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Posts Tagged ‘Faerie’

As you know, I normally write fantasy *book* reviews — but since I’ve been so busy and consumed with other things, I haven’t had the time to do much reading.  Regardless of the fact that I have had very little free time, there’s one thing that I never go a day without, and that’s listening to music.

Though I already have a rather large collection of CD’s and music, much like my book collection, I’m continually looking to add to it. One great website I’ve found that’s excellent for discovering new and generally unknown artists is last.fm; and every once in awhile because of it, I run into something truly inspiring/compelling.

Luckily, this happened to me a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon the work of “Helen Trevillion,” a solo artist from the UK.

Helen Trevillion, as described by herself, is a creatress of sorts. She’s a singer, songwriter, composer, producer, poet, and artist. What’s truly amazing about her and her work, is that she does it entirely on her own in the comfort of her own bedroom.  She writes the lyrics, the music, plays the piano, violin, uses synthesizer, etc — and as an end result, creates a refreshingly unique style of music. After really having the chance to listen to her work — in particular her “Inside Myself / Once Upon a Time,” album, I was completely intrigued..and slightly in love (haha!).

Inside Myself / Once Upon a Time, in my view, is a remarkable collection of songs that were clearly driven and created by a person with a lot of passion. Inside myself, being the first CD in the double disc album, takes the listener on an enchanting journey through the soul of Helen herself. A journey laced with emotion, magic, and beauty. In this album, Trevillion mixes her emotional and expressive vocals with orchestral music (Violin, Piano), electronic elements (synthesizers, beats), and creative  story-telling lyrics. Upon the first listen of Inside Myself, I immediately formed a connection with many of the songs. The tracks “My Winter,” “Over the Waterfalls,” “Will You,” and “Letters to You” caught my attention right from the start. Another notable and interesting piece is “The Mermaid Part I: The Storm” which is an epic instrumental track that could have easily fit into a fantasy film like “Lord of the Rings.”

Along with Inside Myself, there is also the second disc, “Once Upon a Time.” The Once Upon a Time EP consists of four songs based on four fairytale protagonists. The tracks are as follows: Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, The Goose Girl, and Cinderella. Just as before, Helen uses her emotional vocals, pleasant music, and excellent song-writing skills to create another album of inspiring and enchanting songs. Each are uniquely crafted, and her take on each character and their situation is both refreshing story-wise and musically. My favorite track would have to be “Cinderalla,” as her vocal and lyrical delivery is simply drenched with emotion and longing. Although this is a track based on a fairytale character, Helen clearly draws up her own emotions and puts them into the song; it shines through, creating an inspiring and some-what heart breaking rendition. All in all, this is a very solid album.

With that said, Helen Trevillion’s Inside Myself / Once Upon a Time is a lovely collection of unique songs. From classical, to electronic, to folk, and to even jazz and Gothic elements, Helen creates and infuses an eclectic (yet at the same time fluid) form of beautiful music which is often described by her fans as “fae-pop.”  Although I’ve only discovered her about a month ago, I can say that without a doubt this is an album that will stay with me. After listening to the songs on her website, I was truly inspired, and simply had to purchase her album which you can buy from the link below.

If interested, I’d highly recommend checking her out. As stated, her albums can be listened to on her website for free. On another note, if you’re a fan of Emilie Autumn’s “Enchant,” chances are you’d really enjoy this as well.

Website: http://faefly-records.co.uk

CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/helentrevillion

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After finishing the lovely “The Secret Lives Of Elves & Faeries” by John Mathews, I found myself with a rather severe dilemma. While I had just read a fun book..I really wanted to know more about these strange Faerie or Sidhe beings, but was all out of related material. So, like any other reading addict I abruptly decided to trek through the great Amazon.com on an epic quest to find more material! Book after book and link after link I searched and struggled, until one true gem made itself quite apparent. That was “A History of Irish Fairies” by Carolyn White. Coming in at just 82 pages, ”A History of Irish Fairies” is just that – a history of Irish fairies!

