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Alan Garner biography and books reviewed

Alan Garner is best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. His work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect. Born into a working-class family in Congleton, Cheshire, Garner grew up around the nearby town of Alderley Edge, and spent much of his youth in the wooded area known locally as 'The Edge', where he gained an early interest in the folklore of the region.

Alan Garner reviews

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

A tale of Alderley. When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights. But the heart of the magic that binds them – Firefrost, also known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen – has been lost. The Wizard has been searching for the stone for more than 100 years, but the forces of evil are closing in, determined to possess and destroy its special power. Colin and Susan realise at last that they are the key to the Weirdstone’s return. But how can two children defeat the Morrigan and her deadly brood?

"The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is one of the most important books in children’s fantasy. It has been an enormous inspiration to me and countless other writers, and is as enjoyable and fascinating now as it was when I first read it, wide-eyed and mesmerised at the age of ten." Garth Nix

"I devoured this book in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down, losing myself in both the story and the memories that it evoked of my own childhood. I think that this is a serious contender for the best children’s fantasy – certainly high or epic fantasy ever written, it is certainly the best I have been privileged to read. I acknowledge that others may not feel the same and might not get it – fair enough, after all, some people criticise Gemmell, Brooks, Lewis, Rowling – even Tolkien has people who just don’t buy into their work. But if you are a genuine fan of epic fantasy, get a copy of this book, read it and then share it with your children – they will never forget it." Stuart E Wise, Fantasy Book Review

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The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner

In conclusion, this is a very strange book. There are an incredible number of really good things in it, but there is too much unnecessary detail for very young children and a conclusion that will not satisfy most adult readers. Therefore it falls into a category where it does not really satisfy any target audience, which is a shame because I love Alan Garner’s work.

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Boneland by Alan Garner

I've never read Alan Garner so this book's placement is based on readers' input. When a book gets a lot of positive feedback on this site it signifies that it holds a very special place in many hearts. It is the fourth book in a series which began with the Weirdstone of Brinsingamen, set in a mythical place called Alderley Edge. Now I live close to and have worked even closer to the real Alderley Edge in Cheshire so I need to read these books soon (it seemed rather posh in a nouveau riche way but otherwise unextraordinary). So I need to discover how Garner made this place magical. And I will. This is a readers' choice book and series.

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