Books by Janet Lee Carey

Released: March 24, 2015

"Ultimately, a satisfying tale of a girl who must come to terms with her own blended identity. (author's note) (Fantasy. 12-17)"
Humans, dragons and fey coexist on Wilde Island, but this uneasy peace masks a simmering, mutual distrust that surfaces after the English army abducts an Euit healer and his daughter to cure the aging queen's infertility—failure is not an option. Read full book review >
DRAGONSWOOD by Janet Lee Carey
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"Painful, cathartic and cautiously hopeful; a fairy tale for those who have given up on believing in them, but still yearn for happily ever after. (Fantasy. 14 & up) "
A dark fantasy illuminated by piercing flashes of hope builds upon the well-received Dragon's Keep (2007), while standing complete on its own. Read full book review >
THE DRAGONS OF NOOR by Janet Lee Carey
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

Carey's sequel to The Beast of Noor (2006) returns to the linked worlds of Noor (pre-industrial, mostly realistic) and Oth (traditional fantasyland) and brings teen siblings Hanna and Miles back for more adventures. The link between the worlds is being destroyed, their younger brother and other children have disappeared and Hanna is the savior the dragons have been waiting for. Oth and Noor feel a bit like the clichéd fantasy worlds so often ridiculed (see Diana Wynne Jones's Tough Guide to Fantasyland, 2006), with excerpts from magic books, songs and prophecies as chapter heads, distracting imaginary language and magic that exists in service to the plot. But despite flaws and the occasionally preachy feel (there is very little gray and lots of earnest do-gooding), young teens with a burgeoning taste for high fantasy should be satisfied, and they might even sympathize with Hanna and Miles's struggles (she must accept responsibility, he must master his anger). The first blushes of romance provide an added potential appeal but are minor enough not to impede much on the adventure. OK, despite the occasionally saccharine flavor. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)Read full book review >
STEALING DEATH by Janet Lee Carey
Released: Sept. 8, 2009

Seventeen-year-old Kipp swears to keep Death at bay forever after most of his family dies in a fire. He succeeds in acquiring the magical bag in which the souls of the dead are stored but discovers that this theft is only the first step in his quest save the world from death and win his love, Zalika. Interweaving plot with world-building and invented mythology, Carey constructs a true coming-of-age story. Kipp's growth through the novel is carefully orchestrated so that readers learn more about the world and its culture as Kipp discovers his own talents and abilities. The magic in this fantasy is consistent throughout, rooted in a lightly sketched spiritual system and conveyed through song and pourquoi tales. The dragons here, like those of Earthsea, exist and act both in and out of time. Fans of the author's earlier Dragon's Keep (2008) and readers of heroic quest fantasies won't be disappointed by this suspenseful, satisfying read. (Fantasy. 12-14) Read full book review >
DRAGON’S KEEP by Janet Lee Carey
Released: April 1, 2007

In 1145, on Wilde Island, Rosalind counts the days by the saints and once a week has her mother the queen trim the dragon claw that is the third finger of her left hand. Told in the first person, Rosie's story unfolds slowly. Her mother has kept Rosie's claw hidden from the dragon-ravaged populace, always wearing golden gloves so her daughter's will not be questioned. The dragon comes to feed as dragons do, and is slaughtered by Lord Godrick and his son Kye. The dragon's mate, however, comes to rescue his eggs and takes Rosalind as servant to tend them. Rose learns from the dragons, believing that the key to her birthright is found in the children's chant, "Bright fire. Dragon's fire. Broken sword. One black talon ends the war!" Wonderfully imagined dragon lore and an elegant backstory connection to the Arthur Pendragon legend are woven with rich strands of mother/daughter, child/nursemaid, friend/companion resonance, and the dark-skinned, blue-eyed half-Muslim Kye is a worthy hero. The weakly melodramatic climax is the only flaw, and it's balanced by a sweet dénouement. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
THE BEAST OF NOOR by Janet Lee Carey
Released: July 1, 2006

A creature called the Shriker has lured helpless victims to their gruesome deaths in Shalem Wood for centuries. Miles and Hanna Ferrell learn that it was their own ancestor who was responsible for the creation of the beast and his anger and taste for blood. When their friend becomes the most recent victim, Miles is determined to kill the beast and right the wrong, before his sister is taken next. It isn't long before Hanna goes in search of her missing brother, to save him from becoming the very beast he has set out to destroy. Moving between parallel dimensions, leaving behind their friends and family, these two youngsters must prove themselves capable of surviving danger, making the right choices and always staying true to their inner selves and to each other. An engaging tale, with just the right touch of terror to make a good story, it thankfully avoids devolving into an unnecessarily gruesome gore-fest. A hefty but not tiresome read, this will leave the reader anxious to turn just a few more pages before turning out the light. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2004

Zoe learns to cope with change, friendship, and homelessness in this poignant tale. Zoe's family hasn't been doing too well since her dad's bookstore went under and he was laid off from his teaching job at the local college. When they lose their apartment's lease, her parents resolve to leave Zoe's beloved town of Tillerman while her father looks for work—after all, "What good was a Ph.D. in English literature when you couldn't make the rent?" Despite Zoe's protests, the family leaves, driving north to Oregon and living in a van. In their new town, the Flynns stay illegally in their van while they try to save up enough money for the first and last month's rent in some apartment. The need to keep their secret comes between Zoe and her new friend Aliya, and heartbroken Zoe wonders if she will ever make it home to Tillerman, or be able to keep a friend in her new town. Thought-provoking, despite occasional lapses into social-studies lessons about Islam. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
WENNY HAS WINGS by Janet Lee Carey
Released: July 1, 2002

A gentle epistolary novel requiring at least three hankies. Eleven-year-old Will writes to his seven-year-old sister Wenny. A truck hit them both on their way to a craft store, and Wenny was killed. Will remembers a dark tunnel and a bright warm light; he remembers seeing his little sister fly past him into that light. Through months of healing his broken parts, Will writes to Wenny about how much he misses her; about how angry he is that she left them; about how pinched and cold his father and his pregnant mother are; and how there is no light or air around them, and no words for him. The tropes of boyhood—family pets, toy action figures, a tree house, a spitting contest, and, above all, the creek tunnel the kids call "the tunnel of death"—function almost as sacraments. Will's dad moves out for a while, Will and his mother try to re-make Wenny's room for the new baby, Will finds a way to celebrate Wenny's birthday. His grief comes in almost textbook steps, but Carey's (Molly's Fire, 2000) sweet and pointed language saves it from mawkishness, illuminating those steps vividly. Like Susan Katz's Snowdrops for Cousin Ruth (1998), it allows a heartrending glimpse into what happens in a family when a child dies. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >