Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal, by Emily Rodda

The Crystal dims.
The Chooser is summoned . . .

When a messenger bears this strange message from the far-off land of Maris, Rowan doesn’t realise the impact it will have on him – and on those close to him. His mother, it turns out, is The Chooser and Rowan, as her first-born, is the next in line. Together they must travel all the way to the sea to help the Maris peopl choose their new leader, the Keeper of the Crystal.

Along the way, Rowan learns of his mother’s role as The Chooser, and of the responsibilities he must take on should anything happen to her. Little does he expect this to occur.

In Maris, though, nothing is as Rowan expects, and soon he finds himself faced with challenges and decisions previously unimaginable. Can he find the courage and wisdom to make these decisions, and fulfill all his obligations?

Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal is the third title in this popular series from author Emily Rodda.

Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal, by Emily Rodda
Omnibus Books, 1996

Rowan and the Travellers, by Emily Rodda

The secret enemy is here,
It hides in darkness, fools beware!

The people of Rin tolerate Sheba only because they need her potions. They are scared of her and avoid her until they need her skills. So, when she is troubled by dreams, Rowan is frightened by her prophesies. Sheba recites a rhyme to Rowan, a rhyme which troubles him, though he can make no sense of it.

When the Travellers arrive in the village, Rowan and most of the other villagers are excited. But when strange things start to happen, Rowan remembers Sheba’s words and wonders if the Travellers are the enemy mentioned in the verse.

When the other villagers of Rin are mysteriously struck down and the travellers disappear, it is up to Rowan to solve the riddle and save his people. But first he must decide if the Travellers are enemies or allies.

Rowan and the Travellers is a gripping sequel to Rowan of Rin. Emily Rodda tells a tale of fantasy and adventure, entwined with themes of friendship, trust and courage. In choosing Rowan, seen in ordinary times as a weakling, as her hero, she presents young readers with an image of strength beyond the purely physical. Suitable for readers aged 10 and over, the Rowan books make an excellent introduction to the fantasy genre.

Rowan and the Travellers, by Emily Rodda
Omnibus Books, 1994

Sabriel, by Garth Nix

Born in the Old Kingdom, Sabriel has not been within its walls for many years. She has lived in the safety of her school, away from the power of free magic. But something has happened – her father, Abhorsen, has vanished and she is the only one who can find him.

Back in the Old Kingdom, Sabriel discovers that she is much more than she ever thought she was, or could be. Others are know calling her Abhorsen, and looking to her to save the Old Kingdom from the terrible evil that lurks beyond the grave. All Sabriel wants is to find her father and return his title to him. The two quests – finding her father and saving the Kingdom – become one, and Sabriel must draw on all she has learnt and much that she learns along the way, as well as the strength of her friends, old and new.

Sabriel is an absorbing fantasy- rich in depth, in originality and excitment, yet accessible even to those new to the genre. It is little wonder the book was a winner of the Aurealis Award for Australian Speculative Fiction, and that the remaining titles of the trilogy have been eagerly awaited.

Sabriel, by Garth Nix
First Published by Harper Collins, 1995, newly published by Allen & Unwin (2003)

Rowan of Rin, by Emily Rodda

Rowan is the weakest child in the village. While the other children of Rin are brave and strong, Rowan has many fears. He is given the job of tending the bukshah herd, a job with no real challenge attached. But when the stream that flows through the village dries up, it is Rowan who has the power to to solve the problem.

Along with six of the strongest and bravest villagers, Rowan must climb the mountain that overshadows the village and find a way to restore the water supply.

On the mountain each of the seven must face his or her deepest fear. Only one will have the courage and the wits to reach the top and overcome the final challenge.

Rowan of Rin is a timeless fantasy story for younger children and would make an ideal introduction to the genre. Awarded the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, the title has been reprinted several times since its first release in 1993 – a testament to its popularity.

Rowan of Rin, by Emily Rodda
Omnibus Books, 1993

The Singer of All Songs, by Kate Constable

The wall of ice that surrounds Antaris is impenetrable. No one can get in or out of the land without the powerful chantments of the priestesses who live within the wall. So, when Calwyn finds an unconcious stranger lying inside the great wall, she can’t believe her eyes. Somehow this stranger has achieved the impossible.

Calywn decides to help the man, and is drawn into the biggest adventure of her life – a quest which may impact not only on her own future, but on that of the whole of Tremaris.

With Darrow (the injured man) she meets and journeys with Tonno and Xanni, fisherman brothers, Mica, who can call the wind, Halasaa, who can talk to the beasts without words, and young Trout. Together the group hopes to defeat the evil sorcerer Samis, who seeks to master all Nine mystical powers of Chantment and so be the Singer of All Songs, and ruler of Tremaris.

This refreshing fantasy is a gripping read, with appeal to both female and male readers, from teen to adult.

Kate Constable has previously had stories published in various literary magazines. This is her first novel.


The Singer of All Songs
, by Kate Constable
Allen & Unwin, 2002