The GenreUrban Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Faeries
The PlotFrom 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.
The ReviewFirst 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
The VerdictI 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
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.