Jill Williamson

Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. She writes stories that combine danger, suspense, and adventure for people of all ages. An avid reader, she started Novel Teen Book Reviews (www.novelteen.com) to help teens find great books to read. Her first novel, By Darkness Hid, releases from Marcher Lord Press on April 1, 2009. Learn more at www.jillwilliamson.com.

Quests, Spells, and Vampires

What’s so cool about fantasy?

A few years back, my sister and her son were going to Barnes and Noble in the middle of the night. Turns out a book called Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban went on sale at midnight, and my nephew had to have a copy right then. I found this amusing, but being a book lover, I made a note to check out this Harry Potter series sometime.

We’ve all probably heard of Harry Potter by now. Maybe you’ve also heard of Eragon? How about Twilight? Spiderwick? Wicked Lovely? Charlie Bone? Artemis Fowl? Inkheart? Pendragon? Bartimaeus? Maximum Ride? A Great and Terrible Beauty? Septimus Heap?

Maybe you haven’t heard of some of those—which might be a good thing. But I can’t remember the last time a contemporary young adult novel or series reached such blockbuster success. Nancy Drew maybe?

Most teens are completely enraptured by young adult fantasy novels. Many adults are too. What makes them so popular? I’ve asked lots of teens this question over the years. Here are some of their answers:

• I like getting away from this world.
• Life feels easier in a fantasy world. It’s simple.
• I like reading about heroes saving the day.
• I like swordfights, wizards, and weird creatures.
• It’s fun to be scared by a book.
• Good triumphs over evil.
• Fantasy stories are magical.
• Using magic would be cool.
• They’re exciting.
Anything can happen.

Those are many of the reasons I love to read this genre, too. Fantasy can also be a wonderful way to get readers thinking about spiritual things without using the religious language that often offends unbelievers. The danger in fantasy novels today is that the unbelieving worldview of what is good and evil has been slowly changing. Today, self rules. The main character goes after what he wants, despite the consequences. New Age and occult practices are portrayed as exciting and cool, as are overtly sensual situations. Revenge is held as an acceptable and heroic tendency. Parents are mean, ignorant, or nonexistent. And sadly, God is sometimes the evil, controlling villain.

It’s wise to research a book before you buy it to make sure you don’t end up reading something with a lot of junk in it. Looking at the negative reviews on Amazon can give you some clues as to what to expect of the author’s moral values and his or her view of what’s good and evil in the world.

Many general market fantasy novels come from a worldview based on truth. Their fantasy worlds, like Narnia and Middle Earth, still take readers to a place where love, courage, friendship, and self-sacrifice are chosen for causes greater than themselves. But if you’d rather not risk it, I’ve listed some fantasy novels from Christian publishers. Some are edgier than others, so if that’s a concern, still take time to research the reviews. But you can trust these authors to take you to a good place in the end.

Contemporary Fantasy

Echoes from the Edge series by Bryan Davis
A boy travels between three dimensions in an attempt to solve his parents’ murder.

Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis
A boy descended from dragons must avoid a dragonslayer who is seeking to destroy his family.

Dream House Kings series by Robert Liparulo
A family moves into a new house, but someone or something already lives there. Or maybe the house is haunted.

Medieval Fantasy

Auralia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet
In a colorless kingdom, a young woman uses her unique gift to weave colors from the world around her.

Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson
A squire and a maiden discover their ability to communicate with the minds of others.

Circle Trilogy graphic novels by Ted Dekker
A young man falls asleep and wakes in a fantasy world. When he sleeps again, he’s wakes on earth. Which world is real?

Codebearers series by the Miller brothers
A boy finds an ancient book that is a gateway to a supernatural realm where he trains to be a Codebearer.

The Door Within trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson
A boy enters a door to a medieval land and becomes the twelfth knight, who must stop evil from taking over The Realm.

DragonKeeper series by Donita K. Paul
A girl discovers that she can find dragon eggs and help them hatch.

Feather by Susan Page Davis
A girl is kidnapped by a savage tribe and tries to find a way back to her home.

Hero: Second Class series by Mitchell Bonds
An apprentice hero strives to become a real Hero.

Kingdom Series by Chuck Black
Biblical allegories that cover the span of time from Genesis through Revelation.

King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead
A series based on the Robin Hood legend.

Kiriath’s Quest by Rick Barry
A prince sets off on a secret mission to rescue his kidnapped father.

Legends of Karac Tor series by D. Barkley Briggs
Two brothers pass through a gate into another world.

The Lost Books series by Ted Dekker
A boy uses brains over brawns to become a soldier and must lead his team to find the lost books of history.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
A fun adventure with the Igby children, Peet the Sock Man, and toothy cows.

Wilderking series by Jonathan Rogers
A fun medieval allegory of the story of David.

Pirate Stories

Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson
A ship captain searches for riches that will free him and his daughter from the piracy business forever.

Vampire Stories

Shade by John B. Olson
A homeless man rescues a young woman from a monster who continues to hunt them.

The Jerusalem Undead Trilogy by Eric Wilson
A young woman’s life is in danger from evil collectors who seek to upset the balance of good and evil in the world.

By Darkness Hid