Friday, April 10, 2009

LitRec: Fairies Are Evil

Fairies Are a good way.

Before I write a word about books with fairies in them, I feel I must make something abundantly clear. I hate Tinker Bell. At least, I hate what she has become. A slutty, trashy, pseudo-role model for seven year olds. Generally, I’m a fan of Disney, but I can’t stand to look at what they have made out of Tinker Bell. So, with this understanding between us, please take the following recommendations seriously. Fairies are not shallow little prissy, stuck up, ugly....but I digress. The fairies in the follow books are dark and morbid, or beautiful and tragic, or haunting, or evil get the picture. They are just as real and complex as human characters and they just have some funny rules attached to them which only make them more interesting.

The first book I’m going to recommend is The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling. This is actually the first real novel I ever remember reading. The author was born in Ireland and grew up in Toronto, and I believe she now splits her life between the two places. Her first hand knowledge of Ireland is noticeable in all of her books (all of which I recommend, I’m just focusing on The Hunter’s Moon, because it was my first and is still my favourite).

The books opens with a Canadian girl named Gwen meeting up with her Irish cousin, Findabhair (pronounced finaveer). They are on their summer break and have decided to back around Ireland together. Their first night, they make the unfortunate decision to sleep in a fairy mound and in the morning Findabhair is missing and Gwen must strike out on an adventure to save her cousin.

I love the characters in this book. Gwen is very much a teenager of the nineties (which is when the book was written) and has a truthful voice throughout the story. She has a lot of little things that make her believable as a character (my personal favourite, and something I’ve experienced myself, is how she is always having to correct people who assume she is American) and her growth throughout the book is clear and beautifully done.

The twists and turns in the plot are amazingly done (I wanted to slap Findabhair when Gwen finally caught up with her the first time), and the cast of characters comes together nicely for the climactic battle, the outcome of which I love!

Secondly, Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside by Holly Black. I don’t think words can say how much I love these books. There are so smart, and relate to real life so well. They take place in and around New York City, with very modern teenagers, who act and react in very modern ways. And there are fairies.

The characters in these three books are all so beautifully flawed and normal, even the supernatural ones, it makes everyone relatable and realistic, whether they are a changeling child, a fairy knight, or a jealous best friend.

I truly enjoy the writing in these books and how each of them boils down to a battle of wits, instead of an actual physical battle. It really showcases the author’s talent with words, and how she uses the classic fairy mythology to its utmost. All the rules of their existence come into play and usually the climax of the story is highly dependent on them.

And the story has everything you could wish for, intrigue, court politics, romance, jealousy, mystery, it’s just amazing.

The last set of books I’m going to recommend is the Bitterbynde trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thornton. These ones aren’t technically YA....but they are about a young girl and have some of the best written fairies ever. So, I’m reccing them.

Unlike the other two recommendations these books are set in a completely different world and are absolutely beautiful. The writing flows poetically, and the characters are traditionally chivalrous, grand, adventurous, etc. The story starts with a mute, amnesiac with no name, a young boy who works as a servant in a tower where flying horses are kept. Flying ships dock there as well and one day, after being treated poorly during all of the life that he can remember, he stows away upon one the ships with plans to find something better elsewhere.

And so starts an epic journey, with wights, wits, and wonder. The main girl is incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. There are riddles throughout the books, which I love, and other encounters with the seelie and unseelie folk that require her brain to get her out of trouble, not her brawn.

I also liked how ambiguous the ending of the third books was. It really is up to the reader how it ended, you can choose the happy romantic ending, or the...other one, which I don’t like to think about. Especially as it does lead more the happy ending.

Also, the whole story is great about incorporating Fairy Tales. It has so many seamlessly woven into story I don’t even remember them all, but they definitely include the Pied Piper story (that one’s important, watch for it) and the Seven Crows story. I’m sure there’s more.

So, everyone, remember Tinker Bell is evil but real fairies are awesome.

Moon.witche is our resident fantasy YA groupie as well as the Temptation Podcast Einstein. She is slightly quirky with a bit of bite and is here to tell you what you should have already read.


  1. Caitlin, *sigh* you know I don't REALLY think Tinkerbelle is evil... but I do wanna check out the books.... I like faeries.

  2. see, I actually do think tinkerbell is evil. I wasn't exaggerating a bit in the article. I believe she is of the devil. Although my best friend absolutely loves her.


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