on September 27, 2011
The Faerie Ring is a story of survival amidst the backdrop of 1871 London. When I think of historical London, I picture majestic castles and richly adorned royals. In reality, there are also dark alleys with scruffy orphans. Tiki is one of those orphans.
There is so much that I like about Tiki. She is the leader to a group of young orphans and they all pick pockets to get by. I admire the way Tiki cared for these orphans and how they all banded together like a family. My favorite orphan is little Clara because of her gentle innocence.
All heck breaks loose when Tiki steals Queen Victoria's ring from the royal castle.The ring has super powers. Now that it is in the wrong hands, the peace between England's rulers and the leaders of the fey is in jeopardy. Tiki holds the ring that will either bring peace or an all-out war. It is like a pick-pocket's worst nightmare!
Tiki finds romance with Rieker, who has acted as her protector from the shadows. A fellow orphan, Rieker has a secret past that will take you by surprise. These two are great together and I like their connection. They both have a sweet spot for orphans that I found endearing. It is not often in young adult novels that I read about a bond as special as this one.
The Faerie Ring depicts survival on more than one level. With an engaging romance and a riveting mystery, KiKi Hamilton's debut left me anxious for more.
The glowing ring is as beautiful as I imagined. The winter snow and Tiki's image are a nice addition, but the ring is what I like best.
on January 4, 2012
I absolutely loved the setting of The Faerie Ring. Victorian Era is one of my favorite time periods to read about now add that in with some very wonderful characters this made for a very quick read. I literally flew through The Faerie Ring because I got so wrapped up in Tikis world.
Hamilton did a wonderful job with all the characters to where I couldn't help but care for each and every one of them even one of the antagonist. She did an excellent job with Tiki. I loved how she was such a strong character and with the things the world threw at her instead of growing cold and hard she still found time to take care of her "family" other orpahaned kids just like her. Honestly how can you not care for the group of orphans that we are introduced to, each one helping in taking care of each other and trying to survive the gritty slums of London.
Reiker is the love interest, and at first I didn't know what to think of him. Was he someone to trust or was he gaming Tiki. He remained a mystery, everytime I thought I knew what he was about his actions made me second guess myself. Learning about him was half the fun.
The book had alot of twists and turns that had me guessing,not to mention discovering the secrets of the characters right along side with them. I like how the main focus wasn't really the faeries but it was about Tiki, her orphan family, and of course the faerie ring which in this case really is a ring and not a circle of mushrooms.
Overall this was a refreshing read for me and looks like a start to a very promising series. I can't wait for the next book in the series although this could have been a standalone with the satisfying ending but I have a feeling there will be a few things touched in the upcoming books that was left a slight mystery.
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.
Years of living on the streets has taught Tiki a lot of things: how to pick a pocket, how to run like her life depends on it after getting caught, and that trust should not be easily given. While trying to hide after stealing some food, Tiki happens upon a beautiful ring that seems to have a flame burning inside its jewel and she can't help but keep it. The ring, as it turns out, is the key to a treaty between humans a the very deadly fey, and the ring leaving the English royal family's hands as it did when Tiki took it puts the fragile peace in jeopardy. Working together with Rieker, a fellow pickpocket who knows a lot about the fey, Tiki tries to navigate the complex situations the ring has brought upon her.
If I had to stop babbling and describe this book in one sentence, this is what I would say: It lacks authenticity and genuine feeling.
To be fair, The Faerie Ring had its strong points. It turned out to be more of a lushly written page-turner than I expected and some parts of the novel, like the urgency to help Clara and Tiki's bond with her fellow orphans, felt genuine. In a way, this makes the final product more disappointing. If Tiki and the orphans' relationship could be made to feel so tangible, why did the important relationship between Tiki and Riecker feel so forced and lack chemistry? Even the antagonist's motivation for everything she does lacked any conviction.
