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October 11, 2005

Faerie Tale - Raymond E Feist

A book I've had on my shelf for absolutely years, and which I finally dusted down and gave up the daily paper and crossword to attempt a quick read. Nearly 500 pages in just over a week isn't bad, but it really was fairly light stuff.

At the heart, it's really very simple, but as with many books the truth is revealed backwards to keep you reading. The forwards abridged narrative might go like this:

There is a secret society called the Magi who pretty much control the world - not only ours, but also a Fairie world too which has many of the attributes that Irish folklore tells of. The Fairies are kept in check by a pot of gold, and it's hidden under a tree in a farm in New York state. Phil and his family (wife Gloria, attractive 18 year old daughter Gabby, and twin 8 year old sons Patrick and Sean) move to the farm. The fairies start bothering them, indecently assault Gabby, and when the gold is found and removed from the farm (breaking the compact that keeps them under control), kidnap Patrick and take him to their Fairie land under the Elf King Hill. Patrick gets help from a local Irish drunkard, goes and rescues his brother, killing the Fairie King (but not the good Fairie Queen). The Magi bring the gold back, the Fairies disappear to another hill, and they all live happily ever after.

This is more of a horror story than a fantasy - the sick things that are described, and described in far too much detail, shouldn't be on the same shelf as Anne McCaffrey and Tolkien. I particularly didn't like the eight year old changling boy who tried to rape a nurse whilst smearing her with his excrement!. If this was a James Herbert or Stephen King book then perhaps I'd have been ready for that, but I have a feeling that this aspect, and the bad language, will have turned off his main readers.

There is a whole family history for Phil and his extended family that adds very little to the narrative, but lots to the page count. The characters don't behave in a realistic fashion - a son who had a nightmare and screamed for several hours then went into a short coma state, is left alone in his bedroom the very next night. a father who believes a rapist is stalking his daughter, lets her wander about alone in the barn and local woods days after she was attacked.

The slow build up where creepy things begin to happen and gradually get worse provides some spine-tingling moments, but a good editor could easily lop about 1/3 of the book away and retain that but give the reader a much better experience. This is definitely a book for teenagers who want their fiction light and a bit spicy.

I've got 'Magician' on my list of books to read too, which I hope is proper fantasy.

Posted by se71 at October 11, 2005 04:53 PM


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