Monday, October 18, 2010

Bones of Faerie

BONES OF FAERIE, BY JANNI LEE SIMMER, published 2009
OVERALL RATING: 3/5

Synopsis: 15-year old Liza lives in a small town near St. Louis, a town which was devastated during the great war between human and faerie kind.  She lives a hard but satisfactory life with her cold-hearted father and distant, dreamy mother... until her father abandons her newborn baby sister on a forlorn hillside for the faerie-born creatures which prowl the night and her mother vanishes mysteriously without so much as saying goodbye.  Liza tries to reassure herself that things could be worse, even when her father beats her or rants about the dangers of Faerie and all those touched by its magic.
But when Liza herself begins to have strange and terrible visions brought on by the dreaded magic, she is forced to flee her hometown along with Matthew, a boy with a tragic past who is equally cursed and blessed with the magic of shapeshifting-- he can become a wolf.   Traveling through the war-ravaged wilderness where deadly creatures lurk and magic is never what it seems, Liza struggles to gain control of her magic while desperately seeking out her lost mother.  In the end, she discovers that there are two sides to the story of the great war-- that which her father has always told her, and that of the faeries themselves-- and that magic is a power both great and terrible.

I picked Bones of Faerie off the library shelf because I'm a fan of faeries, if my review of the Replacement didn't clear that up. :)  The cover is intriguing and so is the opening paragraph:
I had a sister once.  She was a beautiful baby, eyes silver as moonlight off the river at night.  From the hour of her birth she was long-limbed and graceful, faerie-pale hair clear as glass from Before, so pale you could almost see through to the soft skin below.  ...My father was a sensible man.  He set her out on the hillside that very night, though my mother wept and even old Jayce advised against it...
Faeries are common in YA fiction nowadays (lucky for me), but the faerie-kin of Bones of Faerie are unlike any others I've ever read about.  This is a classic-type fantasy novel with the traditional elements of magic and journeying and self-discovery gone dystopiaJanni Lee Simmer's faeries are a race apart from humans, but not quite so far apart as the creepy-cool denizens of Holly Black's faerie novels, and definitely not anything like Brian Froud's flower faeries.  Bones of Faerie is a short read-- only 247 pages, I finished it in only a day-- but the story is well-worth delving into.  The characters are what makes the story tick, beyond the eerie, forlorn feel of the post-great-war setting.  Allie, the little girl whose magic manifests in the power to heal, was definitely my favorite character.  Liza makes a good protagonist, too, and the few plot twists of this simple, relatively straightforward novel keep you hanging onto every word.  The writing is beautiful and delicately intricate-- not too wordy, but just perfect. 
And... I've just discovered that Janni Lee Simmer has written a sequel, Faerie Winter, to be released in April 2011!  I cannot wait, and hope anyone into dystopia and/or faeries will check out Bones of Faerie in the meantime. (It's only a dollar on Kindle the last time I checked!)
 

2 comments:

liz said...

hey, i read bones of faerie! it was ok, very..... confusing. i didnt really get that into the story. she keeps repeating "cracked and bloody bones in the mooonlight," and i was thinking that her sister was still alive. but anyway, mattew was cool except he was a chicken. hmm.
-liz

Kat said...

Yes, that part was confusing... her sister was still alive (kind of), she was 'a shadow', like a shade or ghost, as far as I can tell (??)

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