The all-important truce lacked true stakes. What forces the fey to obey the treaty? They're stronger and faster than humans and can move without being seen, and they can easily tear humans apart with their claws and teeth. What could the humans do to them to force them to obey the treaty or punish them? It would be one thing if the fey forged a treaty with humans instead of the other way around, but that wasn't the case. For all the iron weapons the humans can wield, their opponents could easily take them out first. From the way so many humans were getting murdered by the fey later in the novel, I thought the truce was already broken.
Some parts were just... There is no word for it but "dumb." How Tiki got into Buckingham Palace so easily multiple times (come on, this is Buckingham Palace!) is beyond me. A prince blabbermouthing so specifically about how to ransom a very important ring to a pretty girl when it was very suspicious for her to be asking at all borders on mind-boggling. Tiki smelling Rieker's bloodstained coat one morning like the smell of a hot guy's blood in the morning is good needs no further explanation.
The great revelation about who Tiki is and what the mark on her wrist is about, something brought up in the very first chapter? Transparent. I wish it could have been explained a little more once the truth came out because I'm not completely sure what it means even now, but it appears this will be a plot line left open for one of the sequels.
But despite all my listed problems with it and the rating I've given it, I plan to read the sequel. Why? Well, The Faerie Ring was readable enough and nothing about it made me angry. Its main problem was that it was flawed. I feel confident based on what I've read that improvement is possible and I am genuinely interested in seeing where some plot lines left open for the sequels can go. My only worry is a possible love triangle between Rieker, Tiki, and Leo. If that happens, I will not be a happy young woman.
on August 6, 2013
Tiki is a girl who just about lives by pick pocketing people. She doesn't do it to simply steal though. She needs money to survive and being orphaned isn't helping her. She lives with a few other orphans who all try to survive day by day. One day Tiki is out pick pocketing, when she falls asleep on the back of carriage. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a new place, not knowing where she is she look s around and sees this building where people are making fresh bread by the loads. Tiki decides to sneak in and steal some. When going for the breads, she gets caught and runs down the hall and goes into this giant room to hide. Tiki is amazed at the room she's in. She finds herself in this grand library and before she can enjoy it, she has to hide when she hears the door open. Once she hears footsteps leaving the room, she looks at the ring, that was thrown onto the floor. The ring was a beautiful red ruby ring with fire on the inside. Thinking no one will miss it, Tiki takes the ring, and sneaks back out. Once far enough she gets a better look at the building she was just in. It was the palace, Tiki just realized the people in the room were the princes and the queen, and worst of all the ring she stole belong to the queen. Tiki quickly hides the ring and heads back home to the crossing where the other orphans are. The next day she goes out to get medicine for Clara, who is really sick. On the way there she runs into Rieker who says something to her about her mark. Once he's gone Tiki runs back to change and goes to get medicine. Once she has the medicine she goes back to the crossing and gives Clara some of the medicine and wonders on how she will sell the ring. More in the story Tiki goes out and is grabbed by some guy and before anything could happen Rieker appears and the guy runs off. Rieker takes Tiki for tea and makes her listen to what he has to say. He tells Tiki that faeries are real and they are here looking for the ring, which they think Rieker has. But before we can get much information, their conversation is comes to a halt. Tiki gets news that Clara has gotten worse. Tiki runs to her home and decides that Clara needs to go to a hospital. So Tiki and the rest of the orphans all leave for the hospital where Clara is taken in. A while later Tiki finds out that there will be a Masquerade ball at the palace. Tiki along with the others come up with a plan, which involves Tiki going to the ball and finding out what she can earn for the ring and moving it from its current place. While Tiki attends the ball she runs into the Princes and gets to know just what she needs about the ring. After getting what she needs she leave the ball, but not without making an impression on the Princes. Tiki's life goes on normally when she runs into Rieker, who is hurt. She tends to him and quickly moves on after he explains that the Fae have gone after him again. Later that night Tiki hears a sound outside and goes to check it out. She find Rieker being attacked again, and the strange thing is she is the only one who can see them, but put that aside she bring Rieker in and tends to him while the other kids ask what happened. What can they say? I'd go on and on some more and tell you the rest of the book, but that will lead to pages of writing. So I will let you all wonder what will happen and hope you get a copy for yourself. Overall this book gets 4.5 stars.
on September 26, 2012
This book blew my mind. There is no other way to explain this. I'm going to try but I am seriously and utterly in love with this book. I am asking myself why I've owned this book for almost a year now & yet I hadn't read it until now? Why, Jessica, why? I really have no good answer to this...
