And on to review number 5 for SPFBO8, a YA novel with some teeth. This contains a lot of standard fantasy tropes such as elves and fae, but the author does a fine job of weaving an interesting tale. The Fae, self-proclaimed children of the gods, are being imprisoned, tortured and raped by demons who are helped by the human king of the land. Asherah, one of the imprisoned Fae, leads a jailbreak and then begins to free other Fae from different camps. When she learns of the King’s involvement, she goes to the Elf King, who rules the land. While the King wants to help, he also wants Asherah for himself, but will her unwillingness affect his decision?
I have to be honest, I find the earnestness of YA dialogue to be somewhat stiff, and this was no different here. However, this is a matter of personal taste, and this story has a lot going for it. Asherah was the most interesting character, having a mantle of leadership thrust upon her, despite her reticence about taking over. She takes the role on though, leading raids to free more fae and building what is becoming her army. Some I neglected to mention in the spiel above are Caol’nir and Alluria. Caol-nir is a temple guard, tasked with guarding the brides of a god (whose name eludes me). The brides' role is to bear the children of the god, but for their otherwise chaste behaviour, they are rewarded with magical powers. Of course, Caol’nir and Alluria fall for each other, with Caol’nir risking his life by spending an unwarranted amount of time with Alluria. Will their relationship cost Caol-nir his life, or will Alluria give up her power to be his?
Both story strands are worth your time and, despite the pace slowing at times, the book is enjoyable and has many standout moments. While the author is well established, I believe this entry into SPFBO will earn her some new fans, win or lose.