When receiving my copy of “A History of Irish Fairies,” I was a bit surprised by how thin it was. In truth, when I ordered the book from Amazon, I never took note of how many pages it had – so I suppose I was expecting a bit more. I will say however, that while it is only 82 pages – it is jam packed with information and lore – all of which was very interesting. From faerie food, to faerie beings, to how they interact with humans, to what to do if you see a faerie, to how to please a faerie (and avoid their wrath), and so on,  “A History of Irish Fairies” covered a great wealth of topics. After closing the final page, I was truly amazed at how much lore was fit into such a small book – and done in a way that was not lacking or incomplete.  Infact, White even covered other faerie related beings such as the leprechaun and screaming banshee!

For the most part, I found this to be a rather enjoyable read – one that presented a lot of new information to myself of the Sidhe race. Though I enjoyed nearly every aspect within this small guide, what really stood out for me were the unique folk stories told. Stories of human-beings taken and brought to the lands of faerie, only to return decades later with toes worn away from constant dancing – to tales of poets and writers, wandering into faerie lands, only to return with new-found inspiration and talent – to stories of changelings, love between mortals and faeries, and more. While reading these interesting little insights into how faeries are often perceived, I found myself deeply immersed within the vast quantity of lore.

Along with the interesting stories, there were also a number of unique theories concerning the “good people” (whom’ as the author states, are actually neither good nor’ bad). For example, Carolyn White states that many believe that fairies are in truth, fallen angels – beings cast down from heaven, yet too good for hell. There are those who believe that fairyland is even a sort of purgatory.  Another presented theory is that the Sidhe race is so huge,  it is actually larger than that of our own.  Of course, however, because faeries live on a different plane of existence, we only see them when they deem it so.  I also enjoyed the theory of changelings – a belief that neglected infants (always girls) are sometimes taken to live in the hills of fairyland – replaced in our world by a changeling — a similar being to the one taken, but unruly and chaotic. I also must note the interesting theory of Faerie glamorization. According to White, faeries like to glamorous. For instance, a beautiful faerie palace is actually a mound of dirt – faerie food may simply be rocks..so on and so fourth. In general, faeries give those who see them a glamorous version of what is true.

Finally, I’ll also note that I was impressed with the portrayal of Faeries. While some depict the Sidhe as innocent little beings with wings..and others depict them as evil little tricksters, this describes them as neither. According to White, faeries are neither good nor’ bad, evil nor’ pure. That isn’t to say they aren’t dangerous. If crossed or insulted, they WILL lash out and inflict punishment, such as a withering limb, the dying of crops, or even murder. I also found the portrayal of fairylands to be intriguing – and very reminiscent to how it was portrayed in my favorite novel, “Lud-In-The-Mist” by Hope Mirrlees. For instance, most who wander or are taken into the lands of Faerie return broken. Many lose their wits and cannot function. Many long to return, thinking only of the lands they left until the day they die. It also said that if one eats faerie food without certain precautions, they will go mad – which is similar to the idea of Fairyfruit in Lud. I found these similarities of interest – as the way faeries were described in this book closely resembled those portrayed in novels I have read and enjoyed.

All in all, this was a very informative little book, and I feel that Carolyne White did a great job in fitting so much into so few pages. My only real complaint was the writing. While it was certainly sufficient, there were a lot of areas that were oddly worded – and certain grammatical issues (and even a few typos) that stood out. Never-the-less, those are editing issues that failed to hinder my enjoyment. In the end, I came out with A LOT more knowledge of Faeries, and am very pleased to have made this purchase. I would have, however, liked to have seen more sources, as there were very few. So overall, this is just a great book on the history of Irish fairies; one that anyone could enjoy if having such an interest. I’d definitely suggest it, and can easily say that this was both an enjoyable and educational read. Now that I’ve read this, I’ll know that if I ever cross a faerie traveling in a dust cloud, all that must be said are the words “God Bless You”..as once this is uttered, one is completely protected from Faerie wrath!


