Where I Got It: Received a review copy from the author (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: Adventure fantasy fanatics would enjoy this.
Publisher: Silence in the Library (2011)
Length: 386 pages
Series: Book 1 War of the Seasons
Story has had some tough, recent losses in her 17 years of life. She’s also a highschooler and a bit of a hard head at times, going after a goal whether it was feasible or not. She’s pushed everyone in her life away and likes to go caving on the weekends. In fact, she manages to break a few cardinals rules while caving and ends up falling down a hole and into a new world.
Ailionora is a magical world with your typical flora and fauna – elves. fairies, fey, selkies, danaan, dryads. Straight off, Story stumbles across an elf that needs rescuing, Eirnin. He’s a bit rude about the rescue, storming off, muscular arms and tattoos fading into the distance. At first Story doesn’t quite know nor believe that she has fallen into another world, so she sets off on her own in the woods looking for some pavement or asphalt or concrete. Eventually, Eirnin comes back to rescue her in the woods and lead her on to the next village. Throughout the journey, Story is plagued by very real and magical dreams featuring an excessively handsome Morrigann, a Fey prince.
The crux of the story is that the elves have been suffering for hundreds of years under an evil enchantment that will eventually kill their entire race. Story may just be that one long-prophesied hero to save them all. Hence the fun and sometimes intense adventure that Janine Spendlove has given us. The main characters have some depth, each having suffered heartaches, losses, and disappointments. The underlying plot kept my attention and the book moving forward, even when there were a few places where redundant dialogue slowed it down. The side characters and evil-doers were a delight to read, often providing words of wisdom, humor, and being available to hate freely.
While Story meets many, many nice people through out the adventure who clothe her, feed her, and make sure she is healthy and armed, there are the Bad Guys trying to deceive her, use her, or outright kill her. Even Story manages to sabotage herself more than once through her lack of trust, but that makes her all the more interesting as a main character. She is flawed, in a foreign place, and making mistakes. I like that. Story deeply misses her human family and her reminisces of her father and the younger twins’ antics were a very nice touch to the tale. I had mixed feeling about the ending, as I felt that it was too easy for Story, who was suddenly, unexpectedly given the ability to do what needed to be done. However, with one monumental task complete, the world is not suddenly all rosy and delights (which I appreciate in my fiction). Spendlove sets us up quite well for the next in the series.
What I Liked: Story was a likeable, frustrating, complex character; the ladies in this tale hold their own; tattoos!; the quest itself, while classic, was one I enjoyed; I loved despising the bad guys; lots of beasties (both good, bad, & wild) for me to interact with.
What I Disliked: I felt that somethings were made too easy for Story (she’s always fed, clothed, armed); the romance was a bit cheesy and often I wanted to simply get back to the story; the ending was a bit too easy.