This YA fantasy, by two contributors to the Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk (2015) short story anthology, features a teenager who doesn’t know that she’s secretly a faerie princess.
High schooler Megan O’Reilly lives with her mother in Seattle. She often wonders about her parents’ earlier lives as rock musicians and about the fact that her father left while she was a baby. She sets timers to remind her throughout the day to take pills for her ADHD, which causes her to furiously doodle. One day, while she’s studying math, her best friend, Lani Kahale, tries to discuss something important with her. Megan puts the conversation off and later finds a crow by her mailbox. Closer inspection reveals that butterfly wings seem to adorn the crow’s back—but they actually belong to a pixie named Ashling. The pixie and her feathered mount, named Count, secretly replaced some of Megan’s medication with vitamin C, making her more receptive to seeing the fae. Megan soon learns that Lani is half Menehune (a Hawaiian gnome) and that her own father, Ric O’Reilly, is the king of the faerie realm. With the additional help of a Satyress named Cassia and a Brownie named Kerr, Megan travels to the court of Queen Orlaith, who recruits her to find the missing Ric and go on a quest to help preserve the seasonal changes on Earth. Cook and Perkins begin this first book of the Fair Folk Chronicles series with steady fantasy beats that should appeal to fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and even older classics, such as T.H. White’s The Once and Future King (1958). The authors provide tight pacing and deft characterization as Megan and her companions—a group that eventually includes a time-lost knight named Justin—survive terrain filled with iron golems and other creatures. Cook and Perkins offer clever, clear fantasy logic; when the Sword of Light, for example, “falls out of use, whatever else happens to it, it always hides itself behind challenges, to make sure its next wielder is worthy of it.” Emotionally, the finale provides a gentle landing, leaving room for complexity to build in subsequent volumes.
A rousing series opener enabled by an adorable cast and a superb trove of faerie folklore.