(4 out of 5)

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Before I get into the actual review – or before I even write-up the synopsis, I want to make it clear that this is a very hard one for me to review – as this novel truly is a classic in its own right – written in 1894 by William Morris, an author who inspired the likes of some truly amazing and influential artists such as Tolkien and Lord Dunsany. So with that in mind, chances are there won’t be a lot of criticism coming from me– not simply because it is indeed a timeless classic and I almost feel wrong doing so– but because it was quite an enjoyable piece, one where I could find very little to complain about! So, with that out-of-the-way..

“The Wood Beyond the World” by William Morris begins with our hero, Golden Walter – a young man who happens to be in a very unhappy relationship. A man whom, upon coming to the conclusion that his new bride essentially hates him, decides to flee his home and set sail upon one of his father’s ships. This then sets the story in motion – a story that truly begins when Walter lay eyes upon a rather strange and mysterious trio – a trio consisting of a queen, an evil dwarf, and a beautiful maiden. Upon seeing this strange trio, and being completely drawn to them, Walter decides to take a chance – a chance that involves veering off course to find and approach this trio. This is when the adventure truly begins – and when Walter soon finds himself drawn into the strange lands of the Wood Beyond the World – a world different from our own – a world of lies, a world of magic, of love, and of danger.

Upon deciding to pick up this book, I’ll admit I was firstly drawn to the cover – which gave off a very magical and medieval feel; a feel that had me dishing out cash in no time. Though of course, that wasn’t my only motivation for starting this – as I had indeed heard of the author previously from not only websites like librarything, which insist that this his novels are compatible with my taste – but also because of a friend, who has constantly praised the work of Morris. That, and there is also the fact that William Morris is, from what I gather, a very influential author when it comes to the fantasy genre. Putting all that together – I knew The World Beyond the Wood was a book I really needed to get my paws on – and now that I did, I can say that I am very pleased!

To begin, The Wood Beyond the world isn’t your typical sword and sorcery, slash em’ up type of fantasy — not at all. If anything, I’d say this novel is more of a medieval romance – one singed with fantasy elements..such as subtle magic, a queen of a strange world, an ugly dwarf, and of course..a lovely maiden slave whom’ longs to leave the Wood Beyond the World! A maiden whose fate soon intertwines with Walter – as they both fall deeply and madly in love. It truly is the typical fairy tale romance – a damsel in distress – a man who happens to come by to save her — who falls in love with her, as does she. Though I will say, that the uniqueness of the story itself sets it apart from the others – that, and the beautiful language.

Written in a very archaic, Middle-English tone, I was a bit nervous when getting into “The Wood Beyond the World” – and a bit weary that I would spend more time deciphering the language than actually enjoying the story (lots of thees..and thous, and betwixt, etc). Luckily, I soon discovered that the language didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all, but actually enhanced it. After just a few chapters I was completely in love with the beautiful language, and felt as though I were reading something truly magical – something written in a time and place very different from my own – drawn out from a magical world and into my own home. Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but in truth, this was such a lovely piece, and the beautiful prose on these pages kept me completely immersed within it’s dream-like quality.

Just as the language kept me engaged, I can also say the same for the characters, especially Walter and the maiden. Firstly, I found Walter to be a very sympathetic and pure character. He was truly good at heart, and while he was deceived and betrayed by his wife – he was still a kind person with a great outlook. A bit naive perhaps, but he was a refreshing character, and his kind actions and personality had me feeling for him, and hoping for the best. The Maiden, as well, was another sympathetic character – one that I also came to care for. I found the dialog between the two at times to be very beautiful, and there was one part near the end that I had to re-read about four times, simply because it made me feel all mushy inside (haha!). I also enjoyed the other characters, including the mistress (the queen), who was actually (and surprisingly) complex as a character, and not your typical “villain”, as well as the dwarf, though I wish he had more involvement in the novel.

Finally, I also must note the artwork, which is truly beautiful and makes this novel even more unique than it already is. I chose to purchase the edition that is based on the original, 1894 Kelmscott press release, and I strongly recommend (can’t stress that enough) that if interested in the book, you do the same. As you can see by the pictures below, even the pages themselves are brought to life by the unique typeface and medieval artwork that decorates each page. This is a one of a kind book, and this edition adds a certain kind of magical charm that isn’t seen in a lot of novels – especially fantasy. So yes, if you get The Wood Beyond the World, get this addition, you won’t be disappointed.

