R J Anderson
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Knife, a young faerie confined within her kingdom inside a large oak tree, is determined to escape to the outside world. As a girl, she came face to face with a human, and survived. Since that day, her curiosity about the house and the strange creatures who live inside it only grows. When Knife finds an opportunity to get a closer look, she takes it. But with every new discovery she makes about the outside world, the strict rules and strange customs of her people only feel stranger and well, wrong. Maybe Knife can save them. If she can find out why her people lost their magic to begin with, perhaps she can reverse the spell. But doing so will risk her place among her people, and it may force her to accept truths about herself, her queen, and her human friend that she’s not ready to face.
I’ll admit that when I picked up this book I was a little iffy. I’ve read a few other novels about faeries recently that really didn’t draw me in. This one, though, really surprised me.
I liked that the faerie realm was not another dimension or whatever, but was this hidden world within an oak tree in the back yard of a house in a rural neighborhood. I loved the way the friendship between Knife and Paul happens. The faeries have cut themselves off from all other creatures and their culture, while perfectly preserved from any outside influences, is dying just as surely as the faeries are. As Knife explores more and more of the outside world, her view of her people changes, and she begins to see how important community is—not just the homogenous community of her own people, but the interaction with others outside the community. This is a great theme, and so true to life. We absolutely need others in our lives above and beyond those who are exactly like us. So I thought the faerie landscape was a really clever way to pull that message into the story without at all sounding preachy. As Knife spent time with others, her creative instincts were stirred and she begins to create new things, something no faerie has done in her lifetime. I loved that.
I liked how Anderson brought the faerie culture to life with just a few really crisp details. The fact that all faeries are female. The idea that one has to bargain or trade one thing for another constantly. No favors among faeries, because owing a debt to someone is a big deal. Things like that made the culture seem really alive to me.
I definitely want to continue reading this series. The second book, Rebel features different central characters, but I enjoyed the faerie world so much I’m definitely interested in reading more. If you liked The Last Faerie Queen or the Goldstone Wood books, you might want to give this series a try.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A couple of kisses.
References to the Great Gardener, with whom the faeries seem to credit creation, etc. At one time all faeries had magic. Now only their queen has it.
Vague references to an accident which leaves a man paralyzed from the waist down. A crow attacks and tries to kill faeries until one fights back, injuring it and hoping to kill it. There are a couple of short descriptions of battles between crow and faeries.