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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Emrys has always reveled in her life as a Fae, enjoying the forests and generally avoiding cities, where the technology causes a sickness that's hard to fight...until she angers Queen Mab and is assigned to guard Prince Richard. Richard's the heir to the English thrown and not a bad guy, just a boy drowning his insecurities in booze and general bad boy behavior. Dark things are starting though, and something old and dark is out to get the royal family. While Emrys is trying to protect the pampered prince, she is also having a hard time veiling herself from him...and once she drops the veil, things really get interesting. Together, they'll fight the evil lurking in the dark and do their best to save the kingdom, if they can.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't read many Fae novels. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I the lure behind them is so complex and I'm not well versed in it, so I'm left confused too much. So while I was excited to get approved for this and have the opportunity to read and review it, I was also quite a bit weary. What if I hate it? What if it's too confusing for my poor befuddled brain to grasp? So many worries about it swirling around my head, all for naught really. Though this isn't straight forward, it's pretty easy to come to terms with the rules these Fae live by. Protecting the crown and obeying Mab are the biggest rules to live by...and always veil yourself from the humans.
Emrys obviously breaks that rule. For whatever reason, she has a difficult time keeping her veiling spell up around Richard and finally just gives in. She's a unique character, not really falling under any particular personality type to me. Her sweet romance with Richard had me begging for them to end up together, for her to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Richard was also an interesting character, so weighed down by the path in front of him and the crown that will be his sooner than anyone realizes. I cannot imagine living with that level of responsibility, so it's understandable that this seventeen year old boy would feel like drinking away his problems...at least until Emrys appears out of nowhere (literally) and pushes him in the right direction. I think I would really have liked a chapter or two to see what's going on in his mind, but it's all from Emrys' perspective. Watching Richard grow from a over-stressed teenager to a man fit to rule the kingdom was quite a treat.
My only real issue with this story is the idea that Fae don't care for love. Maybe I read or comprehended incorrectly, but the way it came off to me is that Fae more or less don't believe in love. They realize it exists, but have absolutely no use for it. Love between a Fae and a human is taboo (and dangerous) and romantic love between Fae doesn't exist at all. Also, we never see a male fairy. Every single one of them is female. Which, I supposed, makes the idea of romantic love difficult for an author of the christian persuasion, but I find it difficult to believe that no form of romantic love seems important to them. Running while and free for a time is all good, but you live hundreds of years and never once long for something more intimate that companionship? I'm not sure I buy that.
Beyond that particular hole in the Fae lure, this is a very entertaining novel. There are slow moments, but it keeps you pretty enthralled for most of the story. Amrys and Richard's romance is light and sweet, while still holding deep enough meaning for them to be willing to fight for each other. It's a bit insta-lovey with the way they are attracted to each other, but the L word isn't mentioned until closer to the end than the beginning, so I'm rather satisfied with it.
Even if you aren't a big fan of this particular subset of mythical creatures, this is a read that's pretty easy to enjoy. It has almost everything I need in a novel, with great writing, a good plot, and enough of a light romance to keep me cheering the main duo on and on. It's hard not to root for that whole love against the odds scenario. I think this is a YA most will enjoy, as long as you can get over the notion that love is taboo.
****Thank you to HarperTeen, an imprint of of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****