So, with that said, The World Beyond the World is an epic tale of romance, adventure, and love – all set in a very dream-like medieval world – a world that sucked me in and had me absolutely glued to each page. From the ethereal prose, to the beautifully crafted artwork, to the sympathetic and likeable characters, I can easily say that this is one novel that will truly stay with me. If you’re a fairly tale lover like myself – and enjoy exploring the world of fantasy before it was even really a genre, then chances are this will probably interest you. Fans of Dunsany will probably also enjoy this – and now that I think of it, The World Beyond the Wood in some ways resembles “The King of Elfland’s Daughter.” Though of course, it should be the other way around, as this was released quite a long time before! All in all, this was a great experience, and I look forward to reading other works written by the great William Morris.

  

(4 and 1/2 out of 5)

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The Secret Lives of Elves and Faeries by John Matthews, is a book that is supposedly based on the real life journals of Rev. Robert Kirk – a man whom’ in the late 1600’s was allowed to enter and record his adventures in the realm of Faerie. Now, while there have been a handful of previous publications of this journal, and it is widely known as “The Secret Commonwealth,” this version by itself is far different than others; to go even further, it is claimed by Matthews to be based on the actual, unedited manuscript that apparently no one else has. I of course, cannot substantiate THAT claim, and as someone who hasn’t read the previous publications, cannot note or acknowledge the differences. With that said, I’ll be reviewing this novel as a stand-alone, and nothing more.

So with that out of the way, I’ll say that I was fairly impressed with this little book – and while it was just a 100 or so pages long, it was quite informative and told an interesting story. From different faerie races, to how the world below reacts..to what these faeries (or Sidhe) do, to what they eat, to how they dress..and even to the weapons they make and the conflicts they have, these journals here covered a large array of topics that kept me quite interested. After finishing the final chapter, I found myself even more curious about faerie folk in general – and also came away knowing a bit more about them (at least in the way that they were portrayed here).

Along with the decent amount of information given on faerie folk, I was also quite pleased with the visual aspect of this book. Not only were there several illustrations, some full-paged, others smaller, but the pages themselves were done in a way which made the whole thing appear weathered and old – giving it more of a magical and enchanting feel. That in itself, added to the experience, and truly made this a stand out.

Overall, I felt “The Secret Lives of Elves and Faeries” was well done, both visually and informatively. From the unique illustrations, to the story told within, I was quite pleased. While this book isn’t necessarily something that should be taken seriously — given the extreme claims made by Matthews – essentially stating that the manuscript everyone knows isn’t the real deal – it is a book that when read for pure enjoyment, can be quite fulfilling. And while much of this “journal” was perhaps created by Matthews himself – he IS an educated historian and folklorist – so for that, he gets some credit when it comes to the information presented, whether the journal itself is a work of fiction or not. All in all, this was a very nice and pleasant read; one that anyone could enjoy, especially if you’re interested in Faeries.


(3 and 1/2 out of 5)

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In a different world, and a different time, “The King of Elfland’s Daughter” is a fantasy novel that came before fantasy was even an actual genre. Lord Dunsany, an Irish writer & poet, known heavily for his short stories, was a one of a kind talent in his time — painting new, lush, imaginative worlds with strange an engaging characters and plots. To put it as clear as possible, Mr. Dunsany crossed the boundaries of twilight when it came to creative writing, and is in many ways, a pioneer of the genre itself. Written before more mainstream and well known fantasy works such as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, “The King of Elfland’s Daughter” is a beautifully written fairy tale of elves, unicorns, princesses, magic, and so much more.

Set in the vale of Erl, “The King Of Elfland’s Daughter” starts it’s tale with one of our main characters, Alveric, who is sent beyond the fields we know; into the world of faerie. His mission, assigned to him by his father and lord of erl, is to cross the border of twilight and bring back the elven princess of Faerie for the purpose of enchanting Erl with magic — breaking it free from its mundane, all-to-worldly existence. Well, all goes well quite fast..and the story starts as many would end — with a happily ever after — or should I say, where the happily ever after would start. Though unlike most books where the happily ever after is on the closing page, THIS happily ever after is brought to the forefront just within the first few chapters, and soon goes sour, and that, in essence, is where the heart of the story begins and lies. The experience after the happily ever after.

