And in the same issue of PW's Children's Bookshelf, I read that YA authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong will collaborate on a new MG trilogy about three 12-year-olds descended from Norse gods who have to stop the impending apocalypse. Sounds cool, no? Book one is scheduled for spring 2013 and I can't wait!
Clearly, MG is the new YA. Publishers must have been reading all of our MMGM blogs! (heh heh)
Now onto today's MMGM recommendation:
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud (published by Disney-Hyperion, and I'd say it's fine for ages 10 to 14, although some websites say young adult and some websites say 9 to 12!)
Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand (originally published in hardcover in 2003)
And I have to admit I like that original cover better than this newer cover:
I think that's supposed to be Bartimaeus, but, man, it's a tough sell. That's one scary-looking creature!
Book Two: The Golem's Eye (2004)
Book Three: Ptolemy's Gate (2005)
All are available in paperback, of course, and as a three-book paperback boxed set (pubbed Sept 2010). To see all the cool foreign covers, visit the author's website.
In the first book, Nathaniel is an eleven-year-old magician's apprentice. Teased by a nasty magician named Simon Lovelace, Nathaniel (who thinks he knows magic) wants revenge. So he calls up an ancient djinni named Bartimaeus, but then he can't control him! Nathaniel sends Bartimaeus to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand and finds himself caught up in a web of magic, intrigue and murder.
As the trilogy progresses, Nathaniel grows up. In Book Two, he's 14 and learning more and more magic. Now a clay golem is wreaking havoc on London. Nathaniel and Bartimaeus must figure out the source of its power.
In Book Three, Nathaniel turns 17 and takes a job at Parliament. Britain's at war, London's under attack, and the commoners are rebelling. To top it off, Bartimaeus is growing weak from spending too much time in the human world. Nathaniel's longtime rival, Kitty, has been quietly working on a project to dissolve the hostility between humans and djinn. Will Nathaniel help her? And will he realize what he's doing to Bartimaeus before it's too late?
Why I liked it:
Set in an alternative London (magicians run Parliament), this is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a trilogy. The writing is brilliant, imaginative, and rich in detail. Chapters about Nathaniel are written in third person, interspersed with first-person chapters from Bartimaeus's point of view. And trust me: Bartimaeus has all the funniest lines (anyone remember the genie voiced by Robin Williams in Disney's Aladdin? That was who I pictured as I read this). But these books are not all fun and games. In fact, the ending of the trilogy is pretty intense. On the whole, this three-book set is definitely worth owning. Filled with action, adventure, and magic, The Bartimaeus Trilogy would be enjoyed by fans of Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter.
Note that there is a new prequel to the trilogy, Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon (Hyperion, Nov 10, 2010) but I haven't read it.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Whitney Messenger. Go see what she's up to.
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Ally Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael G-G at Middle Grade Mafioso
Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think? And if not, what middle grade marvels have you read recently?