I do believe I am in love with historical fiction but usually only if there is a paranormal twist to it. Obviously, this book is about faeries (what gave it away, right?) and it's taken place in the late 1800's AND it's in London. It's like three in a row, tic tac toe! I win! I really had no idea how much I was going to love this mainly because of how a friend described it to me. I blame her for putting it off for so long ;) She made it sound so historical and boring. Like the history of fae, which could be interesting but not how she described. Obviously, she needs to do a better job selling books to me which I'll work with her on that but oh my goodness! Tiki, our lovely and adorable heroine is absolutely phenomenal! Like, I absolutely adore her and just want to hug her and tell her how fantastic of a person she is. This girl deserves an award or something. She has such an enormous heart, such intelligence and just always willing to put those she cares most about first. She was orphaned, in a sense, on her own terms. Her parents both died when she was about 14 years old and was forced to live with her and Aunt and Uncle she hardly knew. Her Uncle was a drunk and would look at her in ways that made her uncomfortable and he would make advances toward her that made her hide when he got drunk. She ran away to find her mothers close friend to find out she had passed away and so, she became orphaned. She quickly found a new family with Fiona and Shamus with finding Toots and Clara shortly after that. What I love most about Tiki I think is her dedication and love for poor, sick four year old Clara. That girl is all sorts of adorable and Tiki feels responsible for her. Tiki's world revolves around making Clara better and giving her a life where picking pockets isn't necessary.
I love the history of fae that is tied in with this story and how it involves Tiki. The entire story she is dragged in to a world she never truly believe existed and she's trying to figure out how involved she truly is, especially what the appeal is about unique birthmark on her wrist. Her run in with the fae are putting herself and those she cares about at risk, especially little Clara when she goes missing. The suspence and the desire to keep her family together is intense and emotional.
Her relationship with Rieker is amazing. Rieker is an orphaned pocket picker, as well and he's had his eye on Tiki for quite some time. Especially since he found out she's actually a girl and not a boy she dresses up to be. There is such a great, steady build up on these two...and I'm not talking a romantic relationship but just even their friendship. In the beginning of the book they really aren't friends at all...just have run in to one another from time to time. But we see him more frequently as the book progresses and you and Tiki are trying to figure out how trustworthy this handsome orphan truly is.
Then there's the Royal family. I am utterly in love with the fact that they play such a huge role in this story, and hopefully that role continues in The Torn Wing! Especially Prince Leo! He's dreamy, as a Prince is meant to be (right?), and he's got his eye on Tiki! His relationship with his older brother, Arthur, is charming and gah - I just love them. They're so proper but yet...they're not. Royalty truly are some of the best actors out there...
Now that I mentioned the characters, the story is based around this ring that has been entrusted to the Royal family for safe keeping. Leo 'loses' it and basically London just isn't the same. This extraordinary ring isn't just a beautiful piece of jewelry, it's a faerie ring. It's a truce. As long as the flame inside the ring burns/glows, the two worlds will remain apart but there are those in the UnSeelie court dying to get their hands on it to end the truce and kill all mortals in London. Who knew so many problems would come out of a piece of jewelry?