Filled with beautiful, descriptive, and poetic imagery, “The King Of Elfland’s Daughter” is a book that should not be devoured — but savored. Lord Dunsany is a true story teller, and wraps this unique tale with a complex writing style of his own — one that archaically paints the picture — bringing the words and characters and actions to life. Enhancing them with a certain kind of magic – the magic of wonder, imagination, and power. While some may find his style a bit much — perhaps, a bit TOO descriptive or wordy, I found it enchanting in it’s own right — for without this special touch, the story would not have been as majestically effective.

Aside from the brilliant writing style, and poetic feel of this lovely piece, I also must point out that I enjoyed the contrast between Elfland and Erl. The distinct variation in time, in motion, in change. While Elfland stood nearly changeless, frozen in it’s perfective beauty, the real world went on and withered, and died, and bloomed, and prospered. The sun would rise, and then set. The stars would come out – the moon would grace the sky. And while the people of Erl longed for the ageless beautify of the magnificent Elfland, other creatures in Elfland we’re equally fascinated and entranced by the beauty of change – the beauty of the fields WE know. I liked this concept – the concept of the grass always being greener on the other side, and how true it really is.

In truth, “The King of Elfland’s Daughter” is not for everyone. At times the story seemed to be plod along a bit slowly, and on some nights, after such hectic days with so many thoughts and words rolling in and out of my mind, I found keeping focus on this story a bit tough — for reading this novel without concentration rather disturbs the experience. But all in all, I found this to be a great and interesting read — a fascinating look into what fantasy really was and how it started — and how it became the phenomenon that it is today. And while this in itself, made the read interesting — I found the story to be fulfilling and the characters to be engaging in their own right – especially the troll, Lurulu (yes I must add this, I did love him).

As I close this review, I’ll say this — if you’re a fan of Fantasy and want to see how it, in many ways, came to be — check this out. If you enjoy poetic, enchanting stories that truly rely on the beauty of writing itself – the magic of creating real worlds and characters through the use of language and words — bringing them to life — making them real to us, for that momentary read — then check this out. As said, “The King Of Elfland’s Daugther” is not to be devoured. It is to be enjoyed — savored — experienced. While reading this novel, I truly felt like I was having an experience, and I hope that you, after reading this, will take the time to do so as well. It is, in my mind, well worth it. So travel now beyond the fields we know, and experience the magic that is deeply entwined with this fantastic book. If you have the patience and desire to read a true fairy tale, one that not only captivates but inspires, then you will NOT be disappointed. I wasn’t!


(4 out of 5)

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Patricia A. McKillip’s The Book of Atrix Wolfe is a unique story that centers primarily around an old and (incredibly) powerful mage named Atrix Wolfe, a mute scullery maid who the kitchen workers call Saro, and a teenage mage in the making, Talis. As a brief overview, without giving too much away, I will say that ths one-of-a-kind novel begins on an open field in the midst of a war between House Kardeth and House Pelucir. This is also where we first meet Atrix Wolfe, who is known as, perhaps, the most powerful mage in the world. In a moment of emotion and desperation, and in a time of cruelty and death, Atrix Wolfe gathers his energy and power to put an end to the rampant suffering and horror that surrounds Hunter’s field. Little does he know, what he unleashes on that dark night is something terrible; something beyond his comprehension; something that will haunt him and everyone involved forever.

That’s when the story flashes forward 20 years, and we meet young Talis, who is currently taking residence in Chaumenard to learn the art of sorcery. He also happens to be the son of the king Pelucir, who died on that tragic night on Hunter’s field. After being called back to his home of Pelucir by his Brother, he leaves the mage’s school; though not alone — he takes something strange with him. An odd unmarked book he found one night; a book with no name or label, just vaguely written spells that seem to hold some sort of power. Little does he know, this is a book written by the one and only, Atrix Wolfe. A book which holds words of secret, and undesired meanings; A book that in itself, bears the scars of what happened on that fateful night. A book that holds a terrible power — a power that could respark the horrible entity that ended the battle on Hunter’s Field; a power that will change Talis’s life and disturb the already haunted ruins of Pelicur once again.

