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Street Fair (Fair Folk Chronicles Book 2) Kindle Edition
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I had some difficulty with the first of the Fair Folk Chronicles because it really made faeries much more sugary-sweet than they are traditionally said to be. That's still the case here; despite a bit of a bloodthirsty toast at one point, even the Unseelie court is kind of like a bunch of teenagers who just like to hang around and play pranks on each other rather than be menacing in any meaninful way. The Seelie court is basically all sweetness and light. Ashling the pixie continues to annoy me beyond all reason. However, the story as a whole appealed to me and agreed with me much more, and that's because of the topic. The integration of the Fomoiri and Balor really hit a sweet spot for me, and I can tell you exactly why: because I associate it with Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, and specifically the fourth book, A Wizard Abroad, which deals with the same subject though in a different way. That actually really helped re-orient myself regarding how to look at this book. Until that topic started to come in, I was looking at the Fair Folk books as young adult books, but they're really not. I can't remember exactly how old the main characters are (though Lani can drive, so they must be about sixteen), but in writing and subject, these books are much more middle-grade than young adult. There is very light kissing, but also a lot of parental supervision and the whole thing is very clean, which is really more characteristic of the middle-grade than the young-adult age group these days. The same goes for the Young Wizards books.
As for the book itself... This is obviously much more of a "series" book than the first one is. It has a plot of its own, albeit one that involves a lot of running around and not actually doing a much, The integration of these parts of Gaelic mythology are pretty cool, and I think it would be a good way to get younger readers interested in such topics. But it also sets up for a continuance, which the first book in the series didn't. Book 3 (A Fair Fight) will clearly deal with the set-up from here, and I'm curious to see if the fourth book (All's Fair) will continue on from Book 3 or if it will be more of a standalone story like the the first volume was. Seeing Megan gain some more control of her abilities, and realize some of the repercussions of dealing with faeries, was pretty neat. At the same time, though, much of the book did end up reading like set-up for the next one. Some of the elements also didn't seem to fit for me. For example, the main villain is known as the Butterfly Collector to the main characters, and apparently is the person who was behind the ruination of Ashling's wings. But he doesn't seem to have done this more than once; now, I'm not saying that it's not bad to have only done it once, because clearly it was, but why Collector? That indicates multiple times. Was this something that was brought up in Book 1 but that I forgot? If so, disregard, but it was a bit discordant to me. Also, as I mentioned before, the plot seems to involve a lot of running around and fight scenes, but very little of that actually advanced the plot. It was more filler until the higher-ups decided to do something--and most of it was incredibly stupid of the characters to do in the first place, something that they acknowledged but then proceeded on with anyway because "there weren't other options" even though there really were.
I'm interested to see where the next book here goes; there are definitely indications that all chaos is about to break loose. Now that I've been able to re-orient my view of these books, they do agree with me more, and I think these would be good options for middle-grade students interested in mythology-based fantasy--but I would not go so far as to put them as young adult, given that the heavier themes characteristic of young adult books are pretty much entirely absent in this series.
3.5 stars out of 5.
The backdrop of the Goblin Market hearkened back to Neil Gaiman's Village of Wall and it's gateway into the Faery marketplace of Stormhold, and the fact that the real-world connection was the Fremont area was an entertaining choice, and well-executed. (Particularly the scene where Megan meets the "real-live" Fremont Troll!)
Megan is still having trouble with her mom, but that is nothing compared to the trouble brewing on the Faerie side of things! A new enemy has arisen, one who wants to seize power, and is trying to awaken a dire evil to accomplish it! Street Fair also further accentuates the struggles Megan faces, not just being a member of two worlds where in one she is a princess and in the other she's a "special case," but also the fact that essentially she is the daughter of "divorced" parents, having to take care of her mom in the real world while her father the Fairy King is trying to help her realize her place as his successor. This dichotomy is very well presented and handled in a very relevant manner, not relying on stereotypical tropes and cliches, but portraying the struggles and successes in a very realistic light.
The whole thing is one big fantasy romp, and a delightful one at that! The balance between peril and humor, the creative blending of myth and reality, the battle scenes and even the spots in the story where the characters are just hanging out together... everything moves and blends and builds toward a conflict that's going to take everything they have to resolve it--and it's not over!
Fantastic novel, great characters, solid plot.... if I could give a book more than five stars I would say this one totally earns it! For a good clean read, an exceptionally wholesome fantasy adventure, and a whole cast of relatable characters you'll want to revisit again and again, look no further than "Street Fair" and the rest of the Fair Folk Chronicles!
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