Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Faerie Winter

Synopsis: The war has been over for 40 years, and finally Liza's town is accepting children born with fairy talents. Then a nearby town is destroyed, and Liza discovers that the war might not be over after all. It seems some faeries survived and have crossed over into the human world to continue the fight. And the most powerful and merciless of them all—the Queen herself—may be among them...

Liza is a Summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined land of Faerie.

Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens’ branches are bare. Winter crops won’t grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.

Here at last is the sequel to Bones of Faerie, for all those fans of dark fantasy and dystopian adventure who thrilled to Janni Lee Simner’s unique vision of a postapocalyptic world infused with magic.

My Review: I was absolutely thrilled when I saw this on Around the World Tours.  I completely adored Bones of Faerie and I had no clue that Janni was writing a sequel.  It's been a long while since I read Bones of Faerie, but even with the gap I have to say that the sequel was just as good if not better.   

Faerie Winter picks up a few months after Liza successfully brought autumn into her world.  It's now the dead of winter and Liza and her village fear that spring may never come.  The once blood seeking plants have grown passive and harmless.  Even with Liza's summoning abilities, the trees refuse to come out of their slumber.  What Liza doesn't realize is that Faerie is as equally dead as her own world, and that the Fae have come to her world in search of life.  When Liza and Mathew find a young boy's burned body buried in the woods, things start to fall apart.  Ethan, a young firestarter, is found by Liza and taken in by Kate.  It soon becomes apparent that Faerie is not so willing to part from Liza's world without wiping out all humans, including Liza.  

I really loved how  Janni continued this story.  I was relatively satisfied with the ending to Bones of Faerie, but hey I'm not complaining.  A lot of things were cleared up that had been unanswered.  Tara and Kaylen's history, how the War really started, and the truth behind Kaylen and Karin's heritage.  The story really filled out and made me love these books even more.  

One thing I was just DYING for was some development between Liza and Mathew!  Gah! There was just so much repressed feelings in the first one I was hoping that with six months of winter something would have happened!  Besides hand holding occasionally and a quick kiss nothing happened until the VERY END! And I am talking about down to the last page!  >.<  It's clear that they care very deeply for each other, but it's like they're both afraid to take the next step.  Their relationship is truly beautiful.  They trust each other with their lives, and feel like they can depend on no one else.  I particularly loved what Liza would say "We protect each other."  Just so sweet.  Plus there's the fact that Mathew spent 90% of the novel in wolf form.  Was it critical to the story?  Yes, but I still can't help but resent it a bit.  I like Mathew :( 

I really felt that Liza's character grew tremendously.  Liza has always been so clear cut on everything she does.  She doesn't hesitate in any situation.  If she believes that someone is a danger to her loved ones, even if she wants to help them, she will do what needs to be done.  She knows what is important, and doesn't let her own personal feelings overcome her judgment.  Liza's tough as nails, but it was nice to see a more vulnerable side to her.  Her attachment to Kyle, a young boy in the village, is very touching.  She comes to care for him like her own family, and commits to taking care of him.  Liza still has things to learn, and is willing to learn from Karin.  When it's time to decide who to save in order to restore spring to the world, she doesn't hesitate.  She's self sacrificing (and I hate to say that because it reminds me of Bella Swan) but Liza has the right intentions.  I definitely grew more attached to Liza in this book.  

These books combine my two favorite genre's.  Faerie and dystopian fiction.  In one word?  Epic!  The story is a brilliant mix of fantasy, love, and a dying world.  Dark and gripping you'll devour it in one sitting.  I definitely did.  I'm really hoping for a third book!  Partially because I want me some Mathew/Liza, and because I just don't feel like the story is quite over yet.  Maybe with some begging and pleading my dream will come true.  XD