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Recommendations and Lost Books > Recommendations for a 12 yo fantasy lover who is sensitive to gore/violence and very sad scenes?

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message 1: by ~Annaki~ (last edited Aug 11, 2018 01:59PM) (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments Hi everyone :)

I have joined this group, hoping to find recommendations for my daughter. She just turned 12 and she LOVES fantasy, but the tricky part is that although she is fine with suspense, she is very sensitive to scenes of gore/violence as well as very sad scenes or stories that are very dark.

I.e. We read the first 3 HP books and she loves all of that, except the climax scenes, such as when (view spoiler) I had to skip those parts and re-tell them to her in a neutral version.

So I am trying to find fantasy books that have a good story and suspense and all the magic, but without too much blood, gore, violence, death and sadness... Do such books exist?


message 2: by Time (new)

Time | 28 comments Some Terry Pratchett can never go to wrong, other than that I can't really think of anything... maybe something by Mercedes Lackey or the Star Beast by Robert Heinlein.


message 3: by Melanie (last edited Aug 11, 2018 03:18PM) (new)

Melanie | 925 comments The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- 7 books in series all of them safe
The Hobbit but not Lord of the Rings until she is less sensitive
Pseudonymous Bosch (author with 2 series)
The Wild Robot (sci-fi but I still recommend it, 3 book series)
All of the Rick Riordan books (author) but like HP there may need to be sad parts to paraphrase.
The Ruins of Gorlan on-going series
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz huge series as well
The Girl Who Drank the Moon stand alone
The School for Good and Evil series
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making series

If you search the internet, search for MG (middle grade books) instead of YA which contains more mature content.


message 4: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. Brilliant book.

It’s won heaps of awards here in Australia this year including book of the year. Not just kids book of the year but the big one. The second one is being released next month.


message 5: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments Awesome, thank you guys!


message 7: by Kaa (last edited Aug 11, 2018 03:59PM) (new)

Kaa | 1454 comments Here's some of what I was reading when I was around that age that I remember as being not as dark/violent: Dealing with Dragons, A Wizard of Earthsea, Diana Wynne Jones (she wrote Howl's Moving Castle), Gail Carson Levine, maybe Sherwood Smith and Robin McKinley.

Others I haven't read but that were recommended by my librarian sibling: The Isle of the Lost, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, The Wishing Spell

(I'd be careful with Mercedes Lackey - I distinctly remember my mother reading something I had picked up by her at around your daughter's age and being pretty upset because it had a rape scene.)


message 8: by Shanna (new)

Shanna | 43 comments Here are a couple of cute fantasy stories which also had some humor:
The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool
The Fairy Rebel

Although not magical, The Door in the Wall is set in medieval times, with the "royal kingdom" setting of many magical books, so she might be interested.


message 9: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 52 comments Others have mentioned the Hobbit which you could check out for sure. There are also the Magic Tree House books which are a bit younger than 12 in terms of their intended audience, but can still be lots of fun.

A couple of good ones that I read in the past few months that you might want to check out:

The Goldenwealth Light - first in a series, but has a reasonable conclusion.

Hand and Talon - also first in series, but with good wrap-up so can stand on its own.

The Last Falcon - it's the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger, but book 2 is available and 3 is supposed to be on the way soon.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 - awesome manga series you'll love if you liked the Nausicaa Anime movie. It's a much more detailed version of the story in the movie. There are seven of them, but they read fast since they're mostly pictures.

Grounded, a Dragon's Tale - there was a slightly disturbing reveal of an accident that happened to one of the human children in this, but it would be possible/easy to skip it just like you did with the HP scenes and it's really a book you don't want to miss out on :)

The Eagle's Flight: The Chronicles of Adalmearc - there are battles and stuff in this so you might want to wait a couple years before trying this one or you can check it out on your own first and decide. It's definitely more on the Lord of the Rings side of fantasy so not really meant for kids, but I just had to mention it as it's one of the best fantasy books I've read in recent years. This suggestion is more of a "keep in mind for when she's older" one.

Hope you find something enjoyable for her on that list! :)


message 10: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments This is wonderful, thank you so so much everyone!!


message 12: by Gabi (last edited Aug 12, 2018 02:52AM) (new)

Gabi | 3405 comments My 10yo is reading the Darkmouth #1: The Legends Begin books and loves them. Although I have to add that he already went through the whole HP series and had no problems with them.

