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A Tale of Fairies (Other Side of Real) Paperback – January 16, 2013
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Saturnine needs a human companion in order to enter Philadelphia, last rumored hiding place of the cusp. She springs Davey, an ex-marine, from a mental ward so that he may be her companion. Davey is not mentally disturbed, except that he saw "things" in the desert, "things" that Saturnine can describe and explain. Saturnine is dangerous and Davey is confused, but their's will be an interesting tale.
Hallestrina, although accompanied by two other fairy warriors, also needs a human companion. She selects Charlotte, a nine and a half year old changeling, and "adopts" her from the front yard of Charlotte's foster home. Charlotte is smart, observant and deeply unimpressed by the otherwise terrible and terrifying warrior Hallestrina. Charlotte has always "known" there is more out there, (she is after all a changeling), and she is willing to go along with whatever fairy baloney she has to in order to get out of foster care and have something happen in her life. This will be an interesting fellowship as the story progresses.
Three things make this book particularly successful. First,the author just tosses in all sorts of details and observations and bits about fairies and fairy life that are clever, or fascinating, or creative, or all three, and it's all done lightly and in passing, without any huffing or puffing. These characters live in a coherent and well-realized world. Second, the author is accomplished and skillful. There are no issues with grammar or vocabulary or syntax, or anything like that. Sentences, paragraphs and chapters are well crafted. Indeed, with snappy dialogue, effective descriptions, well developed characters and nicely set scenes this is top drawer professional work.
Finally, the tone is just right. This is a fantasy and a quest book, but it is populated by characters with big personalities and yet is carried by many sly jokes, deadpan throwaway lines, and honest laughs. Davey and Charlotte are fishes out of water in the land of the fairies and the fairies are out of their element in the human world, and that is worked for a lot of humor. You don't usually think of fairy-quest-battle fantasies as being funny, but this one really has some great understated and sardonic humor.
So, this is not one of those fairy books that threatens to collapse under its own overly serious weight and it's not one that drifts too far into the fey and cute. It has heft, and humor, and style. A nice find.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.