If you love fantasy, you'll love this. If you love novels taken place in the nineteenth century, you'll love this. If you love London...well, you'll love this. Seriously. For any fae fan...this is one you don't want to miss! It's up there as a favorite behind Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.
on January 31, 2012
What I Liked: 1) I liked Tiki. I thought she was a well-written and very personable main character. Her relationships with Shamus, Fiona, Toots and Clara were very strong and familial, and as a big sister myself, I definitely related to her protective nature to her adopted siblings. 2) Reiker. I wasn't sure what to make of Reiker in the beginning, there is a mystery surrounding him that I never understood until it smacked me in the face. Okay, not literally, but I didn't figure it out until Miz Hamilton spelled it out for me. I enjoy that kind of mystery and always appreciate it when an author can make me feel foolish for not figuring it out sooner! 3) The setting. Set in London, it's easy to visualize and understand where everyone is going, and what they are doing. I'm pretty certain that every place that was described was a real place, and things like that always make faerie tales feel more real to me. 4) Accurate Faerie myths. There are many myths about faeries, but there are some that everyone knows. And it's always obvious to me when an author does his or her research well enough to know what those are, but is also able to put their own spin on things. And Miz Hamilton does that very well.
What I Didn't Like: I expected more about the faeries, honestly. Because of the word faerie being in the title, I expected much more involvement along that story line. But the title isn't wrong. It's called The Faerie Ring, and the ring of the Faeries is truly the main connection from Faeries. We did meet a few though, so I expect that in the future books, there will be more Faerie involvement.
Overall thoughts: The Faerie Ring was an unexpected and fun story. The characters were all very real and personable, and the setting made the story all the more interesting. I still have some questions about who, what, when, where, why and how regarding the faeries, but I'm intrigued enough to know I want to read the next book, The Torn Wing, slated to come out sometime in 2012.
on January 24, 2012
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Review by Kara Grant
My review: Faeries, Pickpockets, and Royalty...such differing characters who all want the same thing----The Faerie Ring!! Tiki is a 16 year old whose parents have died and left her in the care of her estranged relatives. When this arrangement does not work out, she finds herself in the slums of London taken in by an orphan family living on the streets. Soon after, she finds and takes in two more homeless kids who are hungry. These 5 kids must work together: Tiki, Shamus, Fiona, Toots, and Clara.
Tiki learns quickly how to pickpocket and dresses like a boy who stays in shadows unnoticed while she works on different targets. Even though she's breaking the law, she does it to survive and she constantly takes risks to get food and medicine for her orphan family. Then she meets Rieker; a mysterious pickpocket who's known throughout London as having quick hands and can appear out of nowhere. Rieker seems to be following Tiki; can she trust him to help her or is he trying to take her loot?
Tiki makes a point of avoiding Rieker since they each have designated turfs, but one night after barely escaping one man's deep pocket Tiki ends up at Buckingham Palace. She is able to grab some food before hiding in a room waiting to make her exit. That's when she comes across an enchanting ring that she believes will be worth a fortune and a way for her orphan family to finally get a real home. As she comes up with a plan to pawn the ring, she learns a secret truth behind its power. This ring contains a truce between the faeries and humankind, "Peace, for the right of their kind to walk among us undetected. If the ring is lost or destroyed, then the truce is void and the faeries are no longer bound to peace." Tiki learns that the consequences for the ring leaving Queen Victoria's possession are dangerous and deadly. There is a special mark on Tiki's wrist and she learns that this symbol connects her with the faerie world, making her a target for fallen faeries. There is an instant connection with her to the ring that she longs for and she must decide; does she give the ring back to the royal family in hopes for a reward or does she give the ring to the faeries who are hunting her and her family down?
This is not your typical fey story and Hamilton does a great job mixing up the setting and characters from the slums of London to literally the palace (this includes mannerisms, language, and location of both cultures). I've read The Iron Daughter by Kagawa and Wicked Lovely by Marr which are both enchanting fey reads, but Hamilton brings a refreshing approach that I have not seen yet. The Faerie Ring reminds me more of Lord of the Rings, but with faeries. There is a quest to be undertaken and the main character is involved without even trying to be, but instead of having to face the journey alone there is a family backing her up.
It was conflicting for me to read how Tiki must steal from others to survive. I understood why she had to do this and had I been in her shoes I'm sure I would've done the same, but by the middle of the book I had difficulties justifying this lifestyle. Thankfully, by the end of the story Tiki is also tired of it and wants something better for her orphans.