What I, too, would recommend is the The Chronicles of Narnia series. I read them to my boys when they were 7 and 9 and they loved it ( the younger one is extremely sensitive to creepy content)


message 13: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Third Blue Sword by McKinley, but please know her fairytale retellings are extremely dark, unlike the Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown. Tamora Pierce should be a great fit. There's magic and derring-do, but it's meant for a younger audience.


message 14: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Almost forgot....Emily Rodda. She wrote Deltora Quest, Rohan of Rin, Fairy Realm. All excellent.

I also recommend Tamora Pierce. Song of the Lioness is brilliant. The Circle of Magic books are great too.


message 15: by Fantastic Alice (last edited Aug 12, 2018 04:46AM) (new)

Fantastic Alice Fox (fantasticalicefox) | 2 comments I mention this a lot but deapite it being Doctor Who I recommend Plague City. It has much more of a fantasy feel than your average Who novel. It is primarily a ghost story in Plague ridden Edinburgh.

I also thoroughly recommend the webcomic/Graphic Novel namesake. It mixes Oz and Wonderland as well as lots of other classic fantasy. Just by reading it will help connect to a lot of classic fantasy.

I also suggest Sheridan Smith's reading of Alice in Wonderland. Its only 10£ on audible and its absolutely brilliant.

I also second Chronicles of Narnia. Start with Magicians Nephew than read Lion, Witch...... Although I loved all of them those two are a nice "duology" with out too many dangling plot threads.


message 16: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments This is brilliant, thank you so much everyone!


message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments A lot of these are from when I was a kid, so I don't know how up to date it needs to be, but:

I used to and still read Diane Duane's Young Wizard series
Tamora Pierce has a whole bunch of series that take place in Tortall
Pat O'Shea's The Hounds of Morrigan
Robin McKinley's Duology: The Blue Sword and The Herol and the Crown.
The Wizard Children of Fin by Mary Tanen
Mercedes Lackey's Velgarth books
Ann McCaffrey's Pern Series - well certain books are actually a bit sad, so you might want to read them first.
Oh dear! I read so much as a kid, I'll have to see if I can dredge more up.


message 18: by Ruth (last edited Aug 12, 2018 10:59AM) (new)

Ruth | 157 comments Anything by Diana Wynne Jones or Frances Hardinge will be perfect.


message 19: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments I forgot to add Jane Yolen, she did some dragon books. A lot of these are all before ebooks came about so you might have to visit the library or get them used, particularly ones like Pat O'shea who is now deceased.
Meredith Ann Pierce is another, though I forget if that one's a darker one. It might be.
The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key (I think?)
The Tripods series by John Christopher

The folowing is probably younger than 12
Beverly Cleary's work
E.B. White's Stuart Little.....

Gosh my memory's a bit rusty. So sorry.


message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - maybe? Perhaps he's done some other books too meant for adolescents?

The Secret Garden isn't fantasy but it's pretty good and not really dark.

Peter Pan - maybe?


message 21: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments Thank you thank you!


message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments ~Annaki~ wrote: "Thank you thank you!"

Always welcome. :)


message 23: by Varun (last edited Aug 12, 2018 02:46PM) (new)

Varun (varunkhanna) | 5 comments I see others have already suggested the works of Mercedes Lackey, which is good as I immediately thought of Mercedes Lackey's Owlmage trilogy... a particular favourite when I was younger.


message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments That one's a good one. All part of her Velgarth books. She also does the Urban Fantasy with Elves in it.


message 27: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 52 comments Jacqueline wrote: "Almost forgot....Emily Rodda. She wrote Deltora Quest, Rohan of Rin, Fairy Realm. All excellent.

I also recommend Tamora Pierce. Song of the Lioness is brilliant. The Circle of Magic books are gr..."


Yes! I second Deltora Quest. And thanks for the reminder Jacqueline. I read and enjoyed that series when I was probably waaaaay older than the target audience, but they were good! haha

I'd be careful with Pern, though, depending on which book you read the relationships are not exactly on the most equal of terms and there's probably a bit too much intimacy for her age group anyway. If you want to try Pern I'd stay away from the ones centered around Lessa and F'Lar. The White Dragon would be a good one, I think. And the ones about the watchwhers maybe...


message 28: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments I was way older than the target audience for Emily Rodda too Noor. Around 40 at the time lol I always read the books my kids were reading before they read them.


message 29: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 52 comments :) I guess a good book is a good book no matter what age you are.


message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Noor wrote: "Jacqueline wrote: "Almost forgot....Emily Rodda. She wrote Deltora Quest, Rohan of Rin, Fairy Realm. All excellent.

