Recently, I read an interview with the author of this debut novel, Ruth Vincent. She said that her book is an answer to the darkness so prevalent in modern fantasy. She said she tried to make her story light and humorous – so of course, I had to read it. I like light and humorous.
I must confess: it’s not as light as I thought. There is lots of darkness in the story although there is some humor too. But mostly, the tale struck me as juvenile. In the book, the heroine is 22 years old but she acts like a much younger girl. I’d put her emotional maturity on the level of 15. She blunders all the time, forgets important stuff, and doesn’t plan ahead. The entire book seems written by a high-school kid. A talented kid but a kid all the same, lacking life experience as well as writing experience.
The good writing, the original plot, and the unusual characters somewhat make up for the other faults of this book. The heroine Mab is a shy and awkward college graduate in Manhattan, but that’s not all she is. In truth, she is a fairy, a changeling in a human body. She doesn’t have her magic anymore but she has a mission. Fairyland is suffering from a draught of Elixir, the substance that powers fairy magic. With Elixir on the wane, fairies are suffering and dying, their magic ebbing away, and the Fairy Queen charged Mab with the task to find out if anything could be done in the human world to restore Elixir to the fairies.
There is a romantic line in the story between Mab and Obadiah, a mysterious nightclub owner who smuggles Elixir out of Fairyland as a hobby. There is also a criminal investigation involved, and the brutal actions of the Fairy Queen, who is trying to save her realm at the expense of the human world. Mab has to deal with the Queen’s betrayal and her own disillusionment as she searches for her identity. Is she a human? Is she a fairy? Where does her allegiance lie?
Overall, I derived a moderate pleasure out of reading this book. It would be an OK book if it didn’t end in a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, it did. Nothing is resolved by the end, and the main conflict, the lack of Elixir, is as keen as it was on the first page. I dislike cliffhangers and I doubt I’ll read the next book by this author.