Fairy Keeper – Amy Bearce
Forget cute fairies in pretty dresses. In the world of Aluvia, most fairies are more like irritable, moody insects. Almost everyone in the world of Aluvia views the fairy keeper mark as a gift, but not fourteen-year-old Sierra. She hates being a fairy keeper, but the birthmark is right there on the back of her neck. It shows everyone she was born with the natural ability to communicate, attract, and even control the tiny fairies whose nectar is amazingly powerful. Fairy nectar can heal people, but it is also a key ingredient in synthesizing Flight, an illegal elixir that produces dreaminess, apathy and hallucinations. She’s forced to care for a whole hive of the bee-like beasties by her Flight-dealing, dark alchemist father.
Then one day, Sierra discovers the fairies of her hatch are mysteriously dead. The fairy queen is missing. Her father’s Flight operation is halted, and he plans to make up for the lost income by trading her little sister to be an elixir runner for another dark alchemist, a dangerous thug. Desperate to protect her sister, Sierra convinces her father she can retrieve the lost queen and get his operation up and running.
The problem? Sierra’s queen wasn’t the only queen to disappear. They’re all gone, every single one, and getting them back will be deadly dangerous.
Sierra journeys with her best friend and her worst enemy — assigned by her father to dog her every step — to find the missing queens. Along the way, they learn that more than just her sister’s life is at stake if they fail. There are secrets in the Skyclad Mountains where the last wild fairies were seen. The magic Sierra finds there has the power to transform their world, but only if she can first embrace her calling as a fairy keeper.
Release Date: March 5th, 2015
On Monday, right after I started reading this, we received a fairy-based submission at work, so I’ve been in a fairy mood all week.
What I liked:
-the relationships!! All of them!! The fact that Sierra’s willing to go on this arduous journey to save her little sister. The way Sierra and Corbin really are “just friends” with no romantic tension (even an almost pseudo-kiss didn’t cause them to fall madly in love with each other). I don’t know if it’s spoiler-y to tell you about Nell and Corbin or Micah’s appearance, but it was super cute.
-the characters. Sierra was tough and strong but could still admit when she needed help instead of blustering her way through. I think Nell was my favourite, especially the way she developed over the course of the story. I also really liked Micah, though I was a little suspicious of him for a while (I briefly wondered if he had ulterior motives, but that just shows how well Sierra’s thoughts were presented, since she wondered the same thing).
-the idea of fairy keepers. I mean, for one, they have this great fairy-wing shaped marks on their neck, which is very cool, but it’s also interesting that not everyone had control over magical creatures – just a select few.
-other magical creatures introduced in a logical way. If there are fairies, there should also be merpeople and fauns and dragons, right? Right! It makes sense and they’re integrated almost seamlessly so that you’re not wondering where these magical creatures came from (*cough the Fallen series cough*).
-the writing itself was lovely and descriptive without being over-the-top about it.
-also, the rather violent ending, which was shocking, but in a good way. Sierra took ownership of her powers and it was excellent to see.
What I didn’t like:
-we spend a lot of time in Sierra’s head and, while that’s often a good thing (see how I felt about Micah), it did get a little repetitive sometimes (especially when it came to her brotherly feelings for Corbin).
-since I wasn’t sure about time period, occasionally I felt like there were some anachronistic sayings (i.e. “give me a break”), which felt odd when it was followed a little bit later by phrases like “the hourglass sands never stopped flowing”. It didn’t detract from the reading experience, it was just a little jarring.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I’m tempted to consider it “middle grade” rather than “young adult”, but it makes sense as being on the younger end of the YA spectrum.