I'm currently rereading 'Shadowmancer' by GP Taylor, a children's fanatsy novel set in 18th century England. The plot is familiar; a group of children, with the help of various adult and non-human allies, set out to thwart the world-changing plans of an evil sorceror who, in this case, also happens to be the local vicar.
Taylor wrote the book (and its sequels) as a response to the Harry Potter phenomenon. He is himself a clergyman, and was disturbed by the occult elements of the Potter books. His books, whilst filled with sorcery and strange magic, are also chock full of Christian imagery and metaphor, to a level that makes CS Lewis seem subtle.
I'm not sure what to make of this book. I did enjoy it the first time I read it, but the 'message' was as subtle as a charging rhinoceros and that detracted from, rather than enhanced, the book. If I want to be preached to, I think I'd rather read Narnia.
Of course, some books have a more subtle religious agenda.
My personal favourites in the children's fantsy 'genre' are still Alan Garner's 'The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen' (and it's sequel, 'The Moon of Gomrath') and John Gordon's 'The Giant Under The Snow'. It's notable that both feature fantasy in a contemporary (well, 1960s, which for me is almost contemporary) setting; I think they both work well because of this.
The lizard emerging from the egg is a small resin figurine we were given as a present some years ago. It lives on my bedside table, which is where I took this picture. The whole thing was done as one picture, with the exception of the eye (mine, obviously) which is a separate layer. I did something to the eye to make it look more evil. Can you tell what it is? (No, no makeup).
A year ago today I was thinking.