I made these quotes up, but they would fit into numerous novels. I was talking with my family this evening and we talked about how it's a common theme in literature -- that there used to be a Golden Era, or at least a time when things were pretty darn good, but that things aren't quite as good anymore.
So instead of doing homework (as we should have been) my brother and I sit down to come up with a list of books that fall into the "Ain't what it used to be" category, and here they are, in no particular order.
And please, feel free to add your own books in the comments!
Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
Knowledge of old magic was forgotten, and they need that knowledge back!
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Apparently wizards of the past were more powerful, on the whole.
Jedi were killed off. Enough said.
City of Ember by Jeanne DePrau
Exactly explaining would give the plot away...
Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini
The Dragonriders were killed off a hundred years ago, and an evil king has taken over. Things are definitely not as good as they used to be.
Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Pern was colonized in the distant past, but over many generations much technology and knowledge was lost.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The elves aren't as powerful as they used to be.
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
A lot of powerful spells have been lost or forgotten, or they simply don't know how to make the charms work anymore.
Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce
The Immortals used to be locked up in the realms of the gods where they didn't bother humans. But now the spell has been broken, and the Immortals are causing trouble. Unfortunately, the spell to lock them up again seems to have been lost... (There's much more to the story than this, trust me.) (Yes, I love it, which is why I'm devoting so much more time to it than the others...)
Bone by Jeff Smith
Anarchy, and other fun stuff.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Due to genetic engineering and some big time medical mistakes, the world isn't so great anymore.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Things are going downhill. Fast. Global warming, government falling apart...fun fun fun. Not.
Black Magician trilogy by Trudi Canavan
Magicians used to be so much more powerful. But how is that possible?
NOTE: I have spread this out over two posts, because Blogger will only let me do 200 characters in the "labels". Agh. So you may view part 2 here, if you so wish.