Lastly, this is also where we meet Saro, a strange young Scullery made who works and sleeps in the kitchens of Pelicur. For Saro, her only language lay within the scrubbing of a pot or the stirring of a cauldron. For her, she has no words — no voice — the only thing she truly has is her job in the kitchens, and that job defines her completely. While she does respond to her name, which was given to her by the kitchen staff, “Saro”, meaning, “someone’s sorrow”, she has never spoken since they found her on that horrible night; found naked, lost amongst a pile of wood. Though Saro is simply the pot cleaner, a girl who is rarely noticed — she holds a strange secret past — one that no one is aware of, not even herself. Though to the kitchen staff, her existence is simple; she never speaks, and all she knows of life and the world is her large washing cauldron, inside she is alive, aware, simply lost within her forgotten past. A past that will soon be revealed by Talis and Atrix Wolfe, who’s lives all seemingly intertwine as the plot pushes fourth.

To say the least, Patricia McKillip is one talented and highly skilled author! Her writing style is both unique and genuinely her own — it’s deep, poetic, artistic, dream-like, etheareal, emotional. Her use of words is absolutely stunning, and she relies heavily on her atmospheric style to carry her story (and it works). I found this novel to be stylistically beautiful, and I found myself on numerous occasions re-reading what I had just read, only to think “wow..” Some moments were just so good, I had to re-read them. Not many authors do that to me.

Aside from the beauty of the writing itself, I also quite enjoyed the characters, which were all unique and interesting, especially Saro. While Atrix Wolfe and Talis were both great and compelling characters, and I certainly cared about what would happen to them; she was by far my favorite (despite the fact that she never spoke a word until the end of the book)! Some of the most touching and heart-breaking moments revolved around her, and the way McKillip portrayed her character as a mute — speaking the language of the pots, understanding cleaning, food, everything else was drowned out sound, trying to choke up word..struggling.. etc..it was just so interesting. Her interaction between the kitchen crew..what they thought of her, getting an in depth feeling of what was going on in her mind, how she felt..how she saw things..her frustration.. I just can’t praise this character enough. She’s probably one of the most memorable characters I’ve read in a long time.

Though I enjoyed most aspects of this novel, especially her poetic, dream-like style, at the same time, I felt that in some areas it actually took away from the story itself — detaching the reader from certain happenings. For instance, some of the action scenes didn’t quite feel right in the way they were written — almost as if they lacked a much needed intensity. Some were so metaphorically driven, it felt almost as if I were reading a poem rather than an actual moment of danger. Though I generally like this type of writing (hell, I’m a poet), I believe it would have been more affective if the action scenes were toned down a bit, written in a more straight forward fashion rather than the mist-like quality that filled most of this novel. Also, for whatever reason, in the beginning of the book, I had a hard time (for a short period) telling the characters apart. I didn’t quite know who was who. Regardless of this, I felt the writing style helped far more than it hurt, and because of this, I was mesmerized and entranced from beginning to end.

All in all, this is a great book. From the hypnotic writing, to the great characters, to the unique plot — this was an enchanting, well acomplished stand-alone fantasy piece. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind fantasy novel with an excellent story (even mixed with a bit of folklore/mythology), you should definitely pick this up. Though I’ve only read one of McKillip’s novels (SO FAR), I can say that she is a talented writer, and if you’re looking for something a bit different stylistically, you’ll get it from her. I recommend “The Book Of Atrix Wolfe” to anyone who’s looking for a quick (though deep), unique read, that will hold you entranced and compelled straight from the beginning.


