some kind of communal ritual involving music/singing, which maybe also controls the weather (possibly maintaining the storm that the heroine was caught in initially). It’s clear that the island is way better than the place that the heroine comes from (delicious food, clear crystalline water, warm weather, birds singing, what-have-you) and the people want to protect it or something. The heroine is then able to explore the archipelago and finds a resolution to her initial quest/MacGuffin. The people on the island offer the heroine a permanent place in their luxurious hidden society (are they trying to hide something suspicious, or rewarding her valor? Maybe they’re just like that) but she feels an obligation to the people who sent her on her initial quest, and so returns home. After this, she feels that her adventuring days have come to an end, and retires in a hilly place with sheep and apples. If she has a dragon, it might live in her barn or otherwise nearby. The place might have a whimsical, Irish-sounding name, like “Winsey”. 

368E: The Witch’s Apprentice (Solved!)

I’m trying to recover an illustrated children’s book from before 2005 or so. It was hardback, with a green cover, I believe. The illustration style was quite unique and lovely, almost Celtic? Lots of green. The main crux of the book was an alchemist/witch and her apprentice who she sends into the woods to gather needed ingredients for a potion or spell. It took place primarily in the forest, and one of the ingredients I remember was a specific type of mushroom. Other tasks involved something in a marsh/swamp, and maybe something about flying creatures? But what I remember most was the alchemist/witch. She had long dark hair. 

367W: The Undead Fetus

A male news reporter finds his pregnant wife dead. He is attacked and ends up in hospital. The police tell him the fetus is missing/stolen. He comes back home to find the fetus there. He buries it, but it crawls back out. His wife turns out to be an ancient god. There’s a cyclops. The town has a Halloween parade.

367T: Fantasy creatures sing boy to sleep, get stolen, then rescued

I am looking for a children’s picture book from the late 1970s, early 1980s. The book was on natural/beige paper with brown line drawings. The story was a fantasy where a young boy lives in a small cottage. Every night, flying creatures (birds? harpy-like things?) fly over his home and sing him to sleep. Possibly as the sun sets. They sing the same song every night. The lyrics were along the lines of “Remember my friend of the song of your heart. Remember my friend, for the rest of your life. Love conquers all, for it never grows dim. Love conquers all, for all time”. The book came with a cassette tape and my siblings and I could probably hum the song to this day. One night, the bird things don’t come and sing. The boy gets worried. He hears knocking at his door or window. It is a talking animal or non-human of some sort. He hears that the local monster thing that lives in a cave or mountain through the woods has stolen the bird things and plans to eat them and/or make them sing only for him. The boy says, “We must get them back. We must!”. The boy climbs on the back of a horse or four-legged animal and they race through the woods to the cave/mountain. The boy sneaks into the cave where the bird things are in cages. He releases them somehow and they escape. Not sure what happens to the monster thing. The book ends as the bird things once again fly over his house and sing him to sleep. I want to say that the monster thing is a Gorgon but I’ve maybe conflated Greek myths later on with this early fantasy children’s book. Or, it is a really well known adaptation and this will be an easy solve.

367S: Falling for the Prince of Fae

Contested Fae Romance YA fantasy novel I read in library between 1994 and 2000. Protagonist girl falls for cold and intriguing guy (maybe named Percival? Parsifal?), finds out he’s the prince of Fae and his mother does not consent to their relationship. At some point mortal protagonist saves him or the mother AND him from iron-related trap, thus earning her respect. Cover had small pointy leaves on left side.

367R: The Odd Fae Child

I read this book about 20+ years ago when I was Junior High in the US. It was about this guy who fell in love with a woman from a fae race I believe? I honestly don’t remember that much about it except I think the cover had some art but was green in binding. They had some sort of huge struggle with a type of villain and they ended up together and pregnant. He thought it would be a normal 9 month pregnant like for humans and her race actually had a 3 year gestation. Their baby was a girl who was very different and inquisitive and wasn’t a normal human child. That’s essentially all I remember. If you could help me find it, I would appreciate it!

367I: A Magical Trip

As a fourth grader in 1980, I had a teacher who kept a personal library of paperback books for us children to read when we were finished with all our other work. I read dozens of books in Mrs. Cohn’s classroom.
So assume this book to be anywhere from 1950s-1970s publication, a novel but fairly short. Things I recall:
There were at least two boys on the trip to another world/realm/dimension which they may have accessed via a cave.
Somehow they were equipped with a small wooden box of sausage and cheese. Intending to conserve their rations, they only ate half of each and discovered upon reopening the box that the food had regenerated to the full, original proportion.
They also had a blanket that would cover them both but fold down to pocket handkerchief sized and a “magic” match that could be struck and used again and again and even be stuck in a crevice and (perhaps rotated?) to become bright as a torch.
In one scene they passed a gangrel/beggar/wastrel on the road and as he came toward them he morphed into a well-clad, upright gentleman with a sandwich board or a handbell and advertised some type of ware or service and upon passing, returned to his former low state.

367A: “Meddlers”

I seek a book about a young boy who wakes up in a cave, has night vision and can see “Strings” of fate. Race is called Meddlers, and he’s being hunted due to their laws: “It is law that no meddler may create another meddler.” There’s magic, and the man who’s found him lives in a manor, with a butler named Balfour. He came from Earth, and has an “archive” of knowledge (which is really just a computer) since the Earth was dying. The boy goes and tries to save Earth, starting in the past and eventually succeeding.