There is violence in this story, but it wasn't graphic (the violence in this book is similar to the violence in Avatar, minus the guns). There are several references to natural disasters that have occurred in history, love how Hamilton fits this as explanation of what happens when the truce between humans and faeries has been broken in the past. They are not described, only mentioned.
Examples are: the fire of 1809 in St. James' Palace, flooding on the east coast, and the great fire of London in 1666. Another indication of the truce being threatened in the story, people are found dead throughout London. Some of them are horrifically killed, but I didn't see this impacting the story in a negative way. It only affirmed that faeries are dangerous creatures and put pressure on Tiki on what to do with the ring. There is also widespread sickness in the story and scenes from a children's hospital, but nothing gory or inappropriate.
My favorite parts of the story is how the characters speak (love the British language) and how far Tiki goes to save her family. There is also a sweet romance that develops between Rieker and Tiki. Both of their families have been killed and the relationship that grows between them helps them heal from that brokenness. There was only slight profanity in the story, d*mn and bloody h*ll.
Words in the British language that got my attention in the story:
hopped a boot=jumped a carriage
a hundred quid=a hundred dollars
costermongers=street sellers, fruits and vegetables
fishmonger=street sellers, fish
hobnobbed=to associate with, rub elbows with
whittling=carving shapes out of wood
are you daft?=are you strange, stupid?
buckets we nicked=buckets we stole
posh=smart and fashionable
guttersnipe=a street urchin, a child who spends most of their time on the streets (this is what a faerie calls Tiki in a rude way)
What I learned about the faeries in this book:
Iron can hurt/kill them
Nicknames are fey, seelies, unseelies, shape-shifters
They wear glamours to look human
When angry, faeries are vicious
They have wings, different shapes and colors
There are good faeries and fallen ones, the fallen ones dominate this story
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure involving six brave orphans fighting to do the right thing while staying alive in the late 1800's in London :) Even though there are paranormal characters in this story, the plot is centered around Tiki and her family. There is only one scene that briefly describes the Faerie Otherworld and it is not a safe place when it happens. Even though Tiki, Rieker and the orphans are the main characters, the Royal family has a minor part in the plot and they are also affected greatly by the missing ring. Hamilton brilliantly creates a world in England where faeries and humans coexist that is both intriguing and practical. Tiki is a heroine that makes mistakes; but she is smart, caring, and determined. This is Hamilton's first book, but this is definitely an author you're going to want to see more of.
I want to thank Kiki for sending me a copy of this for reviewing purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions expressed are indeed my own.
on January 14, 2012
*Sigh* I want to go to London. I need an adventure. 'The Faerie Ring' was just that - an adventure.
Tara Kathleen, aka Tiki, is a 16 year old street urchin who, while pretending to be a boy, pickpockets for a living. Having run away at the age of fourteen from her perverted uncle and his wife (as her own had passed away), Tiki was barely surviving until the day she met some other orphans who took her in and eventually became her family. The group survived on the thefts made by each member everyday, with Tiki bringing in the most.
One day, due to circumstances not in her control, Tiki ends up at, guess where? The Buckingham Palace! Seriously. She finds a ring that looks ridiculously expensive and being the thief that she is, Tiki couldn't resist stealing it. Here's where the story starts. This ring controlled a war that has been going on for centuries between the Fae & Mortals. Hence, the name 'Faerie Ring'.
I really enjoyed 'The Faerie Ring', it had this whole historic London with paranormal elements thrown in. While reading this book, for some reason I kept picturing the sets of Sherlock Holmes (yup, the one with Robert Downey) & Pirates of the Caribbean and I loved both the movies! Kiki Hamilton literally takes you through the streets of London and has written about living in the 1800's in a believable way.
Oh and it doesn't end there - throw in a prince & a pauper you've got your very own fairytale love triangle! Well, ok. Not really a triangle but I wanted it to be. I'm totally on Team Leo!
I liked reading The Faerie Ring and I was fond all the characters, even the small ones who're not really a major part of the plot, which is very rare for me because I usually just like the lead ones. However, that's probably why I'm giving the book only 3.5 stars. I liked all the characters but I didn't love any of them! I never got emotionally attached to anyone, not even Tiki. I guess while the book was good, it wasn't enough for me.
