Faerie Winter by Janni Lee SimnerPublished: April 5, 2011Publisher: Random House Books for Young ReadersPages: 288Received: from publisher for honest review
The long-awaited sequel to Janni Lee Simner's breathtaking YA fantasy debut, Bones of Faerie.
Liza is a summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined land of Faerie.
Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens' branches are bare. Winter crops won't grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.
Here at last is the sequel to Bones of Faerie, for all those fans of dark fantasy and dystopian adventure who thrilled to Janni Lee Simner's unique vision of a postapocalyptic world infused with magic.
Could this story get any better? I was so happy to be back in Liza's world and to see what happened after she saved her mother from the faerie realm. The War between humans and fae had been a harsh one, leaving destruction and death on both sides. It also left both sides with the inability to trust. This companion novel shows us how people and fae alike can change for the better, while there are those who could never truly let go. This book is about forgiveness, even when the reason is hard to come to terms with.
I was thrilled to see that the story included the children of After (after the War) and that we learn about their magic. Each child holds a different type of magic in them and I was eager to learn about each and every one. I have a soft spot for Kyle though and poor Ethan. Kyle makes my heart sing with his undying devotion, his childlike wonder and his ability to understand so much more than what is being said. I guess children in general have the uncanny ability to believe and to state the obvious and Kyle just reminds me so much of why children are so precious. Ethan literally broke my heart with his sadness and regret, how can one child bear so much?
This book was so hard to put down, because the story was just so amazing. The way Ms. Simner melds both the feelings of despair during winter and the hope for spring yet to come. You could feel how hard it was for Liza being surrounded by such a desolate world, but having the hope that everything would be okay. She had to face off with evil she had never encountered before to save her family and friends from being killed and from winter taking over and killing all living things.
And now the best part is seeing the relationship between Liza and Matthew start to bloom. In the wise words of Hope, "About time." In the first book, Bones of Faerie, their relationship is there lurking in the sidelines, but never acted upon. It's that first crush kinda thing, that doesn't go past the friendship stage until now. They're finally realizing they need each other and never want to be apart, but the novel isn't about their story at all, it just hints at this throughout and gives you the tiniest bit of knowledge that there is love there, ready to bloom with spring.
Keep an eye open - there is supposed to be a third Faerie book due out in early 2013!You can find my review of Bones of Faerie here.You can find a guest post with Janni Lee Simner here, about what it was like to revisit Liza's world while writing Faerie Winter.