by Holly Black

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

Kaye Fierch seems to be a typically apathetic teenage daughter. Her mother, Ellen, is in a rock band...she drinks too much...has unsavory friends...loser band mates...and provides little quality structure or guidance for her.  She's a high school dropout, but holds a job that provides money to supplement their existence (and sometimes Ellen's fellow band members') since the music career thing hasn't really taken off. Kaye spends a lot of her time watching over her mother, keeping her out of trouble, holding her hair out of the way when she's had too much drink to keep it down.  She both admires and resents Ellen.  The last set has played, Ellen has had too much to drink again, and it's time to pack up the equipment.  As they're preparing to leave the bar, Lloyd, Ellen's boyfriend and provider of a place to crash tries to stab Ellen with a knife. Unfortunately, because of the life they've led, the incident is written off as some drunken outburst by another boyfriend they already knew was a jerk.  With no place to stay and the 'band' thing up in the air, Ellen decides to pack them off to her mother's house in Jersey.  Kaye likes it there.  Even though the two women in her life constantly argue, it appears Kaye actually enjoys the stability of having a place to call home. She used to live there.  She had real friends or at least one and a handful of imaginary ones. It's the latter that gained her notoriety in grade school as being the weird girl.  We discover later Kaye is a changeling, a faerie that is switched at birth with a human baby.  She had always believed she could talk to the little creatures in the woods.  What she didn't know is that she was one of them all along, just disguised by a magical spell.  The adventure is just beginning as she learns in bits and pieces about the world she came from, why she was switched, and what is actually expected of her in the end.

This book reveals a darker, edgier side of faerie.  There is drinking, sex, and debauchery, along with lust, duty, and love.  The story isn't completely seamless, although, for a breakout novel, it's pretty darn good.  I love the honesty, the magical realism, and look forward to the second installment of the series in Valiant.

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