Leo’s (The Old Ways, 1991, etc.) ecological fantasy combines winged faeries, a Romeo and Juliet plotline and a scheme to destroy humanity.
The Earth is the jewel of the Seamless Universe, but it teeters on the brink of natural catastrophe thanks to human greed. Invisible faeries control the forces of nature, but they’re divided in their mission. Some wish to prevent disasters, while others wish to destroy humanity. The novel examines these nonhuman cultures, describing their world and conflicts and setting the stage for a series of sequels. The two pro-human societies of winged faeries—the coastal Tureg and the grasslands Candela—have feuded for eons despite their shared goal of protecting mankind. Their dissension permits humanity to bring their “garden,” the planet Earth, to the brink of destruction. A third group of faeries, the wingless and secretive Dantorak, worsen things by working to sabotage the human race. With faerie conflicts escalating, Bret the Tureg and Andrielle the Candela fall in love, though fellow Tureg Jondett already loves Bret, and they must struggle to bring their people together and thwart the evil subterranean Dantorak. These intricate plotlines raise, but don’t answer, many questions. The novel pays good attention to the natural world, from vivid descriptions of wilderness settings to a sense of the cycle of life. The workings of the faerie world are heavily detailed, including odd, evocative touches, such as the fact that some faeries are the living memories of recently expired infants: “Quinn began as an ephemeral from a live baby whose parents so greatly loved her as she expired from a fatal defective heart that the fey decided to continue with her name.” Most characters are thin but serviceable, as with the Bret-Andrielle-Jondett triangle, which is touching but somewhat standard for the genre.
A mildly appealing YA fantasy with rich settings but lightly drawn characters; principally a stage-setter for future books in a series.