Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Blog Tour and Review: Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter
To kick off this blog tour, I'll be reviewing the first book in R.J. Anderson's series.  Tomorrow I'll focus on Wayfarer.  And for Wednesday, I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Ms. Anderson herself.

Anderson, R.J. (2009)  Faery Rebels:  Spell Hunter.  HarperCollins e-books.

Pages?  I don't know how many.  (Behold, the difficulty of the ebook.  It tells me percentages instead of page numbers)

Appetizer: This is the first book in the series (the focus of this tour is actually on the second book, but I couldn't possibly skip ahead).

Bryony is a young faery living in an old oak tree with the rest of the colony.  And let me tell you, the faeries have an oak-load of problems.  They've lost a lot of their population, most of their magic and some of the older faeries just kinda...die...of The Silence.  Because of all this craziness, the faeries are in lockdown, if you will.  No leaving the Oak.  This rule is difficult for the curious Bryony to accept.  So, it works out well when the career the queen chooses for his is to be the hunter.  Bryony loves the freedom of the outdoors despite the risk of a crow attack and quickly takes to observing the strange humans living in a nearby house.

So, I really love the perspective of this book.  From the start of the story, humanity is foreign to Bryony.  I like the descriptions Anderson uses to describe the strange things like electrical wires, the relationship between a human husband and wife, to thinking a wheelchair is a throne.  I also like that the book takes up issues of artistic expression, self-sacrifice, dealing with becoming wheelchair bound, suicide and love.

I really enjoyed the book.  It took me a while to get into the book though, mainly because I couldn't quite figure out what the plot was.  Sure, there were hints early on that all was not well in the Oakenwyld and there were a few red flags about who might be the source of most of the problems.  But much of the first half of the book just felt like a string of events, separated by seven years, a season, another two seasons, etc.  I felt like some of the earlier events could have been shared in flashbacks.  Then I may have gotten into the book more quickly.

This also initial string-of-vaguely-related-events feeling also caused me to have trouble to figure out the age appropriateness for the book.  Initially I thought it was middle grade.  Then, in the second half of the book Bryony (who has now changed her name to Knife--a shift that was actually pretty easy to follow), is suddenly to act as a mother to a new little faery hatchling. Oh, and BAM!, there's romance.  I was just...surprised (but still entertained!).  This book didn't really give me hints of what I was supposed to expect from it.

I kept expecting a bad guy to emerge, but that never really happened.  (There's still potential for that to happen later!)  The ending is still satisfying, but (of course!) makes way for a sequel (that would be Wayfarer...more on that tomorrow!).

Dinner Conversation:

"I only want to go out for a little, little, while," the faery child pleaded.  "Just below the window, on the branch.  I won't fly away and I won't tell anyone, I promise" (1%).

"Between the branches of the great Oak glowed dazzling gems of blue sky, and the leaves whispered promises of a breeze she longed to feel.  A robin lighted on a nearby twig, cocking its head at her, and Bryony felt a sudden urge to dive through the window and leap upon its back.  Together they would soar far away from the Oak, to a place where she too could fly free...." (2%).

"A long time ago someone put a curse on everyone in the Oak, so we couldn't do magic anymore.  And everybody got confused and scared and a lot of faeries died" (2%).

"And as Bryony listened and learned, and practiced her new skills, she felt more and more certain that the Queen's magical Sight had not deceived her:  Of all the tasks in the Oak, this was what she, Bryony, had been meant to do" (10%).

"Whatever had made the Okenfolk so fearful of human beings, it seemed to have happened around the same time as their other misfortunes--the loss of their magical powers, the fading of their creative abilities, and worst of all the deadly arrival of the Silence.  Could all these things be connected?" (18%).

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

To learn more about R.J. Anderson or Wayfarer, check back over the next few days or visit some of the other blogs on the tour:

Whispers of Dawn, The Book Cellar, The Hungry Readers, My Own Little Corner of the World,, Reading is My Superpower, Book Crumbs, Becky’s Book Reviews, Fireside Musings, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Homeschool Book Buzz, Homespun Light, Book Review Maniac

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