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The Fire Chronicle has elves and you should read it

Since I basically slobbered all over The Emerald Atlas in my attempt to make out with it, I was pretty damn thrilled when I discovered book two in the Books of Beginning series was coming out. I pleaded with Random House Kids to let me review it, so be aware that I was pretty sure I was gonna want to marry this book PRE-reading. So I might be a little biased. And also be aware that the people at Random House Kids are wonderful and magical and probably smell really nice. 

Middle books always get the shaft. The beginning of the series is so exciting! The end has all the conclusiony bits! The middle--moves the story along kind of!

No one likes Catching Fire the most. No one loves Prince Caspian more than all the other Chronicles of Narnia. And I don't think anyone is super gung ho about The Two Towers

That being said, John Stephens continues in this book what I loved about The Emerald Atlas. Namely, it's funny, has magic and the main characters are appealing. THAT IS ALL I WANT. There weren't enough dwarves in Fire Chronicle, but I trust that that will be rectified in the third. Plus there were a LOT of them in the last one. And this one's more about the elves anyway. (by the way, dwarves/elves seem so canon in fantasy books nowadays, I've basically convinced myself they're real, just fyi)

So there are these Books of Beginning, and each one controls a different Thing (like Time, Life, etc) and there are three books and THREE ORPHANS and you know how that plays out. There's a prophecy, etc etc, and each kid is in charge of one of the books. So this one dealt with -- yes, the Fire Chronicle. There are misadventures and straight-up adventures and goblins and sieges and time travel and pretty dresses and wizards and hilarious elf princesses and basically I love this series.

Despite the rather serious themes of the books (the world will be enslaved! nooooo!), Stephens puts in these random moments of humor that I greatly enjoy. Like so:

[T]hey walked through the falling snow eating their hot turnovers, with the boys before them each extolling the virtues of his own pasty while peering into the other's and pronouncing with great regret that his friend had been tricked and his pasty was filled with chopped-up rat butts.
Whatever, that's hilarious.

So yeah, I basically told the publisher I'd commit gross acts of PDA with their book if they sent me an ARC, but if it were bad, I'd tell you guys. I'd tell you. And it is not bad. It is very awesome. One of the things I love about these series for 12-year-olds is the huge emphasis you usually get on family and love and friendship. 

You get a bunch of other stuff too, because otherwise ugh, but it usually boils down to those things, and the decisions the characters make because of them. And that's something I don't usually see with teen lit, which is why I don't usually like teen lit. It's either all about how much a 15-year-old girl loves a guy with dreamy eyes, or....no wait, that might be it. And she fights with her best friend at some point, who's usually jealous, but then they patch it up. And that's supposed to be the friendship part of the book.

This book does not do that. At all. And I love it. This book says "Family is IMPORTANT and you can be scared but brave and you can think it's hard but still make sacrifices and you can be super-awesome by loving people." So read this series. It is great.

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