Friday, June 18, 2010
Knife (published as Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter in the US) is a young adult fantasy by R. J Anderson, it's also her debut.
On first glance it seemed a little like Holly Black's Ironside series, which I quite liked, so the similarities attracted me to begin with.
Bryony is a young faery who has grown up in a large oak tree and longs to visit the world outside the tree, of particular fascination is the garden. When it comes time for Bryony to join the world of adulthood and be given an allotted task by Queen Amaryllis the young faery wants to be given a job that will take her outside the tree. Hunter would be ideal, but Bryony believes the best she can hope for is Gatherer. It's dangerous and tedious, but at least it will get her outside. Beyond her wildest dreams Bryony is made apprentice to the Queen's Hunter; Thorn.
Once outside and after a life threatening encounter with a crow Bryony comes to the conclusion she needs a better weapon for protection and the only place that has the required materials is the House. Bryony meets a human and connects with him. In the process Bryony will uncover the mystery surrounding the Queen, the secret of the deadly Silence and she'll fall in love, she will be ultimately forced to choose between the man she loves and the only life she has ever known.
Knife is a well written, easy to read story that holds the readers and interest and keeps the pages turning. It's not to everyone's taste, but I found it a nice change of pace from the more epic work I've been reading recently. I also was intrigued by R J Anderson's take on the faery world. It's a totally female dominated society, there are no male faeries, baby faeries come from eggs, however the mother has to die before the egg will appear.
Some people may find the naming of every faery after a plant somewhat tiresome, but I enjoyed it and was rather amused by it.
Although Bryony is physically well described I only had to look at Brian Froud's excellent cover art to know exactly what she looked like. I've rarely seen a cover artist capture a character so well.
It's an easy read, but if you want something cute with some interesting ideas then Knife is well worth a look. There's a sequel; Rebel, out and at some stage I expect I'll get that as well.