Debutante-turned–savage fae-killer Aileana might finally get it on with her faery lover in this revelation-rich middle volume.
Though May cranks up the steam with a mix of increasingly passionate snogging and coyly interrupted words (“I’m quite fond of fu-”), it’s the gushes of blood and violence that keep her tale sliding along. With help from new ally Aithinne, smoldering fae Kiaran’s half-mad twin sister, Aileana escapes from her vampiric baobhan sìth captor, Lonnrach, and fights her way across now-ruined Scotland to join her human friends in hiding. Amid gore-spattered attacks, chases, and torture (someone is always bleeding), revelations about her lover’s dark past and encounters with the dying Cailleach, oldest fae of all, lead up to what would seem to be a decisive victory for Lonnrach and his monstrous hordes. But wait! There’s still a certain ancient lost book that might save the day. Though not as obviously derivative here as with trilogy opener Falconer (2014), the author continues to plug in familiar teen-fantasy tropes as she sets up a coming desperate struggle for the survival of both the fae and mundane realms. Thank goodness the scene-stealing pixie Derrick is still providing comic relief: “He left his scent all over you like piss on a tree.” A helpful “Bestiary” of the hard-to-pronounce fae cast is appended.
Dark, heavy, comfortably familiar reading for nonventuresome fans of the genre. (Fantasy. 13-17)