Friday, February 2, 2007

Review: Faerie Wars

Title: Faerie Wars
Author: Herbie Brennan
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Book one in a series that includes (so far) two more books.

Favorite Quote: "So I did what any sensible man would do and took up bank robbery."

Rating: 9/10

From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–The Faerie Wars (Bloomsbury, 2003) by Herbie Brennan is an introduction to the complex world of the Faerie Realm, which is inhabited by the Faeries of the Night and the Faeries of the Light. The two main characters are teenaged boys, Henry Atherton, a likeable, forthright, British boy whose family is breaking up as a result of his mother's lesbian affair with his father's secretary, and Prince Pyrgus Malvae, heir to the Purple Emperor, a brave, socially conscious Faerie of the Light. The come from very different worlds but are thrown together when Henry is cleaning out the shed of his summer employer, Mr. Fogarty, a wily but brilliant physicist. Pyrgus has gotten into big trouble in the faerie realm and his father has had him "translated" into the "Analogue World" (our world) to protect him. Mr. Fogarty's backyard is a portal between the two realms. Mr. Fogarty's physics background allows him and Henry to try to help Pyrgus get back home and, in so doing, a friendship develops between the three. This story about friendship, honor, good and evil, with some weapons, demons, and a budding romance thrown in for fun, is filled with symbolism, wit, and irony. Listeners will find the ending surprisingly satisfying considering that the book ends with the words, "to be continued." The main characters are genuine, appealing, and well developed. Other characters are merely introduced, and we are left hoping to learn more about them in ensuing episodes. Narrator Gerard Doyle does a remarkable job of bringing each character alive. He reads clearly with great enthusiasm and vibrancy, allowing whimsy and mischief to emerge. Fantasy readers will thoroughly enjoy this audiobook, especially fans of Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter.

I heard about this book over on Twisted Kingdom, and then I saw the audiobook in the local library and decided to pick it up for the long commute to and from a client site. Boy, am I glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were fun and easy to cheer for, and the plot moved along pretty quickly- as do most plots in children's literature. There were some random plot threads that were neither resolved nor even fully developed- for example, Henry's family problems are introduced at the start and then largely ignored for the remainder of the novel, as Brennan focuses on the troubles in the Faerie realm. There are great one-liners in the story, lots of action, and a whole lot of amusement to be got from this book- as I listened to the audio version, I thought that the narrator was excellent at doing different characters and inflecting his voice. I think this is a great read for those who enjoy children's and young adult fantasy- it's definitely a series that I will be following.


  1. Okay, now I really want to try this series.

  2. I've just finished it. Really enjoyable and fun read.


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