The Genre

Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Faeries


The Plot

From the book:

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.


Mailyn Says:

The Review

First of all let me start by saying that I was pleasantly impressed by this book but, even before we get into that, let me warn you all: do not be fooled by the title. This book pays homage to the REAL faerie tales, not the watered-down Disney versions of today. If you've ever had the pleasure of reading the true collected works of the Grimm bothers, unabridged mind you, then you know what I am talking about.

Consider the fact that most faerie tales back in the days were used to explain the unexplainable; the things that went bump in the night and those that could bump you off. They were also used to pretty much scare the children into not doing things they weren't supposed to do like, say, wander off in the woods alone.

This is THAT kind of faerie tale. Black isn't afraid to portray the Fae as they were known back when the Grimm’s were around. These are mean, bloodthirsty faeries and they have way too much fun being evil.

My kind of book. Mehehe.

OK, seriously now, you do have good and bad faeries but the bad seem to outnumber the good ones by a mile and then some. Black doesn't squirm when it comes to portraying the evilness that they are capable of and this is always good in setting up a believable adversary for the heroes. After all, wimpy evilness never scared anyone.

Although I did love this book a lot and am now officially obsessed with this series, I do have to admit that Black's writing does tend to reflect what her target audience is: Young Adults. That does not mean that the book is boring or that she doesn't paint her pictures well. It simply means that Black doesn't seem to be as thorough in her language, her prose and the minute details of her every page unlike say Garth Nix and his Abhorsen trilogy, Rowlings and her Harry Potter or Meyers and her Twilight.

To be sure, don't read this expecting another Bella and Edward or you will be sourly disappointed. Kaye is as far from Bella as werewolves are from vampires. Her world is not pretty. Trailer trash is the only way to describe her friends and family. I should know because I had plenty of friends back when I was in high school that were, for lack of better words, white trash. The way they talk, the things they do, I don't know if Black did much research but I'm willing to bet she did. I can almost see some of my friends in the manner these kids interact with adults and with each other. It brought back a lot of memories. But let’s keep with the review, shall we?

The mood of the book is also darker and more somber since, as I explained, Black isn't afraid to "go there". People die in this book. People you wished hadn't die but this keeps you on your toes wondering who is going to make it to the end unharmed. I have read many an urban fantasy and, as this was young adult, didn't expect much in the usually dark department that represents most urban fantasy novels. I am glad to say I was wrong and this fits into the genre perfectly, young adult label be damned.

Another thing I loved in the book were the characters themselves. Kaye is far from being the usual heroine we are all used to. Even in fantasy it's hard to find a heroine that is just so, well, trashy. She dropped out of school, she drinks, she smokes, she comes and goes whenever she wants, and she is all of 16 years old. Of course she is the product of her flighty mother's lifestyle but still, it was also a pleasant surprise not to have a little Miss Perfect, as it would have ruined the urban fantasy aspect

As far as heroes go, Roiben the Black Knight is great. I won't say he is the best I've ever read but he is very, very good. Reminded me somewhat of Daemon and Lucivar of Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. He has suffered much because of the jobs he is forced to do as he is a slave to the evil Queen, which by the way, reminds me a lot of Dorothea the evil bitch Queen in the Black Jewel’s, except I find this crazy Queen scarier.


The Verdict

I say this book begs to be read. true to the Urban Fantasy genre, it’s not afraid to show you the darker side of life and it’s just all around entertaining. You will be hooked from the get go and, indeed, I am on my way to Amazon to order the next book in the series: Valiant.

A solid 4.5 out of 5



Kailana Says:

I am going to try and add on to what Mailyn said without repeating too much, so bear with me. I was drawn to this book from both reviews that I have read and from the fact that it was a fairy tale. I just seem to REALLY enjoy fairy tales. And this was no exception. It takes you no time at all to read, but it is so rewarding while you are doing it. For a young adult book, it was well-written. I agree with Mailyn, she seems to get a bit more childish with her writing than other young adult authors, but it doesn't take away from the book at all.

The first thing I must do is say that I liked Kaye more than Bella from Twilight. Mailyn compares, so I must do so too. I found Bella annoying, Kaye was more hardcore. I have been reading New Moon by Meyer, but have not got into it yet. Black's book draws you in from the very first page! I really enjoyed reading it. Robiben is also an interesting character. I would say this was totally his development stage, I think he will just improve with every novel you read by him. He is just coming into his own in this book, getting the chance to stand on his own two feet, so I think he will be a very interesting character to watch in future novels. I can see the comparisions with Anne Bishop, though.

Anyways, I strongly recommend this book to anyone that doesn't mind fantasy. It is a modern fantasy novel, and it is written very well. I look forward to reading the sequel.

I also give it a 4.5/5.

11 comments:

I have had this on my list for a while! Sounds god!

I enjoyed it and look forward to getting to the sequel some day soon. When I reviewed I mentioned similar things. I thought the very beginning was very juvenile...juvenile in the sense that it seemed like she was trying to hard with the bad language and sexual ideas to titillate her target audience. After a bit though I felt like she got more into her element when the story kicked in. Once faerie really started to be part of the story it flowed very well and ended up being a very interesting read.

I seem to be in the camp of those who loved Tithe but couldn't get through Valiant. Red flags went off left and right after I read the first couple of chapters. I hope you all have better luck.

Keishon

Yeah, now I am glad I am waiting for it to come out in paperback.

I am also waiting for the paperback since I have heard similar things. Does anyone know if this is an ongoing series or just the two books? I really enjoyed Tithe once I got pass the first few chapters.

I saw the paperback for Valiant out at Borders today, so hopefully you all should see it soon. There is another book that will feature Roiben and Kay, forget title but it's at Amazon already. I think I may read that one after a couple of reviews first.

What disappointed me keenly about Valiant was that it didn't feature Roiben and Kay - it wasn't a direct sequel as I had assumed. Even so, the beginning was really good but it didn't continue. Again, I'd love to know what you all think as we all have different opinions and such. I just wish the author would have stayed with her original characters, which were more compelling and likable.

Keishon

This is my favorite book of all time, I'm happy to see it get such great reviews! Have you heard of Ironside? Its the sequel!

I loved this book so much!!! It is one of my all time favorites and I read it in one day. I did not know there was a sequel!!!!!!! I was disappointed too when Roiben and Kaye didn't show up in Valiant. But hey, if their coming back I must go find Ironside!! ^-^ (runs off to find it)Ps. how is my english? It is not my native language.
Ja Ne! (goodbye)

Great review! This has been on the top of my list for awhile. Now I'm even more excited about it!

I really enjoyed this book a whole lot. After reading it and thinking about it, it reminded me of the freeware game "A Tale of Two Kingdoms" a lot actually. I never read the original Grimm faerie tales so game happened to be what I related the book to. The existence of Seelie and Unseelie, the self-bored stone, iron hurting fay, changelings, love of riddles, hatred of humans, it's all there in this game. You should really check it out, just google the name and find it, it's a free download. If you like this book and you like point-and-click games, I suggest you play A Tale of Two Kingdoms.

Fantastic book. There are so many sub-par fantasy stories out there that I usually skim through new ones, looking for an excuse to put it down. This one held me to the end, and even made it into my collection of books I keep with me when I move houses. It's rare for a book to surprise me like that. Why hasn't this book gotten more recognition? It's well written, a fresh take on traditional fantasy, and has strong characters I cared about. Very well done!

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.

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