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Elfland (Aetherial Tales) Mass Market Paperback – May 25, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Aetherial Tales Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific British author Warrington (the Jewelfire Trilogy), mostly unknown in the U.S., puts a distinctive spin on human/nonhuman relations in this sensuous, relationship-driven story, the first of the Books of the Silver Wheel. The feylike Vaethyr regularly travel between the Spiral and our world until the gates are summarily and permanently closed by Lawrence Wilder, the Gatekeeper. He warns of danger, but the Vaethyr on Earth need to return to the Spiral to survive. Much of the book is devoted to describing the turbulent life of Rosie, daughter of Vaethyr king Auberon, and her love triangle with Sam and Jon, Wilder's troubled sons, as long years without reconnecting to their aetherial selves slowly drive the Vaethyr mad. Solid wordplay, great pacing and a thrilling conclusion will definitely earn Warrington some new American fans. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

PRAISE FOR

ELFLAND

“Anyone who has ever felt the real world might suddenly waver—to reveal a glimpse of Otherness—will find the reason why in this erotic and colorfully evoked mix of glamorous gothic Faerie and modern values. A glittering treasure-trove and a stunning read for Warrington’s multitude of fans.”

—TANITH LEE, WORLD FANTASY AWARD–WINNING AUTHOR

“An absorbing and gripping journey into a world where the otherworldly shivers alongside us, unseen. Sensitive characterization and evocative scene-setting draw you into the tale; you won’t want to leave it.”

—STORM CONSTANTINE, AUTHOR OF THE WRAETHTHU HISTORIES

“A literally enchanted story of magic, love, loyalty, and hope, imbued with an authentically pagan sensibility.”

—LIZ WILLIAMS, AUTHOR OF

THE SHADOW PAVILION

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Product Details

  • Series: Aetherial Tales (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765358409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765358400
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on August 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Cross Elizabeth Hand with Fire and Hemlock, and you might end up with something like Freda Warrington's _Elfland_. This is the kind of big, sweeping modern faerie tale that you don't see often on the adult shelves anymore. There's been some beautiful work done in YA recently, but in the adult realm, the trend has been away from novels like this. And that's a shame. _Elfland_ is complex, rich, sensual, beautifully written, and sometimes heartbreaking.

I devoured _Elfland_. I carried it with me everywhere for four days, because I never knew when I might have a spare five minutes to steal a page or two. When I was at work, I looked forward to going home so I could read more. I read late into the night, every night. I was hooked. That, to me, is the surest sign of a five-star book: the complete inability to put it down unless I absolutely have to!

Our heroine, Rosie Fox, is of Aetherial (fae) descent, living with her family just this side of the Great Gates that divide our world from the Otherworld. Rosie's haughty neighbor, Lawrence Wilder, is the Gatekeeper, and as such, is supposed to open the Gates every seven years to allow travel, and a flow of energy, between the realms. As the story opens, however, he has shut the Gates, claiming a great danger lurks on the other side. Elfland follows Rosie, her family and friends, and Lawrence's family over the course of the next fourteen years. Fourteen years: long enough for a girl to grow into a woman, for loves to be lost and found, and for family secrets to explode. Long enough for some Aetherials to decide it's better to deny their fae nature, and for others to resort to desperate measures to reopen the Gates.
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Format: Hardcover
"What a great book!" That was my first thought on completing "Elfland." It was one of those books that I would read far into the night, telling myself: "just one more chapter, just one more chapter..." until I couldn't even keep my eyes open. In a nutshell: it's unique, it's clever, it's funny and it's definitely not what you'd expect from this particular genre.

Probably best described as urban fantasy, "Elfland" concerns a community of people known as Aetherials. The Aetherials are physically indistinguishable from humans, and move between this earthly plain and their true home called the Spiral in another dimension. A Gatekeeper controls the way in and out, but at the start of this novel, the current keeper - Lawrence Wilder - has flatly refused to open it, claiming that there is something deadly on the other side. Some Aetherials believe him, others don't, and yet there's nothing that any of them can do considering that only Lawrence has the power to open it.

As year follows year, the Aetherials feel the inevitable entropy that comes without access to the rejuvenating powers of their home, and the latest generation grows up with no experience of their powers or heritage. Some are quite happy with this arrangement, wanting to embrace normality and the human world. But obviously, others are more interested in finding a way in...

Despite all the fantasy trappings, "Elfland" is predominantly a family drama, as most of the action involves the members of two specific families: the cold and wealthy Wilders, and the warm and loving Foxes. Between the two families exists a strange bond, not a "feud" as such, but rather an inability to keep out of each other's lives for reasons that only become clear when the dark family secrets are brought to life.
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Format: Hardcover
Elfland is not at all what I expected. Don't be fooled by the cover. This isn't a magical adventure tale of some youngster discovering faery for the first time. This is a much richer, more adult tale more along the lines of how faery can twist people or change families along the lines of Graham Joyce's Some Kind of Fairy Tale or a darker Charles de Lint.

Elfland follows the fortunes of mainly two families in a small, English town. They follow the old ways, and are part of an ancient magic that the patriarch of one family has decided to shut off from the others.

The results of this decision trickle down through our ensemble cast. Matthew turns away from his otherness, and in doing so creates unbearable strain in his marriage, the two youngest boys find solace in drugs and dangerous rituals, and one brother bears the brunt of outside misuderstanding by going to jail. Finally there is Rosie, who seems to choose always the wrong man.

There is lovely tapestry of fey magic underneath the story, but as it mostly occurs in our world with problems that seem all too real (aforementioned drugs, family issues, abuse) I felt the magic layer was more of a setting than the focus of the story. Really the focus is on the families and how youngsters can feel cut off and adrift from tradition and then find their way back home.

But its a slow, richly-written journey, and not one to be zipped through or read looking for adventures and quests.

This Book's Snack Rating: Goat cheese on pumpernickel crackers for the rich taste of a magical village with the slight sourness of family troubles
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