Escapes from Reality


Elizabeth Powers, Writer

    2020 was a rough year. No one doubts it. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing everything, from having to transition to virtual school, to not being able to see family and friends on a regular basis, everyone is feeling the weight of reality on their shoulders. We all need an escape from reality every once in a while, but now, we need it more than ever. One of the remedies is fantasy books. With their magical tales of all sorts of aspects beyond the works of reality, they easily help us escape the current troubles of everything. There are three books that can really help us forget all that’s happening right now; ones whose fantasy is very unique and creative.

Book: Leviathan

Authors: Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson (Illustrator)

Summary: Leviathan takes place in a parallel version of World War l where the British (Darwinists) have fabricated animals that can do anything, from talk to sniff out hydrogen. Meanwhile, the Germans (Clankers) have created very advanced robots that can do serious damage. The story follows two different people from opposite sides, Alek and Deryn. Alek is an Austrian prince in hiding after the murders of his parents spark the Great War across Europe, and has to leave home to stay safe from the people who want harm to befall him. Now finding his life changed forever, Alek struggles to blend in with the commoners, and to live without the comforts he’s had his entire life. Meanwhile, Deryn has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British Air Service. She experiences multiple dangers of the war, but she is able to work with those struggles; her real fear is people finding out she’s not who she says she is. When hardships of the war lead to Alek and Deryn meeting, they must work together in order to survive. 

Review: This book, from its plot, creativity, historical sense, both fictional and real, and characters made it one of my favorites by the time I finished it. I love how even though it’s a book about alternate history, we still travel back in time and feel a part of the history. Readers will also find themselves intrigued by the Darwinists’ and Clankers’ creations, and what they can do. They’re the kind of things we could’ve never imagined, which is what makes them so fascinating and amazing. Next, the characters and plot are ones to be loved. They’re so interesting that it’s easy to get lost with them, in both the good and bad times. As the first in the trilogy, it definitely leaves the readers excited to read the next books, Behemoth and Goliath.

Book: The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater 

Summary: Every year on the island of Thisby, there are the Scorpio Races, where the competitors have to ride a capall uisce, a violent water horse along the beach. It’s not easy, though, as there are always people who are hurt or killed from the horses. The story follows two of the competitors, Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly. Sean has won the Scorpio Races the past fours years, and he is coming back on his beloved capall uisce, Corr. However, as much as it pains Sean, Corr doesn’t belong to him; he belongs to Sean’s employer, Benjamin Malvern, the most powerful person on Thisby. There comes a twist, though, that makes Sean determined to win again. Puck, on the other hand, is entering because of a problem. She and her two brothers have been living by themselves ever since their parents deaths’. Now, under the threat of eviction, Puck enters the races as the first girl to enter. The only complication is that capall uisce are the reason Puck’s parents died, so she must make a decision.  Puck and Sean end up meeting, strangers at first, but their situations soon escalate.

Review: This book is full of fantasy, yet it also seems so real. Capall uisce are such a normal and important part of Thisby, we feel like a part of it all as the story goes on. They are so mystic and mesmerizing, and not what we would expect. Because of all the processes of the Scorpio Races, and how they were affected by the characters, they are so fascinating. Next, so much happens, no reader will want to put the book down before they get to the end. Everyone will want to see how it all turns out in the end for everyone and everything.

Book: “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst”

Author: Michael Scott

Summary: Sophie and Josh Newman’s lives have been completely normal. That is, until the day that changes their lives forever comes. After Sophie and Josh accidentally witness Josh’s boss, Nick Fleming, get into a battle with magic, they learn that Nick is actually Nicholas Flamel and they set off to to help him get back a book stolen by his nemesis, John Dee. They are swept up in a magical adventure where they are to learn about all sorts of magic they never thought was real. However, Sophie and Josh are more important than they think, and there’s more to their adventure than looking for a stolen book. It is told through an ancient prophecy that twins with very powerful auras will become important to the world. Could Sophie and Josh, as twins, be the ones in the prophecy?

Review: This book is one I absolutely love. It’s full of fantasy that fans of Harry Potter will love. It’s not just ordinary, everyday magic, it’s magic that most people have probably never even heard of, which is one of the parts that makes it so exciting and interesting. There’s also plenty of action in here that glues the readers to their seats. It’s all so thrilling, and the cliffhanger makes the readers very excited to find out what happens in the next book. The corresponding books are The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock, and The Enchantress.

These books are ones whose fantasy will engross readers from beginning to end. From the alternate ways of life by robots and fabricated animals of Leviathan to the magical thrill rides of The Alchemyst, these are books that are memorable to every reader. Their tales of magic and adventure easily help us forget all that’s happening in the world and in our lives. These books aren’t the only ones out there; there are plenty of more books to choose from, ones whose plots will also engage readers.