A bookish sprite sets off on a quest for a new home and finds far more than she bargains for in Etter’s solo debut, a fantasy romp.
When the not-so-bright sprites of Pleasant Hollow misguidedly burn down both Shade Glitterdemalion’s home and, more importantly, her library, Shade, in a very un-spritely burst of anger, storms off to find a new home, surrounded by books in a fabled place called a library. But outside of Pleasant Hollow, the realm is steeped in the tension of an uneasy truce between the warring good and evil fairies, and as Shade cautiously journeys to the only independent library that may have survived the last war, she encounters many fairy creatures who are just as out of place and dreadful at being proper fairies as she is. With an exasperated narrator who would much prefer a story whose fairies and plots behave the way they ought and with characters that not only question, but outright shatter the status quo to embrace difference, Etter offers readers a rich world of complexity and moral ambiguity as Shade navigates loss, betrayal, magic, and friendship in pursuit of the wonders of books and self-love. It’s difficult to give Etter credit for diverse racial representation in a world of multihued nonhuman creatures; nevertheless, this chubby brown protagonist full of flaws and wit and heart is quite welcome.
For bibliophiles (and bibliothecaphiles) and all those who step expectantly into mushroom rings. (Fantasy. 9-13)