Magic in the Air

Me and Lauren (@Cozifan on twitter) were discussing fantasy novels, and we rather got the idea that I should do a post on my favorite fantasy novels. Now, let me start off with saying, I am by no means an expert. Will you actually believe, I didn't read a single fantasy novel until this year? And I didn't even really know anything about LOTR?! It seems like such a dark and empty period of my life....kidding! A little....
Now, note, this isn't a list from favorites to least favorites, but from my first Fantasy read to my last fantasy read. 
So, I plug in my headphones and turn Blackmore's Night up to an indecent volume (I'll be deaf early...) and I'll try not to do a wild gypsy dance while writing this, but if you get an unexplainable typo, You'll bjkds know why. ;)
I start off with Robin McKinley's novel 'Chalice' for a very special reason.  It was my first Fantasy novel, and plunged me into this crazy love of the genre.
My Mom (Shocker to me, since she has always expressed a dislike of Fantasy) picked it up at the library and asked me if I thought it would be fine for my 8 year old sister.

Mirasol is a beekeeper, a honey-gatherer, with an ability to speak to the ÒearthlinesÓÑthe sentient parts of Willowlands, where she lives. The concerns of Master, Chalice, and Circle, who govern Willowlands, have nothing to do with herÑuntil the current Master and Chalice die in a fire and leave no heirs to take their places. The Master's closest relative has been a priest of Fire for the past seven years; he is not quite human anymore. And then the Circle comes to Marisol and tells her that she is the new Chalice, and it will be up to her to bind the land and its people with a Master, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone. . . .

I wasn't quite sure whether it was suitable for a young reader, so I checked it out myself, telling her I'd read it and see. 
And thus began such heart rips, and heart breaks, and feels, and "Ohmigosh I can't EVEN"s.
It was beautiful. And more beautiful. And lovely. And The Master was beautiful. And mysterious and even more beautiful. I cried when I finished it, because it was OVER, and I didn't want it to be done. I clutched it to my heart, and traced the Master's name, and kissed the pages. 
For weeks, all I could talk about was how wonderful The Master was, and how perfect everything in it was.  I probably drove my brothers to near insanity by my countless breathless sighs, and never ending speeches about how beautiful The Master was. 
 I had found something more precious then any other novel I'd stuck my nose into.   It was aimed for an older crowd, and while my little sister couldn't read it, I did. twice. Before having to return it.  And to this day, while I love LOTR, The Inheritance Cycle, and many others, none take the place that Chalice sits in.  It was my first, it was the key to a door of wonder and magic and OHMIGOSH FEELS. 
I slid it across the return desk, with a heavy heart, and a lingering touch, and have yet to get my own copy.  I have it on my Paperbackswap wish list, but it seems no one is willing to list their up there.  So..uh....If anyone has a copy of Chalice just laying around your house, please list it on Paperbackswap.  I'll scream and giggle and dance around, saying lunatic things about a man who's touch alone can burn flesh. 
You'd make me a very happy girl.

The Redwall series was the next stop in my Fantasy journey, which was a lovely stop indeed.  Brian Jacques has risen to be one of my favorite Authors of all times.  He was such a talented man, the prose and poetry of his stories, the complete whimsical ness of them, the simple beauty of everything, it was like a breath of fresh air.   Who ever knew that Mice could be more delightful to read about then Men? Badgers have gained a special place in my heart, and Moles just give me warm fuzzies. (I can speak in Mole speech, so there. I do it quite frequently, and 'ardly a soul can understand me).   I was so happy when I discovered the whole set all standing together on our library shelfs, and I quickly snatched up as many as a could, reading nothing else but them for a good couple of months.
Redwall isn't just a story that stays with you, you stay with it.  I left a piece of my heart at the good abbey, and a piece at Salamandstron, and a good bit all scattered round about the fair world that it was set in.  It was another story that made me cry when I closed the final book's final page.  I grow homesick for good ol' Redwall with it's Moles and "Wot Wot!" Hares, and meals that never passed without a laugh.
Can I share a secret with you guys? Thank you.
There was so much mention of food, and the descriptions of thus said food were always so appetizing (Even though in real life, who would dare eat such animal fodder?) that my appetite went up.  I have never been a big eater, and when we go to Sonny's, I can never finish my plate, but have to bring a doggie bag home. Nope. Not with Redwall. We went to Sonny's, and I ate all of my food, then proceeded to finish off everyone's else. My family gave me weird looks as I stuffed my face in a way that probably shockingly resembled a Rabbit's feast. I just couldn't stop. So, if you plan on reading Redwall, make sure your pantry is well stocked, and some good Otter Soup (I seriously want to try Otter Hot Root soup....) wouldn't harm you either.