I also recommend Tamora Pierce. Song of the Lioness is brilliant. The Circle of..."



Yes, it's been a while since I read them. I'd almost forgotten about that. The Harper Hall Trilogy - Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, Dragondrums might be a bit more pitched toward the age group, but it's been a while since I've read the series. I don't remember anything intimate in them....wait I think Dragondrums might because of Beauty's Flight, but I'm not quite sure. Yeah, the Pern Society is a bit mixed. The Dragon Riders being a little less unequal than the non-rider society by the ninth pass but quite a few of the underlying themes is the struggle for equality especially by the ninth pass.


message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments I've never read the ones P.C. Cast Co-wrote with her Daughter, was that one an older target audience, more like mid-teens? I've read her Goddess series but those were meant for adults.


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Here's one that appeared on my home page. Anyone remember the movie too?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...


message 33: by Jen (new)

Jen What about Lloyd Alexander? It's been a while but I don't think they're too dark or anything.


message 34: by Karin (last edited Aug 12, 2018 04:50PM) (new)

Karin | 773 comments Each of my kids was highly sensitive, but each to different things and and different ages, my eldest to death and violence, and she even hated a chapter book biography of Nathaniel Bowditch because of all the death by natural causes. My youngest to violence but he gradually changed starting with the Hardy Boys and eventually moving on up to PG 14 stuff (he's 18, though!) My middle one, who loves history, could calmly read a kid's book on the violence of the Gladiator games, but cried when she read an Elsie Dinsmore non-violent novel because she and her dad didn't agree on religion and was sad about the rift in their relationship (she was 8).

My eldest read like a Philadephia lawyer by age 7 and while my middle one took a bit longer to get into it, while both easily read beyond their years. BUT they were often happy reading books at their peer level and sometimes even a bit younger if the story was good. All my kids graduated magna cum laude from high school so when I mention a younger series, it's because they'd read it older.

The Lost Island of Tamarind and series was beloved by all of my kids and they read it over age 12 even though it's for readers up to that age. My son, 18, who loved The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, etc, is enjoying this right now (but don't tell his friends!)

Discworld can be rather dark in all that humour and some do have violence, so I'd read the novel first, but Wee Free Men might be better as it's meant for younger readers.But I find the humour of The Watch series on the dark side at times. In that city you have crime is controlled by guilds and is legal if done then, including assassination; the second one is about a serial killer. Plus, the dragons frequently die accidentally by exploding There is some violence in it as well.

The Hobbit does have some violence and darkness, but not as much as The Lord of the Rings. All of my kids were fine with it.

My daughters both liked The Narnia series.


message 35: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Jen wrote: "What about Lloyd Alexander? It's been a while but I don't think they're too dark or anything."

It's been ages but that was a pretty good series. There's Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series too:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...


message 36: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2287 comments Not sword, sorcery, or quests, but the animal fantasies of Dick King-Smith are lovely. Marketed to younger readers, they're really all ages comfort bites. I just finished Mysterious Miss Slade in which the protagonist is an old lady.

Has nobody mentioned Redwall yet? I've not read them so I don't know if they're gory, violent, or sad, but she is of the target demographic so they're worth considering.

One of my very favorites, starting at about age 11- or 12, was and still is, The Phantom Tollbooth. It's another of those all-ages gems, full of word-play and satire and a quest and magic.

Those elements are also in the juveniles by James Thurber. I really should buy my own copies of these because I read them over and over. Might start with Many Moons as the gentlest, more of a fairy-tale than a typical fantasy. Or if more drama is what appeals, The 13 Clocks is exciting.

Many Moons, 1943
The Great Quillow, 1944
The White Deer, 1945
The 13 Clocks, 1950
The Wonderful O, 1957


message 37: by Karin (new)

Karin | 773 comments Cheryl wrote: "Not sword, sorcery, or quests, but the animal fantasies of Dick King-Smith are lovely. Marketed to younger readers, they're really all ages comfort bites. I just finished [book:Myste..."