That being said, The Faerie Ring is still a pretty good young adult/paranormal book and I will be picking up the next one in the series!
on October 21, 2011
Set in Victorian England, The Faerie Ring is an enticing blend of historical fiction, romance and the paranormal with lovable characters and a vivid setting that sweeps the reader from opulence to gritty with breath-taking clarity. The plot is full of suspense and twists and it's never easy to guess what will happen next. Well written and utilizing a brand new twist on faerie lore, The Faerie Ring is one heck of a sparkling debut.
Ms. Hamilton paints Victorian era England with the love most writers save only for characters. The result is a setting that is so alive, it's breathing from the little hole in the wall dump Tiki and the others call home at Charing Cross to the opulence and glittering ballrooms of Buckingham Palace. Running through the streets with Tiki was so much fun and by the end of the novel, her world felt real to me.
Speaking of Tiki's world, I loved all of the mechanics that went into being a pickpocket. Ms. Hamilton does a wonderful job of putting the reader right next to Tiki while she steals and we get a sense of the excitement and danger. But we also know why she does it. I loved the different dialects of the shopkeepers and how Tiki could turn her street urchin voice off and on at will. Tiki dual background was a perfect way to have her able to blend in with both worlds, making her a master thief. From her very core she was both thief (we see that in the way she practices making coins disappear in her free time) and middle class in the way she sort of remembers how to do the things she was taught.
Rieker is such a charming scoundrel! Everything from the way he moves to his motivations were addictive. He was seriously put in the novel to make me smile and though I didn't question him as much as Tiki did, it was hard to figure out what was going on behind those smoke grey eyes. The rest of Tiki's gang was just as lovable and I liked that I could see the bound Tiki had with them all. The way they acted with each other made it really easy to see that they'd been doing the same thing for a long time.
Normally third person narrative bothers me but I always relent if it's done well. This is definitely one of those books that makes me throw up my hands and admit that when it works, it works. Being able to see a little bit of what everyone was doing helped the reader piece all the clues together and made for one heck of a suspenseful ending. The plot twists this way and that, involving plenty of slight of hand to keep the reader guessing, and came to a satisfying close... with room for a sequel.
I must admit that I am still a bit fuzzy on the details of the magic and faerie. I liked the lore Ms. Hamilton set up in the book but I wish I understood a bit more about how Tiki connects to it and got to see a taste of the "good" faeries. I think it would have clarified a few things for me. I did love the ring being the item the truce was sealed in and how the fey existed in London. The only other thing is that the story did feel a bit weighty to me in the middle which slowed down my reading just a bit.
The enchanting Victoria England backdrop, lovably rough-around-the-edges gang of characters and gripping plot make The Faerie Ring a gem among the normal paranormal fiction. If you like your historical fiction with a dash of the paranormal and a bit of intrigue, check this one out!
on March 16, 2012
The Faerie Ring is a fantastic mix of historical fiction, romance and adventure. Kiki Hamilton has crafted a beautiful story about an orphan with an extraordinary gift.
First let's start off with the setting. I love stories set in Victorian England and the setting feels incredibly authentic in this one. The dialect and dress are perfect for the time period. Tiki travels from the slums of London to the Royal Palace and Kiki Hamilton doesn't miss a beat.
Tiki is the main character and a street urchin in Victorian England. Tiki is also a girl which makes life all the more challenging. She lives with a group of misfit pick pockets in order to make the best of her situation. Tiki's pick pocketing adventures lead her to Reiker, the mysterious thief who decides to help and protect Tiki. All of the characters are well developed and by the end of the story you feel like you are surrounded by friends.
The story is well paced and will keep you guessing. What does Tiki's strange birthmark mean and why does Reiker seem so taken aback by it? The questions will keep you turning the pages and the writing will keep you thoroughly entertained. The Faerie Ring is a fantastic read from debut author Kiki Hamilton. I highly recommend it!