Most of you have probably read this series, so I'm not going to go into detail about the summary or anything.
It was my first step into the Dragon world, and I can't read books where they picture Dragons as just animals without feeling a little ticked.
"Dragons are sentient beings!!!" My soul cries.
I ended the first book a little....badly. I hated Eragon for killing Durza, the second book was spent pretty much still hating him, picking at every flaw of his, and just being an all around sour puss.  But, by the time I reached the third book, I realized, Durza was dead, I needed to let him go.  Eragon is the hero after all.   And, I liked him much better, I was able to see his good points. While Durza still yet remains my favorite, I like Eragon too.
I am now obbsessed with all things Dragon and I've been known to say "Brsinger!" in futile hopes of something actually happening.  I'll let you know once I master it.  I'm still trying to get the hang of my force push.

"As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
 Unless Floyd and Grady can make them believe.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever."

A fantasy novel set in a world a lot like the Southern USA's Backwoods?  It rolled out in a very interesting way, indeed.
The Charlatan's boy helped me realize how much I wished to roll around in a cart, peddling false wares, and selling lies, an unchristian occupation, I know, but entertaining all the same.
One moment, it would have you rolling on the floor laughing, and the next, you'd be reaching for the kleenex box.  This Emotional Roller Coaster remains one of my fond favorites.
Grady is a rememberable character, and you wish to just take him up in a hug, and wash all the grime from his face, and give him a home where he can have love, and a family.
I cried in the ending, because it was just so beautiful. It was just so sweet and lovely, and just perfect.
This book is one of the strangest Fantasies I've yet to read, it was weird and quirky, yet, it was perfect.
In it's own, quirky, funky, and unique way.

And here we come to the series I know you all were waiting to hear me mention.  I feel like I have 'arrived' now that I have read LOTR.  You know when you open a book, and you know you are about to begin a beautiful and amazing journey? Thats how I felt as I cracked this open, gently touched the pages, and took my first step on the road that goes on and on. 
I am now a whole hearted fan of All things Tolkien, I want to learn Elvish, I can't decide whether Aragorn or Legolas is the more beautiful man, I get Arwen/Aragorn feels daily, and I have decided I want to be just like Eowyn when I grow up. I hum the song and talk about Potatos and Second Breakfasts, and I say, "Don't tell the Elf" as well as "It Still only counts as one!".

A Prince is returning from a long war, on the ride home, he meets a milk maid, kisses her, and they fall quickly in love.  They go their separate ways, yet their feelings are so strong, they cannot forget each other, and before the week has ended the Prince returns to her, falling on his knee, and pleads with her to become his Princess.  Her family is quite overjoyed at the good luck befallen their daughter, and the marriage is arranged, quickly and they live happily ever after.
No, scratch that, it actually goes quite this way: 
A Prince is returning home from a tediously long war.  On the ride home, he, in the flurry of the moment, kisses a milk maid hanging out the clothes.  Rather embarressed, they both try to forget the happening.  He returns home, and yet feels terrible for his action of kissing her.  He returns to her, since he considers it his duty to give her the offer of marriage, and yet he hopes beyond all hopes that she says no. Her Father sets him on a course of seemingly impossible quests in order to prove his character, and it just goes downhill from there.
Almost downhill.
Like 'The Charlatan's Boy', Everard is a dramatically hilariously quirky tale.It takes what we thought of fairytale, and makes you think again.  It has a dragon, a giant, an enchantress, and a Prince who played dead. A Giant sea monster, and a pearl of great price. It has romance, it has quests and journeys, friends and duels, treason and trust.
It's really a marvelous Book. 
It's written by Chautona Havig, by the way. You should buy it, by the way take 2.
 (Read my review of it HERE)

Fantasy has become a part of my life, a special one, I halfway believe in Dragons and Unicorns, I wish to someday peer through bushes and find a faerie, and retrieve an arrow for an Elf. Perhaps I might find a Nazgul, or a Fire Priest. Perhaps I'll stumble upon a mini Mouse Abbey in a meadow, or a Badger Mountain. Someday, I want to get a Dragon tattoo on my palm in hopes that I will someday utter "Brsinger" and it actually works.  And I dress in Medieval clothes and call myself Lady Lithoniel (the Elvish translation of Ashley).  I wish I had read Fantasy sooner, but I'm glad I did before it grew later.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Yes, I should be writing my NaNo novel. I reached 24K, WOOWOOO!!!!!

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