I agree about Dick King-Smith


message 38: by Megan (new)

Megan | 16 comments A lot have recommended them already, but Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Stay away from Deerskin though. I loved it but probably not for your kid.
At that age I also loved The Belgariad by David Eddings.
Mercedes Lackey also good but some can be pretty emotional.


message 39: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Megan wrote: "A lot have recommended them already, but Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Stay away from Deerskin though. I loved it but probably not for your kid.
At that age I also loved ..."


OMG! Another one that slipped my memory. Yes! I loved David Eddings and if I remember correctly not really gore or violence filled.


message 40: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Megan wrote: "A lot have recommended them already, but Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Stay away from Deerskin though. I loved it but probably not for your kid.
At that age I also loved ..."


Wasn't there another series by David Eddings? I don't remember what it was and I never got around to reading it.


message 41: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 42 comments Megan wrote: "A lot have recommended them already, but Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Stay away from Deerskin though. I loved it but probably not for your kid.
At that age I also loved ..."


I think there was the Belgariad and the Mallorean, but wasn't there another series he did that was completely unrelated to that story world?


message 42: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4627 comments ~Annaki~ wrote: "Hi everyone :)

I have joined this group, hoping to find recommendations for my daughter. She just turned 12 and she LOVES fantasy, but the tricky part is that although she is fine with suspense, s..."


I really hope she doesn't have to read The Red Badge of Courage
or
The Yearling
or
The Diary of a Young Girl
or
Animal Farm

as I was required to do at that age. Lord of the Flies was a bit traumatic, but it was assigned reading.


message 43: by Kaa (new)

Kaa | 1454 comments Agree that Dragonsong is probably a good place to start with Pern - that trilogy is definitely aimed at younger girls, especially as compared to the rest of the series.

I recall both Lloyd Alexander and Susan Cooper as being fairly dark, although Alexander at least could also be pretty funny, but it's been a long time since I read either, so I can't say for sure any more. (And I'd totally forgotten how dark Robin McKinley's stuff could get, so.)

I loved Tamora Pierce, and enjoyed the Circle of Magic when I re-read them recently, but almost all of her books have at least one or two pretty violent scenes, so you may want to read them first and paraphrase those sections for her.

I also loved Redwall when I was a kid - some of them are pretty sad or violent, but the others might be a good fit for her. Can't remember off the top of my head which ones you'd have to be careful with, though.


message 44: by Trike (new)

Trike Cheryl wrote: "Has nobody mentioned Redwall yet? I've not read them so I don't know if they're gory, violent, or sad, but she is of the target demographic so they're worth considering."

NOOOO!!!

Let me put it this way: fans of the series have endless debates about which characters die the most gruesomely and/or have the saddest deaths.

It may be talking animals, but it’s just as cutthroat as Game of Thrones. Maybe worse *because* it’s animals.


message 45: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments This is just gold, thank you so very much everyone!


message 46: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2287 comments Ty, Trike, I did not know that about Redwall and would not have guessed. Too bad.


message 47: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 352 comments Carol wrote: "I think there was the Belgariad and the Mallorean, but wasn't there another series he did that was completely unrelated to that story world? "

Those would be 'The Elenium' and 'The Tamuli'. Long time since I read them but I remember the heroes are from some radical order of fighting clerics.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I'll second The Ranger's Apprentice series, starting with The Ruins of Gorlan, though there are a few sad scenes, especially towards the end of the series. Not super sad, but sad.

I'll also add:

The Flora Trilogy: Flora Segunda
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling
Larklight trilogy: Larklight
Tiffany Aching books of Discworld: The Wee Free Men
Also the one MG Discworld book: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Polly & the Pirates: Polly and the Pirates, Volume 1
Enola Homes: The Case of the Missing Marquess
The Magic Thief Quad: The Magic Thief
Kat, Incorrigible: Kat, Incorrigible
Castle Glower series: Tuesdays at the Castle


Some of these might be a shade younger than 12, but I've read them all recently and enjoyed them as an adult.


message 49: by Mark (last edited Aug 13, 2018 11:10AM) (new)

Mark Kloss (markkloss) | 15 comments Lots of great suggestions!

I would recommend The Royal Institute of Magic
Elizabeth's Legacy
The Shadowseeker
The Protectors

And the rest of the series. It is a similar level to those first Harry Potter books. Just the final book may be a little tough.


message 50: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 20 comments What awesome recommendations, thank you everyone!


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