In this second volume of a YA fantasy series, two heroines return to the Faery Realm to confront both personal and Court-threatening demons.
High school seniors Alexis Dearborn and Molly Connolly have recently returned from the Faery Realm. Alexis is now dating Keir, prince of the Dark Court, while Molly has broken up with Dax, an obsessive incubus. As Halloween rolls around, the girls attend a party at their friend Cassi’s house. Molly hopes to move past her previous abusive relationship by joining her biology classmate Dave at the party. But Dax won’t be forgotten. He starts leaving presents for Molly in intrusive ways, like pastries on her doorstep and a musical figurine in her room. He even accosts her in her dreams. Meanwhile, in the Faery Realm, the Solitaries—rogue fae who have renounced their Court affiliations and become feral—are a growing menace. The Courts plan to convene and decide how to handle the Solitaries, and Queen Tynan, Keir’s mother, has summoned Alexis to a private audience. Later, when Dax magically robs Dave of his personality, Molly is determined to face her emotionally manipulative ex-boyfriend and restore her classmate. Yet the girls may not be prepared for all the secrets they’re still to uncover in the Faery Realm. In this expansive sequel, Ridge (Between Worlds, 2017, etc.) delivers broader dangers and a more inclusive cast. She depicts the Solitaries as a horde of furred, scaled mutations. A more refined fright comes from those of the Unseelie Court, who dress in gothic flair and pierce themselves with iron jewelry. Most noteworthy is Ridge’s introduction of Lark, a nonbinary elf who uses them/their/they pronouns. Lark proves integral to the plot, which contrasts the elf with another character, who comes out of the closet only to stand on the sidelines. Ridge injects humor whenever possible, like Alexis’ Tinker Bell Halloween costume, balancing the severity of Molly and Dax’s storyline. His role as the controlling boyfriend is exceptionally rendered, effectively popping out of the fantasy backdrop. This second volume also successfully establishes a major villain to battle in the third installment.
Another strong dose of supernatural drama, with a pleasantly diverse cast.