Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reviews of The Faerie Guardian and The Faerie Prince

*I received copies of these books from the author in exchange for honest reviews. :)

*Major spoilers. You've been warned.

Rating: 3/5 stars!
The book started out immensely enjoyable. The main character, Violet, is out on an assignment when she meets Nate, the human boy she's been sent to protect. Something goes wrong. Nate can see her although she's glamoured. Worse yet, he follows her into the Fae realm, endangering both their lives. 

But somewhere along the way, it lost its magic (no pun intended). When I was over halfway through, though, it picked back up. It got exponentially more interesting, and I was startled by some plot twists that I never saw coming. I sped through that last half, found myself quite intrigued with the sudden changes, and finished it with the thought that I really want to read book number two, The Faerie Prince.

The main character is Violet Fairdale, a faerie that's training to become a Guardian. I can't tell if I'm annoyed with Violet's character, or that I'm not totally giving her a chance. As someone who has spent her whole life following the rules of the Guild, she sure threw all of that away in a quick instant. All because of some human boy. I could understand it, if I thought of it in the way that Violet was finally doing something she wants for a change. After all those years of strict guidelines on how to run her life, she's defying the people who turned their backs on her. For once in her life, she's doing something freely, and she's letting herself become vulnerable. 

And yet there are still some things about her personality that really grated on my nerves. She has no parents, no friends. Except for her mentor, Tora, she doesn't seem to care about anyone. All she cares about is being number one in her class, beating her nemesis and tormentor, Ryn, and becoming a Guardian. Even when she was starting to care for Nate, it still didn't seem more important to her than becoming the best. She acts like she doesn't care about what people think, but it's all she cares about. 

I wasn't sold on the romance. It sort of felt a little like insta-love. And even more so because Violet isn't the type of woman who just puts her Guardian career in jeopardy for a boy she hasn't known more than a few days. Or is she? That confused me. Her personality was sort of up and down. One minute, she's determined to cut all ties to Nate. In the next, she lets him convince her to wait until they find his mother, which leads them into a dangerous situation with no way out. She lets him convince her. Hence, the insta-love feeling. See, I expected a lot of resistance from Violet. But no, she gives in so easily, without thinking about the consequences. Oh, and when they find out Nate is a halfing, suddenly it's so okay that they can be together. I also wasn't in love with Nate. Yes, he was funny and nice, but other than that, he didn't really have much of a personality. Now I know why I didn't like him to begin with, and now I know why I didn't like the romance between them.

The fantastical elements of the story were nicely written. I liked the idea of this Faerie realm being separate from the human world. Yet these Guardians still protect the humans from out of control creatures like goblins, pixies, and other grotesquely inhabitants of the Faerie realm. I would've loved more detailed descriptions of the faerie world and all of these different creatures. What's a reptiscilla, a urisk? The author threw out words and never explained them, never explained what these creatures were and what they looked like. It left so much to the imagination. With it being in the fantasy genre, it didn't make any sense to me to leave out details that could create vivid images to help the readers understand the world that the main characters live in. It was missing that creative imagery that's so crucial for fantasy books. 

The writing style itself drew me in, the way the author used Violet's voice to tell the story was nicely done. 

Oddly enough, this story reminded me of Harry Potter. A lot. Violet is orphaned, has no friends. When she's old enough to, she starts training to become a guardian. She has a rival, who is snarky and mean. This faerie world is not supposed to be exposed to the humans. So many parallels to HP, except The Faerie Guardian was a lot darker.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the book. The last half of the story really saved it for me, and it left me wondering what's going to happen next. 


****************************************************************

I really enjoyed the first book, but this one was so much better. I was hooked from the beginning, pulled along on a perilous and emotional journey with Violet, and totally fell in love with the story and its characters. 

Whatever was missing for me in book one was there in The Faerie Prince. It kept me reading late into the night and I was so invested in the story that I'm still reeling from that god awful cliffhanger.

Rating: 5/5 stars!
This book started out about a week after the ending of The Faerie Guardian. Violet was suspended and suffered the consequences of her actions. But she doesn't care, because Calla is safe. The other guardians can go after Zell and rescue the people he's trapped in cages. And she also knows that she's in danger because the Unseelie Prince wants her. He will stop at nothing to build his army, destroy the Guild, and overtake the Unseelie Court from the hands of his mother, whom he has never gotten along with.

I found myself connecting to Violet a lot more in this story, and the small irritation I had with her in the first book slipped away. She's still determined to be the best, but she's got her reasons for wanting that top spot. She had her heart broken, and she's not looking to make the same mistakes again. 

It doesn't help matters that her feelings for Ryn have developed to more than 'just friends' and that she's attracted to him. But she's also scared of letting anything more happen between them, because Ryn has hurt her in the past. After his brother died, their friendship was destroyed. In the years that followed, their relationship was rocky, and they ignored each other as much as possible. After talking about the past and opening up to each other, their newfound friendship is still slightly rocky, although neither of them wants to go back to the way things have been between them. 

I'm a huge fan of Ryn and Violet's relationship (like I never was with her and Nate), and I loved how it developed into something strong and sure. No insta-love, thank God. I also loved Ryn and was glad to see much more of him in this book than in the other one. In that, he was a douchebag who never stopped teasing Violet. But in this one, we see so much more to him. He's kind and honest and responsible. He has feelings for the stubborn main character, and he won't let her back down from hers. He's a rock for her; steady, protective, and always willing to fight for her.

The secondary characters are also great additions to the story; Tora, Raven, Flint. Even Filigree! I want a pet like him. :) 

The plot was thick, with so many twists that I had a hard time keeping up with all that was going on! It never got boring, and the action and story was always moving along at a fast pace. When I thought I knew what was going on and what was going to happen, I was proven wrong time and time again.

This book was so richly detailed, and the Faerie world was brought to life in vivid imagery. It was so long, yet it never lost its magic. Sometimes books end up just using empty fillers after major plot points, and sometimes those irrelevant details take away from the story and make it really boring. But I thought everything was played out nicely. 

With strong characters and a magical story-line, The Faerie Prince takes you on a ride full of mystery, danger, and out-of-this-world imagination. 

***

These books are like a combination of Harry Potter and The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa. If you're a fan of these two series, I think you'll enjoy Creepy Hollow a lot. It's creative and deeply fascinating. And they just keep getting better and better. :)