Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.
Tripping the dark fantastic with newcomer Black means pixie dust may very well include blood spatter, sharp thorns and bits of broken glass. At the center of this edgy novel is Kaye Fierch, a 16-year-old "Asian blonde" who spends most of her time taking care of a would-be rock star mom. When her mom's latest boyfriend turns homicidal, they return to Gram's house at the New Jersey shore, where Kaye hooks up with childhood friend Janet and her gay brother, Corny Stone. Stark images ripple through the third-person narrative, offering clues to Kaye's internal state (e.g., "She loved the serene brutality of the ocean"). A covert sexual overture from Janet's boyfriend precedes Kaye's nighttime encounter at the edge of the woods, where she meets and rescues Roiben, a mysterious Black Knight with silver hair. Throughout, the author subtly connects Kaye's awakening sexual feelings in the real world and Roiben's sudden appearances. Kaye soon discovers that she is a changeling-and that her one-time "imaginary" faerie playmates want her to pretend to be a human, so they can use her as the Tithe ("the sacrifice of a beautiful and talented mortal") to earn their freedom for seven years. The author's Bosch-like descriptions of the Unseelie Court, with its Rackham-on-acid denizens, and the exquisite faeries haunt as well as charm. When fate intervenes, sudden tragedy teaches Kaye about the high cost of straddling the faerie and human worlds (and sets the stage for a possible sequel). A gripping read. Ages 12-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book is not that long and is easy to read. The story plot is simply amazing and leaves the reader wanting more!
The book is boring and slow. The characters are unlikable an hard to relate to. Am honestly not a big fan and regret wasting my money on it. From what I’ve seen all of her books are slow the first 400 pages? And then it’s where it starts to get interesting. Which is not good
Decent Urban Fantasy
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.
Kaye is a sixteen-year-old vagabond. Forced to live a nomadic life with her mother’s rock band, she grows into a stereotypical rebellious teen. When they are attacked on the road, they are forced back to Kaye’s grandmother’s New Jersey town. Amid the blue-collar backdrop, Kaye’s life is turned upside down when she saves a Faerie Knight from death. Kaye finds that she is not who she thinks she is. Worse, she finds herself becoming a pawn in an ancient power struggle between the Unseelie Court, the Seelie Court, and unaffiliated Faeries. Each faction has their own agenda. Kaye’s life hangs in the balance.
A common theme in some of the other reviews on Goodreads is that people either love or hate this story. On the plus side, I am always intrigued by modern renditions of the tale of Tam Lin. The elements of the old Childe ballad were there. The characters seemed real, and I found them intriguing.
In the minus column, Holly Black tried to make Kaye and her human friends gritty. The effort was unbalanced and often seemed over the top. The rebellious teenager was overdone. While the characters seemed real, I still had a hard time finding them sympathetic until I was almost halfway through the story. All in all, it was decent urban fantasy, well worth a read.