November 25, 2009

No Ordinary Disney

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
Reviewed by Ruya

In Spell Hunter, a children's book by R. J. Anderson, the reader learns the tale of Knife, a rebellious young faery with an unstoppable curiosity towards the world outside the Oak in which she lives, and especially towards humans. Despite the warnings of her elders, Knife persists in venturing closer and closer to the nearby human house, risking her life and the increasingly endangered lives of her people to learn more about the strange ways of the family within. Knife is baffled by their strange ways like the way they help each other, expecting nothing in return, and the way the youngest one, Paul, refuses to talk to his parents as he wheels himself about on his large silver throne. With the help of Paul, Knife learns more than she could possibly imagine about love, and about how, once upon a time, faeries were not so different from humans.

Despite the tag line " No ordinary faery tail", Hunter starts out pretty cliché. There's a community of faeries living in a tree, the youngest one wants something different, and she's curious about humans. It's very Disney; reminiscent of The Little Mermaid and Gail Carson Levine's recent Tinkerbell series, with a little bit of The Borrowers in the mix. But once you get past the beginning of the book, it becomes more intriguing, even a bit suspenseful. Why is it that there are no male faeries? Why are they all so cold towards one another? Why is it that the queen is the only one with magic? You learn to like the characters of Knife and Paul, and even start liking the irritable Thorn. Though the ending is almost as Disney as the beginning, the majority of the book makes up for it. And anyway, what's wrong with a sugar-sweet happy ending once in a while?

Posted by at November 25, 2009 04:28 PM
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