(4 out of 5)

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In the country of Dorimare, the capital city of Lud-In-The-Mist lay at the confluence of two rivers about ten miles from the Elfin Hills and Elfin Marches. It also lay just miles from the Debatable Hills, which to those whom believe, leads to an exotic world called Fairyland — one where the silent people reside, and one where the living will never return from. Though this legend is weaved deeply into the folklore of Lud-In-The-Mist, it by law, has been banished from existence itself. For the discussion of Fairyland, or the discussion of Fairyfruit (a fruit said to cause madness in those who eat it), is looked down upon by the citizens of Lud-In-The-Mist; besides, by law, it doesn’t exist anyway, right?

Though the the town of Lud-In-The-Mist is beautifully described as being plentiful of trees, fruitful, and a great place for children and families to live and prosper, it also has it’s share of unwanted problems — the major one being quite serious: the illegal import of that non-existent fruit, Fairyfruit. And yes, while this fruit is simply deemed a ridiculous legend by law, regardless, it has been illegally smuggled into the city for years despite their (not so best) efforts to keep it out. This is when the story really heats up and leads to one of our main characters — Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, the Mayor of Lud-In-The-Mist.

Master Nathaniel has always been a rather simple but strange fellow – taking joy in his every day, repetitious tasks. Though to the common eye, Nathaniel seems to be quite the ordinary guy – the father of two, husband, he’s always been a bit..different. As if he’s continually moving through life at the beat of his own drum. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, his familiar and comforting life gets turned upside down when his Son, Ranulph Chanticleer, claims to have eaten the forbidden fruit after acting quite curious for a few days. This then leads down a strange path of twists and turns, a murder mystery, deception, and yes, the land of Faerie!

Lud-In-The-Mist is a one of kind a read – a pre-tolkien fantasy novel that clearly resembles the concepts of magic and fantasy that many authors work with today. From touching moments, to wondrous enchanting moments, to sad more serene ones – and even to extremely humorous times, this book has something for everything. Author Hope Mirrlees does such a grand job creating a completely new and different world – a world that you could swear truly exists somewhere today. A world that I would love to visit – though in some ways, I feel I already have..

Along with the enchanting beauty of this one-of-a-kind world that Mirrlees masterfully conjures up, her use of the English language is very nineteenth-century and adds to the whole feel of this book. The wording, the phrasing, the terms – they all contribute to the majestic vibe that this writing gives off to the reader — transforming them into a different place and time. Mirrlees’s beautiful style truly shines brightly throughout, flowing from page to page almost poetically while remaining incredibly descriptive and enjoyable. Her depictions are stunningly vivid; her narration of events and places beautifully detailed. All in all, her ability to create such unique and realistic descriptions is a truly unique gift – one that really isn’t seen very often.

Oh, and of course, we cannot forget to mention (no, never!), her unique exclamations and curses that pop up from time to time within this lovely tale – curses her characters often use in stressful, shocking, or unpleasant situations. Phrases like “Toasted Cheese!” or “By my great aunts rump!” Or perhaps, “By the Sun, Moon, and the Stars!” or “Son of a Fairy!” (which is apparently quite a naughty one in the world of Lud-In-The-Mist). Though none can truly compare to my personal favorite, “Busty Bridgit!” Ah yes, I found myself chuckling several times throughout this book, and these cute little expressions truly add some very humorous and light moments to a fairly deep read.

All in all, I must say that Lud-In-The-Mist is a beautifully written fairy tale with unique and compelling characters, excellent lore and back-story, and a very solid and engaging plot. My only slight gripe is that I wanted more time spent within the Faerie realm, but in my view, the way this book was laid out and evolved from chapter to chapter was more than appropriate. Lud-In-The-Mist is a book I will treasure forever, and one that will remain a classic in my eyes until the end of days. If I had to recommend this to a specific audience, I would say this: To anyone who enjoys a fairy tale – to anyone who enjoys humor, and fantasy, and a magic world – to anyone who enjoys mesmerizing descriptions and surroundings – read this book. Enjoy it. Take it in. I’ll also say that if you’re someone who enjoys the likes of Tolkien or Neil Gaiman (as this novel is very reminiscent to these creative authors), you will love this. I know I did. For me, this book was not just read, but a magical journey.


(4 and 1/2 out of 5)

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