Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter

I think this book was also released as Knife at one time.
The faery world is crumbling. During a disaster called the Sundering, these small, fragile, winged creatures lost all of their magic save that which allows them to fly, and they live inside a great oak tree, fearful of people and animals. True friendship and love are foreign to them. Worse, they are falling victim to a kind of dementia they call the Silence, and are dying. Into this picture comes Knife: tough, brave, adventurous, and soon taking on the job of Queen's Hunter. While defending herself against an attacking crow, she is rescued and taken home by a human. Knife becomes convinced that the mystery of their lost magic and the dementia are connected to the faeries' fear of humans and becomes committed to saving her community. The heart of the book lies in the relationship that develops between Knife and the human Paul, who is a paraplegic. Anderson draws on echoes from countless fairy tales and legends about the relationships between human men and faerie women to enrich this gripping and involving story. While the main characters are vividly drawn, some of the secondary characters and background story are sketched more hastily. Though the book looks like it's for a younger audience, middle-school readers who are willing to stay with the story through its first third will find ample rewards as the relationship between Knife and Paul evolves.

So much for the inside jacket blurb. I started this one and put it down several times. It seemed to me that the faeries inside the Oakenwyld were just mean and nasty old people that belonged in a retirement home. And really when I thought of Paul, all I could picture was the old man from the movie "Up" from Disney. So, maybe if I had read the descriptions better or got a better feel for what Paul really looked like and why Knife would develop her relationship with him, I would have been drawn into the story more. Maybe a picture on the front of him and her. Anyway, after a few more chapters, the story moved past trying to kill a crow and get food for the fairies that lived in the tree and Knife's ennui and that's when it got interesting. That's when I couldn't put it down. Was the queen bad or good. Who was going to die from the Silence. Would Knife find a cure? What did Heather's diaries say? My curiousity got the best of me and I found myself up until two am trying to finish the book. I did and was satisfied with the outcome, though I would have liked to see the next morning. This really is a pure love story-Knife's love for her people and for Paul and it all falls into place. And better still, there's already a sequel.

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