It’s no fun being a faery. Bryony’s stuck inside a hollow oak tree, doing drudge work for the rest of the faery community, and her prospects aren’t looking especially sparkly. One day, she’s allowed to venture out of the tree into the surrounding countryside, only to encounter the most horrifying, dangerous creature known to faerykind.
That’s right, it’s a boy. Their brief encounter has a profound impact on Bryony. The grubby little fellow didn’t look all that monstrous or threatening. Perhaps the world outside the oak isn’t everything she’s been led to believe. Hmm.
Bryony develops an un-faerylike interest in all things human, and people begin to notice she’s a little odd. Or, at least, odder than they thought she was. Queen Amaryllis unexpectedly apprentices her to the colony’s hunter, a brusque faery named Thorn, and Bryony gets even more outside time, which doesn’t help her suspicion that there’s a lot about both faeries and humans that somebody’s trying to keep secret. Bryony decides to get to the bottom of the mystery.
She’ll have to hurry, or there won’t be any faeries left. There’s a strange disease that’s ravaging the faery colony, robbing them of their minds and their magic as it kills them. Most are of the opinion that humans are the cause of the illness, and also to blame for the great Sundering that robbed the faeries of most of their power long ago, but Bryony doesn’t believe that. When the boy returns and takes up residence in the scary gray stone house across the meadow, she discovers that he may hold the answers to her questions–and perhaps even to the survival of her people.
In Faery Rebels–Spellhunter, R.J. Anderson has woven an appealing tale of magic and mystery among the fey folk of British and Celtic lore (is that redundant?), drawing from the familiar legends while spinning her own unique interpretation.
These are not your run-of-the-mill Disneyfied little sprites. Anderson’s faeries are practical-minded woodland predators with their own curious system of economics and politics. Favors and obligations are the coin of their realm, and being a little too effusive with one’s appreciation can be the fast track to indentured servitude. Knowing where your loyalties lie, and who you can trust, is both a survival skill and the pivot about which the entire story of Bryony and her friends turns.
More on that tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy a meander through the lovely garden of imagination provided by the other contributors to this month’s CSFF Blog Tour.
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<