Friday, May 15, 2009

REVIEW: Unseelie by Meredith Holmes

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

When Alfhild was a little girl, her grandmother called her a fairy princess and told her all of her favorite tales. She'd never imagined they were real.

Now as a grown-up, Alfhild has changed her name and fled Louisiana, and the paparazzi that's been haunting her since her half-brother's murder accusations. She's now taken up residence in her grandmother's ancestral home in England, where all is well until the morning she awakens to find a naked man in her rosebush: a faerie prince by the name of Cadfael. And then the games begin....

All of a sudden, Alfhild is unwittingly drawn into the Faerie realm, becoming a pawn between the sparring Seelie and Unseelie Courts. And it seems her half-brother Gulliver is here too, playing for the other team....

Like me, you're probably thinking, oh no, not another faerie book! Aren't all these faerie realm books beginning to sound the same: young girl gets sucked into the realm, discovers her faerie prince, yada yada yada, and when all is said and done, lives happily ever after. This is what I was afraid of when I first started reading. But fortunately, this story had a few different things going for it to distinguish it from the standard "faerie tale" setup, and unlike many of the other faerie-based stories out there, this isn't a young adult book. For starters, we have Alfhild's half-brother, Gulliver, and her best friend, Jackie, both characters in the story who follow Alfhild from the human realm into the faerie realm. There are also several other interesting species besides human and fey, and several mythical beings from the old legends such as Jack of the Green and Jenny Greenteeth. Some very interesting characters to be sure! The unconventional methods by which Alfhild attempts to bring victory to the Unseelie Court in their never-ending battle with the Seelie is quite entertaining (she's such a ditz! LOL) and didn't follow any of the preconceived formulas of other stories I've read.

According to an online interview with Meredith, this book started it's life as a NaNoWriMo project which grew into three separate self-published novels. These three novels were then later combined to become the single book it is now. During my reading, I actually did find myself thinking this seemed to be quite a long book, though reading on my Kindle I couldn't quite give a specific page count. If I were to hedge a guess though, I'd have to say it would probably be over 400 print pages. The finished product could have done with a bit more editing before being released however as there were some incidents of bad grammar and awkward sentence structure, and even a few conflicting facts within the story itself which, for an obsessive reader like me, detracted a bit from the enjoyability of the reading. For future books, I'd like to see a bit more foreshadowing, allowing the reader to speculate a bit. Instead, it often seemed the facts were laid down as they happened, leaving little room for such speculation. But I truly believe some of these skills will come with more experience as a writer. And despite these minor drawbacks, I did enjoy the story overall, particularly for the differences cited above which allowed it to stand out from the crowd.

If you enjoy a good faerie story, you should enjoy this as well, and can pick up a copy for your Kindle from Amazon, or directly from Drollerie Press in one of several other ebook formats.

3 comments: