Trilogy and Beyond

Provided by Penguin Random House: a red background with white type, "Read the Entire Series" then the four covers in the series featuring illustration of the main characters and fantastical creatures.

by Monae R.

Kelley Armstrong, a Canadian writer born in 2001, completed a wonderful children’s series in June 2022. Originally an author for teens and adults, her Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series, illustrated by Xavière Daumarie, comes as a nice refreshment for children. The first book, A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (followed by sequels The Gryphon’s Lair and The Serpent’s Fury) was a Black Eyed Susan 2021-2022 nominee. Despite its enticing and interactive story, it did not win the award. The series follows the story of a princess and her journey to become the Royal Monster Slayer of her Kingdom.

Rowan, a 13-year-old girl, is adamant to fight alongside her aunt in the battle to understand and drive the monsters of the kingdom back to the mountains. Her journey towards this encompasses loss, friendship, family, and excitement beyond belief. Rowan’s bloodline, that of clan Dacre, gives her a gift many cannot fathom and allows her to find friends in unusual places.

Many see Rowan as a young, incapable princess. Over time, they see the error of their ways as she fights to increase her knowledge and strength. Her journey takes her out of the kingdom and past the mountains, where many have not traveled before, where she encounters rare and extinct monsters and develops relationships with bordering clans.

This series is full of unexpected twists and turns. The characters are silly and relatable and the monsters are fascinating and frightening. As someone who is deeply in love with fantasy stories, I could not put these books down. I placed a hold on the fourth book, The Final Trial, as soon as it was on order here at the library.

I highly recommend this inclusive fantasy quick read.

Monae is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at HCLS East Columbia Branch.

A Quick, Feel Good Read

Bright yellow illustration shows an upraised hand holding a small green turtle. Cover features the Newberry award sticker.

by Monae R.

Turtle in Paradise, originally a children’s book, was published as a lovely graphic novel last year. This story by Jennifer L. Holm works wonderfully for children and teens who may be having trouble reading fiction but find graphic novels and pictures easier to comprehend and follow.  

The story follows an 11-year-old girl named Turtle who suddenly has to move to Key West, Florida to live with her aunt. All is going smoothly until she reaches the residence and realizes she is not welcomed with open arms. Although she adjusts to the next few weeks there with her cousins, their weird friends, and jobs, and becomes accustomed to the strange nicknames for everything in the area, Turtle still cannot wait to go home.  

If you like a quick read that grabs your heart strings and keeps you immersed, this delightful story has the words and visuals to do just that. Find out how Turtle learns to grow and get along with her aunt and cousins. Take a look at her mother’s love interest and how that affects Turtle and the family. Discover the story behind a pirate and his lost treasure… and what does that have to do with Turtle? 

Answer all these questions and more with this riveting tale. For those who would prefer the fiction copy, it might be fun to contrast the differences between the formats. Graphic novels are a good way to incorporate reading and learning with your children, families, or even on your own.  

Turtle in Paradise is available as a graphic novel, a children’s book, as an e-book on Libby and on CloudLibrary, and an e-audiobook and an audiobook on CD.

Monae is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at HCLS East Columbia Branch.