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Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults.
on Nov. 08, 2012 :
Faeries, you say? More faeries? I know, I know. The YA market has become quite saturated with Faeries and Fairies (and any other spelling you can think of ) - especially since the success of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. So, what makes this series different and worth reading? A few things: an original take on human/faerie interaction, amazing world-building, entertaining dialogue and a kick-ass female main character to start.
In this faerie world, humans are strictly forbidden. They are never to know anything about Faerie. Of course, there are the baddies who want to take advantage of humans, or maybe eat them for dinner, but that's where the Guardians come in. Guardians are an elite group of Faeries who are trained to fight their darker counterparts and protect humans. They use glamour to hide themselves from us. I thought this take on Faerie was unique. Usually faeries - light and dark both - are all about taking advantage of humans in whatever way they can. I found it refreshing that in this world, there are faeries who want to protect us.
The world was also unique. The fae live mostly like humans do but things we do with technology, they do with magic. They create light with magic, they have "sound drops" that play music into your ears when you stick them to your temples, they even have modern conveniences like bathrooms - with a magical twist:
I jump off the bed and join him at the doorway to the bathing room. He peers in at what looks like a slice of nature. Grass grows naturally, and a pool fills the center of the room. Scattered amongst the blades of grass are hundreds of tiny blue and yellow flowers. Trees with tangled branches conceal the walls, and water tumbles down a pile of rocks and into the other side of the pool.
"You are kidding me, " says Nate. "You have a pool in your bathroom?"
"The bath idea never really took off," I say. "Self-cleaning pools have been in for centuries. And the mini-waterfall provides an excellent shower."
It's details like these that make me really fall in love with not only the story, but the world it is set in.
Violet, or Vi, is a faerie training to be a Guardian. Nate happens to be an assignment. After fighting off a baddie, she realizes that Nate can see through her glamour. She tries to high-tail it out of there but Nate hitches a ride with her to Creepy Hollow, the faerie world. So, now Vi is in trouble! She has broken the first and most important rule of Faerie - no humans allowed! As part of her punishment, she is tasked with protecting this human boy while escorting him back to the human world. This is where the action starts. I'm not going to tell you more than that because I don't want to ruin it for you. Suffice it to say that there's quite a bit of action.
I loved the interactions between Nate and Violet at the beginning of the book. I laughed out loud in a couple of parts and snickered at others. The author did a really great job of writing Nate as a human who learns that magic and faeries are real. He has all these misconceptions based on fairy tales and movies and that makes for some great dialogue.
"No way," he says, rustling the leaves as he stands. "You can't be a faerie. You're way too big."
I lower my hands. "Excuse me?" I've been called many things in my seventeen years, but 'big' has never been one of them...
"Aren't faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?"
"I'm not Tinker Bell!" ....
"So you don't have wings then?" he asks, completely ignoring what I just said.
"Sure I do, they're in my pocket."
Of course, Nate and Violet end up an item. This is actually the part that almost lost me. Anyone who has read this blog before knows that I am not a fan of insta-love and Nate and Violet walk a very fine line there. There is no big declaration of love, no declaration that they are soul mates, but things develop a little too quickly for my taste.
I really enjoyed the storyline and thought the pacing was good. There was a point somewhere towards the middle of the book where it almost seemed like I was reading a different book about the same characters. I can't say more without giving anything away but that was a little jarring for me. This book was originally published as four separate novellas so this makes sense to some extent. We go from romance with Nate and Vi to no Nate and backstory with Ryn instead. Later on, things became more clear and I could see how things fit together but while reading there was definitely a little bit of a disconnect between the plotlines. Generally, this book moved along quickly and was very entertaining.
My favorite thing about this book was the main character, Violet. She is a strong heroine both physically and mentally. She has a smart mouth and is funny. She works hard to be the best at what she does. She is dedicated to her work and to the people she cares about. At the same time, she still has vulnerabilities and insecurities that make her a believable character. I enjoyed reading from Violet's perspective and watching her question and grow along the way.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this one. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale, fans of fantasy and especially fans of Julie Kagawa and her Iron Fey series. This was an original take on the Fae and I can't wait to read more!
P.S. I'm Team Ryn!
(reviewed the day of purchase)