Monday, May 27, 2013

FAERIE AFTER


Review of FAERIE AFTER by JANNI LEE SIMNER
(third in the BONES OF FAERIE trilogy, review based on an advance reading copy)

I didn't even know there would be another BONES OF FAERIE book, but what a wonderful surprise! As in earlier books, there's an understated style that lets characters and events speak for themselves rather than bashing the reader repeatedly with overdramatized emotion. I admire Simner's direct simplicity: most lines concisely convey their meaning without embellishing the word choice past practicality. Although she does have quite a knack for haunting, vivid description.

Some books feel like they exist in your mind (You can close your eyes and picture every detail.) and then some books feel like they exist all around you (It's as though you've been transported.). Simner's books always fall in the latter category, relocating me to her fantasy worlds, an especially creepy effect with FAERIE AFTER since I felt a teensy bit in danger myself whenever she described the crumbling of the fey world. Luckily, I resisted any paranoid glances or exclamations of "The sky is falling!" that might alarm those nearby. Bonus detail: I read this on a plane!

Like everything else in this story, the characters come to life. I particularly respect how varied and nuanced Simner makes each individual. No cookie cutter characters here. No Mary Sues. The focus remains close to Liza, but unfolds into big themes applicable on much larger scales. For example, consider the faerie character Nys. He holds Liza accountable for actions committed against faeries by humans she never met. Prejudice, anyone? Then there's a masterful scene involving rescue and sacrifice. I want to say more, but I don't want to spoil it. I'll settle for: It would be hilarious if it weren't so poignant.

FAERIE AFTER moves at a brisk pace, so I'll keep this review short, sweet, and spoiler-free. Last word: if you haven't read this series you're missing out.

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