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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy & Adventure Chapter Books Series

While I don't always read all the books that the older child reads, I do try to scan/skim her books on and off. I also get her to write book reports on the ones she really liked so I can catch up and see what she sees in them.

This draft was sitting around for several months since end of Summer 2014. About time it got published. Especially since the Summer Reading 2015 post is on the works already.

The then nine year old was clearly in a phase at that time - seeking and devouring scary stuff. I don't think she has outgrown it yet. But these were the series she was into in 2014 for the most part.

She did pick up the Warriors series - on two or three different occasions upon recommendation from friends - but didn't like it much, she couldn't get into it at all, and gave up for now. Which is fine with me. I tried reading them as well, and I found them tedious and confusing with too many characters. [Sort of the comment that George R.R.Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series elicits regarding the number of characters to keep track of and the kingdoms and lineage and such.]

Tales from Lovecraft Middleschool series

Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure Chapter Books SeriesProfessor Gargoyle
The Slither Sisters
Teacher's Pest
by Charles Gilman

Thriller and mystery and adventure and suspense and supernatural seem to fascinate the older child. So, this book was begging to be read and enjoyed. She loved the stories (and so did I!). Well-written short chapters egg the readers on to find out what happens next.

Lovecraft Middle school, unfortunately, has portals that lead to and from an old mansion, Tillinghast Mansion, which still exists in another dimension.

Needless to say, all kinds of evil find a way into the middle school; and our seventh grade protagonist, along with his friends, must rid the school of these beings. The identity of the evil creature is well concealed in the story which keeps us guessing and takes us by surprise when we find out.

I did not like the cover images for the books- they were too graphic and spooky for my consumption, but the kid didn't seem to mind. And, yes, the name of the school is an homage to the legendary H.P.Lovecraft.

[image source:]

Goosebumps series
Classic Goosebumps
Goosebumps Horrorland spin-off
by R.L.Stine

Just about every book in this series she can get her hands on at the library is snatched up and read with full vigor, sometimes in just a day! There is no doubt this series is one of her all-time favorite reads. Any book, in any order, is fine. Each can be stand-alone and offers just the same thrills as another.

One thing about the original series of books is that, while they are spine-tingling thrillers giving pure adrenaline rush, nobody really ends up dying or getting killed in vicious or horrific ways. The attraction is in the suspense, in the things that are unsaid, in the things that the reader's mind conjures up based on the events unfolding, and the Twilight Zone-ish ending that leaves more questions than answers.

Poison Apple series
The Green-Eyed Monster
Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure Chapter Books Series
by Lisa Fiedler

Judging by the fact that she read this book at least 3 times over the course of summer, I am venturing a guess that she liked it a lot. Something about the characters and the story kept her going back to the book.

It is a quick read, but the subject matter may not appeal to some kids: it's about how a bewitched or cursed amulet from long ago manipulates the current modern-day wearer Taylor, spreading evil. Thanks to her resourceful friend Chloe, Taylor is rid of the amulet and becomes "normal" again.

Dead End and The Ghoul Next Door were just as enjoyed in this series.

[image source: Scholastic]

Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure Chapter Books SeriesThe Last Dragon Chronicles series
by Chris D'Lacey

What's not to like about dragons, right? The kid liked these books initially, just like many of the eight to ten year olds everywhere. Clay dragons that come to life, how much better can it get?

I did read the first couple of books in this series, and, purely as an adult with specific tastes, I found them boring and a bit tedious. But, I could easily see kids getting caught up in this story and enjoying the whole experience.

Based on the many weeknights in a row when she read these books till her eyes couldn't stay open anymore, I think it was well-received at the start. But after the 3rd book in the series, she lost interest and didn't want to finish it. She said it wasn't much fun to read, and admits being caught up in the hype with her friends.

[image source:]

Monsters of Mythology series
The Dragon of Boeotia
Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure Chapter Books Series

by Bernard Evslin

Dragons and Mythology are a potent combination. The illustrations in this book are works of art spanning centuries. The story was well narrated. Cadmus of Phoenicia searches for his sister Europa who was abducted. The incidental events and the final face-off with the huge dragon makes up the story. The captivating part for me was the full-page illustrations, and the style of narration reminiscent of mythological oral storytelling.

I read this aloud to the kid as the style of language in this book is not her preferred one, so, it was easier to listen to it than read it herself.

Would she have picked this up on her own and finished it? Probably not. Was it worth reading it aloud to her? Absolutely!

[image source:]

Vampire Plagues series
London 1850
by Sebastian Rook (Ben Jeapes, Helen Hart)
Children's Fiction Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure Chapter Books Series

The kid was fascinated with Mayan Comazotz myth. She seemed to like all the mayhem and evil to a certain extent, but was honest enough to say she will not recommend it to her friends. Reason? For one, the topic may not interest them - who wants to deal with vampires, anyway; but mainly, it got boring after a while.

One main issue (that she is noticing in most such thrillers): Why does Comazotz want to turn everyone into vampires? What's the point? What's the motive? What does that accomplish? Why? Why? Why?

[image source: Scholastic]

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