Fantasy Books for Boys

posted in: Blog, Book Reviews, Books - Fiction | 7

Fantasy titles today abound on the shelves of bookstores and libraries.  As parents who endeavour to guide and help our readers learn discernment and with a child who has loved fantasy since he first read LOTR aged 10, we have journeyed down an unknown road, at times taking unexpected turns.

Writing this post has been challenging as fantasy discernment is rather subjective for each family.  I have endeavoured to disclose to the best of my ability areas that may arouse concern.  I sincerely hope this post may aid you in finding new titles for your child/ren and in your decision as to whether it fits with your familiy’s comfort level.

Sites/books to help you discern.

Macbeth’s Opinion – Fantasy

Christian Guide to Fantasy

Christian Fantasy Book Reviews
  
 Landscape with Dragons – Michael O’Brien

Lord Of the Rings Trilogy – JRR Tolkien
The “Father of High Fantasy,”  Combining adventure, quests, rich language and Catholic morals, Tolkien is outstanding.  We recommend starting with The Hobbit before the trilogy. Read and re-read by my children.  5 Star.

Legacy of the Stone Harp – Mark Sebanc & James G Anderson
Thus far we only have the first book Stoneholding, which ” portrays the ageless struggle between good and evil in the richly imagined world of Ahn Norvys.”  in a time before machines and technolgy, a time of heroes. Very well written, close to the quality of LOTR literature,  “the best fantasy book since LOTR.”  However it hasn’t really caught the interest of my fantasy fan:( Written by Catholic authors. 14yrs+  4.5 Star

Dragons in Our Midst – Bryan Davis
Knight, dragons and fair maidens.  This series was recommended to us as, ‘written by a Christian author.’  Enjoyed by our teens for its complex, interesting storyline; however the writing is poor and childlike, and the characterisation is lacking and unbelievable.  Characters live for thousands of years, includes the seven circles of Hades, some Catholic imagery. There are some moral issues that benefit from discussion such as re-incarnation, soul hosting and possession and unborn baby souls, 13yrs +
PC and I would rate this as 3 Star, children would rate higher.

Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
Very well written, gripping story lines, fascinating characterisation. A world of men, dwarves, elves and dragons.  An absolute favourite with my teens.  I recently read this series myself and was totally ‘hooked.’  Some scenes are rather gruesome, there are a few very discrete ‘adult allusions’, and I did discuss with my teens the various beliefs in ‘other gods’, more importantly the elves belief in no gods.  14yrs+.  4.5 Star


Harry Potter Hotly debated, we ourselves were long ‘no Harry Potter’, we are rather surprised to have found ourselves in a  shifted position.  Before our teens read these books we insist that they first read Landscapes with Dragons, and engage in discussion with us. We wish them to be fairly discerning in their reasoning before reading, we engage in lots of discussion whilst reading through the series.  They do get progressively ‘darker’, I wouldn’t let younger children read the later books. Further thoughts here.  They are highly engaging. 14yrs+  3.5 Star

Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Rick Riordan The boys have really enjoyed this books, I admit to believing the writing style is a little lacking but the author writes a great tale.  The boys are keen to impress upon my how much they have learnt about Greek mythology;) Mythological monsters, Olympian gods in modern time,  half god-half man child heroes.. 12yrs+ I’d rate 3.5 Star, the boys higher.



Bran Hambric- Kaleb Nation Bran Hambric is found locked in a bank vault at 6 years of age, for years he has wonders about his identity.  At age 14 he discovers he is at the center of a plot which he has to complete.  Engaging, well writen, although there are a few iffy moral issues towards the conclusion.(soul hosting) 12-14yrs 3 Star


Chronicles of Narnia – C S Lewis

A favourite for years, abounding in Christian symbolism. Exceptionally well written and riveting.  Another world.  Recommend without hesitation. 4.5 Star

Shadow Thief- Alexandra Ardonetto
Millipop Klompet lives in the boringly uneventful town of Drabville, but she longs for adventure. Milli and her best friend Ernest begin on an advenutre where they must evade the Shadow Keepers (who steal the souls of the populace) and outwit the sinister Aldor before the shadows are swallowed and Drabville loses its soul forever.  Written by new Australian author who is only 18. Humorous, written for 12-14 yr olds.  3.5 Star



Ranger’s Apprentice – John Flanagan
Ranger Will and his friend Horace embark on many adventures and battles, set in the land of Araluen and lands beyond.  Written by an Australian author, we eagerly await each new title release, we are big fans.  Highly recommended!! 10 yrs+   4.5 Star

7 Responses

  1. My oldest daughter has always loved fantasy and it was so hard to find appropriate books. Your list looks great.
    BTW I have to admit that I once was against Harry Potter, but now am not.My older children have thoroughly loved reading those books.

  2. This is great! I am always on the lookout for books for the children to read. It helps so much having a like minded mum review them for me! I would love to pre-read all the books they read, but just can't keep up with them! Thanks Erin.

  3. Have you read any of Diana Wynne Jones books? She died recently, but has a _really_ long back catalogue. Her books are quite varied, some being written for quite young kids and some for much older (I'd avoid most of her adult books, although Tough Guide to Fantasyland is fabulous, and the books she wrote that align with it, Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin are good too).
    Some of her books have quite strong horror type elements, but a lot don't. But I haven't read them much recently, and I couldn't say how they'd work for you—but I suspect you may find some likely candidates.

  4. Thanks for this list. I'm always relieved/delighted when I find Christians who accept, nay, embrace fantasy.

    I'm with you on Narnia and Ranger's Ap.

    Only read the first book of The Lightning Thief's series, and I was strongly put off by the treating the Greek gods as real.

    I tend to describe the Pantheon (and other cultures' gods) to my kids as their version of fairies or the Fae (we read lots of folktales, and I'm still at the stage/age w/ my kids that I want to highlight the distinction of truth through language/word choice).

    So glad to have found homeschooling fantasy lovers!

  5. "Treating them as real."

    Okay, that came out weird. All writing treats its subject as real.

    I'll try it better.

    I'm not comfortable with associating the label "god" with such changeable beings as the Greek gods.

    That's the best I can do now, sorry. Basically I found the story very creative, but I was left with such an unease (personally) that I've continued to avoid that type of book. (No shortage of things on my reading list…)

    Peace.

  6. CCC
    how interesting we both started at the same place. Any fantasy suggestions?

    Natalie
    It is a challenge to keep ahead, glad to help. did you see my boys and books post (under 'Books')

    Fe
    I'll see what the library has, thanks.

    Prosey,
    Glad to find like minded friends:) Any recommendations for us?

  7. Hi Erin.
    Yes, we have read quite a few of the titles listed here ~ most have gripped neither my Star nor I & am unsure of your comfort levels or the ages of your Teens. I like Guy Gavriel Kay's Finnovair Tapestry but there are quite adult themes & discernment is required. My oldest read this around 16 ~ with lots of discussion. I also like Eddings ~ but again with discernment as they are adult books. And Robin Hobb is good but again…

    Lit major. I'm afraid I'm far more likely to rant about the quality of the writing than content, which I tend to view in rather different ways.

    Interesting visit. Thank you.

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