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Outcast Paperback – July 20, 2017
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About the Author
Lauren Hillman is an actor, writer and teacher from Vancouver, BC.
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Merissa is introduced right away as a faerie that doesn't know what kind of Faerie she is. That's a problem in a society that separates the faeries into what they can do: Earth Faeries nurture the earth, Frost Faeries bring the frost, etc. It's self descriptive and when a faerie is born, they're meant to know who they are. Merissa, our main character, cannot recall her beginning and despite her best efforts cannot summon magic of any kind. Now an Outcast, she goes about her life with a niggling thought as to what she might be, something not talked about in Faerie society and forbidden: a changeling, a human that was altered to become Fae. Is this why the Queen wants her dead? It's that thought and that threat of death that sends her on a quest to discover who she is.
The venom that came from her fellow faeries in Reya, their town/village, was deep cutting and very harsh. I was feeling horrible for Merissa as well as anger at her "friends" for betraying her and turning their backs when she had questions. Rather than be supportive, they succumbed to fear and cast her out as much as they could. While this was hinted at in the summary, plus the obvious title, I was shocked to see how it was conveyed in a few simple actions and words.
Merissa's journey, once she leaves the little clearing and tiny home she's known for as long as she can remember, is an enormous one. Not just because she is a faerie that can hide beneath a daisy, but because she has to learn to trust after being shown a lot of unkindness over the course of two years. She learns truths, such as what she is exactly and the identity of the 'people' she comes across (Zara, for example); some of these I didn't even consider during my reading!
I was slightly disappointed in where the story ended because it felt a little abrupt, but overall I think it did make sense. There's still quite a lot of danger for Merissa and her party. There's more adventure to come as they search for a safe place, one that may very well lay outside of Faerieland.
I think that the book could have used another once over before publication because I found a couple of examples of errors in printing, things like words missing or extra words that were spelled correctly and so would be missed by a spell check. Also, some of the language was a bit clumsy when in conversation, giving me a bit of a struggle on occasion.
I don't know how long this series is going to be, but I am anticipating the next book because I need to know what happens. Will the Queen find and carry out what she promised at the end of the book? How will Merissa stay true to her Faerie identity when those she is supposed to protect are not always good? There's a lot of find out when Lauren Hillman's next book comes out.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My favorite part of this book is the encounters and friends Merissa makes along her journey. She starts off and outcast, but makes strong bonds along the way. I also loved the mystery around who Merissa is and why she has no magic. There are many twists and turns along the book that helps keep the reader engaged.
The world building was amazing and there are so many different fae in this book all living together.
I was surprised to find in the end that this is a book in a series, so I'm not sure how it ends.
The writing style is really engaging and the characters jump off the page. I think we all need a best friend who is a hummingbird and a leprechaun to make our shoes. I appreciated the bits of humor sprinkled throughout. Overall, it was very whimsical and light-hearted, but really dives into the importance of loyalty and friendship. If I only had one word to describe the story, I would call it magical. And I while I am not the age of a middle school kid anymore (so sad), I would think that many young girls would feel the same way.