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Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee is known mostly for her adult fantasy, but to overlook her YA fantasy--! I prefer her YA fantasy; it's lighter, it's funnier, and I find it more enjoyable to read. Lee's work is never less than competent, and is always bizarre, creative and unique. She has a particular talent for understatement.


This slim, sadly out of print book manages to mock nearly every fairy tale out there and still tell a story with a plot. The hero, cursed by an evil witch to turn into a raven one hour of every day, finds a way to use that to his advantage; his sister is cursed with kindness-- too much of it. The prince goes on a series of adventures that never turn out in expected ways, and though several people are largely muddled throughout, everyone manages to have a Happy Ending. Even the witch...


(This can be found in an out of print omnibus edition with Castle of Dark called Dark Castle, White Horse). Another thoroughly entertaining light novel that has a prince without a name, a horse who loudly and consistently insists that horses can't talk, Buzzles, Beezles, Bizzles and Bezzles, and an undefined terror upon the land.


Consisting of Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn and Red Unicorn, the trilogy follows the adventures of Tanaquil-- a girl with magical talent only for fixing things as she travels with her pet Peeve through the desert and finds adventure, danger, her sister... Her adventures start when she reassembles the bones of a unicorn...and it comes to life.


*Law of the Wolf Tower*

This is the UK title; the US title is Wolf Tower. It's narrated first person in the diary of a virtual slave in the strict caste system of a far away land. Outside their haven is a vast desert, across which none have been. But when a handsome stranger comes to the House, young Claidi is chosen to go with him to-- beyond. Lee is excellent at portraying the thoughts of a sixteen year old, and Claidi's tone is both amusing and imminently readable. Nothing is quite predictable in this fantasy...

*Wolf Star Rise*

Wolf Star in the US, this picks up right where Wolf Tower left off. Unfortunately, Tower left off at a nice point, where Rise just unnecessarily complicates things. Still pretty interesting, with Lee's usual bizarre imagination, but not as cool as the first. The third one, out only in the UK currently, is called Queen of the Wolves. I haven't read it.


This is the first in the Voyage of the Basset series (based on an illustrated book) but knowledge of the original is not necessary to enjoy this one. Hope Glover is a servant in England who dreams of being an actress. When she gets an opportunity to board the Basset, a ship traveling in the direction of imagination, she instantly takes it up. The master's son Apollo, a snotty and arrogant boy, incidentally gets dragged along...into a land with all the creatures of Greek myth in an altercation. If you like Greek myths, you must try this as well as Lloyd Alexander's The Arkadians.

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