If you know me then you know I love queer genre books. Especially of the YA variety. And that I’m also fascinated by the fae. So when C.M McGuire reached out to me asking me to check out her book? Well, I obviously had to.
This book follows Bryn, a teenage girl who has been training to fight the fae in the hope of protecting her family. When she was younger her mum was taken by the fae and now years after she thought she’d escaped the Unseelie court they’re back. With new friends Dom and Jaskia in tow they have to try to stop the fae before it’s too late.
In a lot of ways this book is a typical YA paranormal fantasy but it’s the good kind. You have a main character who is an outsider because of what they know and they’re willing to do almost anything to protect others from it. But where this book succeeded was that it made for a fun adventure. Having some idea of where it might go allowed for stronger characters and world building. None of the main cast felt flat and though you still have questions about them it’s not frustrating.
And the use of the fae. There was such variety across Scottish, Irish and Welsh fae and I loved that. I learned some terms I hadn’t heard before and it was so refreshing to see. Hell, I never thought I’d see the Gwragedd Annwn in a faerie book so even if they weren’t portrayed how I expected it was good. A bit weird why this mix of fae is in the US but to keep up with humanity I guess they’d move about too. I will admit to one issue. I’m not a fan of the use of the courts in Fae books anyway. I prefer Irish and Welsh tales for that reason. But any Irish and Welsh fae mentioned won’t be seelie or unseelie. The courts were Scottish and though it was nice to see all these fae mentioned…it bugs me that they’ve all been lumped in the same category when the Irish have the sidhe and the Welsh the Tylwyth Teg. Something that is even mentioned in the glossary. But that is just personal preference and not something I’m holding against the book. But I couldn’t not mention it.
Another thing I couldn’t not mention is the queerness. Our main character is bi or pan – on page it says she isn’t sure – and we have her being romantic with two girls. One fae and one human oooh. What’s nice about this is that it’s not exactly a love triangle or her being torn between a mortal and a fae. There’s a past relationship and a possible future one. Both girls get on, there’s no pointless hate and you can see Bryn loves both. And that was just such a joy to read. As well as the wlw rep, we have an ace character who tries to explain his sexuality on page. It didn’t go into much detail but it was nice to have an ace character in YA just throwing it out there. So definitely a good thing.
I read about 75% of this book in one day so you can tell I enjoyed it. And I’ll definitely be buying myself a copy of the second.
This book is published by Swoon Reads so I’m shocked I haven’t seen more people talking about it. This is a mainstream book guys and you’ll love it. Who doesn’t want a sapphic, queer adventure? Hype. This. Book.Up!