What with the revelation this weekend from J.K. Rowling that perhaps Harry ended up with the wrong person at the end of the series, we’re overcome with nostalgia for all things Potter. But with our Harry Potter books already falling to pieces from repeated reading, what are we to do? Luckily Isabel Popple is here with her pick of her favourite magical adventure series to try to fill the Harry shaped hole in all our lives…
There’s nothing quite like Harry Potter, but what if you need a little new magic in your life? Here are some excellent adventure series’ waiting to bestow their magic upon you, all of which are suitable for readers aged 10+.
Midnight for Charlie Bone, Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone has a special gift: photographs speak to him. But when his grandmother finds out, he’s packed off to the gloomy Bloor’s Academy. With its strict rules and assortment of strangely gifted pupils, it’s not an easy place to be. Soon enough, though, Charlie stumbles upon a mystery that needs solving: a stolen baby, a strange case, and a dark family secret. Can he and his new friends avoid the attentions of nasty head boy Manfred and save the missing girl? A great blend of adventure, good and evil, magic and friendship.
Magyk, Angie Sage
Darkness has overtaken the land, the Queen murdered and her throne stolen by the evil Supreme Custodian, and the princess missing. Ten years ago, on the night their newborn son died, the Heap family took in a baby girl they found in the woods and named her Jenna. But when they discover that Jenna is the lost princess, the Heap family must go on the run. Can they escape the Custodian’s assassins? But Jenna is not the only threat to the Custodian’s rule: one boy has the Magykal power to stop him. But who is the boy and how will he unlock his abilities?
The Magic Thief, Sarah Prineas
When street urchin Conn picks an old man’s pocket one night, he gets more than he bargained for: a wizard’s locus stone that nearly kills him. Taken on as apprentice by the wizard Nevery, whose pocket he picked, Conn is soon caught up in the magical life of the city: attending classes at the Magister, searching for his own locus stone, and helping Nevery try to figure out why the city’s magic is dwindling. But who is Conn? Where did he come from and what secrets is he holding onto? Entertaining characters and a self-reliant hero, plus lovely illustrations and bonus content.
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl’s father is missing, his mother has left her sanity at the door, and the family’s fortunes are dwindling. Luckily, Artemis is a genius – a criminal genius, no less. He’s got a fail-safe plan to lay his hands on some gold. Or has he? Kidnapping a fairy and holding her to ransom isn’t your everyday method of acquiring a fortune, but Artemis is confident he’s calculated every possibility, especially given as the LEPrecon unit sent in to recover her has to proceed ‘by the book’. But what happens when the LEP decide to break the rules? Can Artemis win out? From goblins to trolls, bio-bombs to time-stoppages, this is a laugh-out-loud, richly imagined world, mixing tech with mythology, and the everyday with the dastardly.
Mister Monday, Garth Nix
First Arthur Penhaligon is visited by the sinister Mister Monday and given a strange key with seemingly magical powers, but which brings a deadly plague into the world. Then he discovers a house no-one else can see. Stepping inside, he finds himself in another world: one peopled with Nithlings, wild children, and dog-faced Fetchers, where he must unravel the secrets of the key, find a way to overcome Mister Monday and escape the clutches of the rest of the days of the week, find courage he never knew he had and uncover his true fate. A surreal and strange fantasy that is non-the-less utterly compelling: Garth Nix has quite an extraordinary imagination.
The Thirteen Treasures, Michelle Harrison
Tanya can see fairies. This is not a good thing, as it’s always getting her into trouble and now, as a result of the latest incident, she’s been sent to stay with her cold grandmother in a gloomy old country manor house. But she soon discovers that there’s more to Elvesden Manor than meets the normal eye – here lie hidden passages, strangely dark woods, and a fifty-year-old mystery that ties together the fairies, a missing girl, Tanya’s family and her new friend Fabian. Where will it lead her? A darkly magical story to keep you on the edge of your chair.
The Spook’s Apprentice, Joseph Delaney
Set in the 17th century, when encounters with witches, boggarts and ghosts were commonplace, the Spook’s job is to protect the community against these things. Thomas Ward is his new apprentice, but how will Tom cope with the early months of training? Shunned and feared by the people he’s training to protect, Tom’s only friend is Alice, wearer of pointy shoes. But how trustworthy is she, and where does the line lie between good and evil? From haunted houses to bloodthirsty witches, it’s cleverly written and with a fast-paced plot – quite dark and gritty in places, but no more so than the later Harry Potter books.
The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens
When orphaned siblings Kate, Michael and Emma begin exploring their new home in Cambridge Falls they find, hidden away, an old leather book with blank pages. Nothing mysterious there, perhaps, except that the moment they touch it, the three children are swept back in time, setting into action an ancient magical prophecy and rewriting the future. Cue giants, a subterranean maze, wolves, kidnapping, dwarves, and a dark witch with evil intentions. Can they stop her or even just escape her? Will they get home again? And will they uncover their own mysterious past along the way? A pacey and nailbiting adventure.
Older readers (14+) might like to try:
Sabriel, Garth Nix
The Magician’s Apprentice, Trudi Canavan
The Wind Singer, William Nicholson
The White Cat, Holly Black
Isabel Popple, for Waterstones.com/blog
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Whether you’re trying to find the next fix for your Science Fiction addiction, looking for the perfect literary page turner for your holidays, or just can’t face ploughing through all the PG Wodehouse books to find the truly great ones – whatever the dilemma, let us know in the comments below…