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Saturday, March 14, 2009

“Bones of Faerie” by Janni Lee Simner (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Official Janni Lee Simner Website
Order “Bones of Faerie
Read An Excerpt HERE

Young Adult books seem to have become all the rave lately in the publishing world. With so many titles hitting the shelves recently its hard to stand out, but Janni Lee Simner'sBones of Faerie” is one of those rare books that doesn't follow the typical YA formula and offers a different aspect from many similar story lines...

A war between humans and the faerie folk have left much of the world destroyed. After this war humans have become afraid of anything that involves magic or has to do with the faeries. The only trace that these folks even exist is that the trees and animals come to life and can crave blood.

Liza, a 15-year-old girl who lives in a local town that has rebuilt itself after the war, has witnessed a terrible event: the death of her baby sister. Shortly after this her mother has mysteriously disappeared and no one in the town knows where or why she has left with no warning. As Liza has begun to move on from these tragic events she discovers a secret—she has a bit of the faerie magic inside her which causes her to see visions of the past and the future. Magic is highly frowned upon in her city and she feels that she must run away in order to protect others from this evil magic.

Accompanying Liza while she flees from the city is Matthew, another boy that has a bit of the faerie magic within him. While on this journey, Liza decides to search for her mother who she doesn't feel is really dead and may hold answers to what to do with this magic that has recently evolved. The search for Liza's mother may lead to the answers that many people that have survived this Apocalypse wish to know: Can humans and those with faerie magic live together peacefully?

Bones of Faerie” is Simner's first young adult novel and stands out as different from other fantasy books. Even though the storyline—a girl on a quest to find her missing mother—may sound commonplace and overused, Simner brings a whole different light to this plot. The first difference that readers encounter is the oddly unique way that the forests come to life and how they are seeking for the blood of humans. This aspect of the world adds a darker side to the story without being overly dark and engages not only teen readers, but also adult ones.

Another attention grabber is the way Simner incorporates familiar landmarks in the book, even using them as major points of interest in the plot. As the story takes place around the Missouri area, readers will encounter the Arch and other highways that are familiar with today’s world. So even though the setting is post-apocalyptic, the recognizable landmarks offer familiarity to readers and adds a unique twist to the story.

Although the book has it's high points there are a few gaps within the plot. Simner, who is the author of almost thirty short stories, seems to be more comfortable with the short fiction format. The flow of “Bones of Faeries” is very quick, almost too quick at times. For example, the magic that the children possess and their ability to understand how to use this magic, was never really explained. One moment they have this magic like being able to travel from the human world to the faerie folk world, and the next they are using it even though they had no teacher and very little time to experiment with the magic on their own.

Another detail that felt skimmed over was that of the war between humans and the Faerie folk. Numerous times throughout the novel, the war is brought up, but it was never clear why there was a war, what happened during it, or even why people continue to hate those with magic.

In the end, Janni Lee Simner's first attempt at a teen novel was a success. Despite the quick pace and the lack of details regarding magic and the war, “Bones of Faerie” was an engaging read. The author definitely has a great future with YA fiction and I look forward to reading more of her works...


Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

This sounds like a wonderful book and a refreshing difference in the YA world. I really love the simplicity of the cover as well! Really great review.

Cindy said...

You're welcome :).

It really was nice to have a different type of book amongst the YA books. I hope it opens a lot of doors for other writers!


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