In this teen fantasy debut, a college student learns of her Faery heritage and the consequences.
Cassie Marshall, a freshman at Chico State University, just turned 19. Though she’s a studious introvert with a bookstore job, her friends Becca and Miguel can usually persuade her to socialize. Recently, Cassie’s also been suffering nightmares in which she’s hunted through a dark forest by a murderous creature. On the plus side, at her bookstore she meets fellow student Dom Black, who’s charming and has golden rings around his pupils. While he courts her gently but persistently, Cassie’s dreams start taking her somewhere peaceful—a beach surrounded by trees, mountains, and two moons. In this vivid realm, she meets the gorgeous Aleksander, who explains that he is her Caomhnoir—her guardian—while she’s in the Faery kingdom of Otherworld. Further, Cassie is a Siofra—a Fae spirit that’s been born into a human body. By her next birthday, she must choose to remain mortal or join the Fae and become a protector of the Dreaming, where human souls are vulnerable. Cassie is already torn between her loving family and Aleksander when King Oberon and Queen Titania warn her that a shape-shifting Erlking (or elf) is “on the loose, and until it is found and destroyed any undeclared Siofra is in danger.” Cassie risks her soul being swallowed if she doesn’t choose between worlds soon. In her romantic and pop-culture-savvy debut, author Wilburn nails down the complex emotional situations that come with entering adulthood: “I had always let [mom] make my choices for me and now that I had to do it for myself, I didn’t know how.” Elsewhere, readers are treated to some sexy moments, as when one of Cassie’s lovers “ran his lips over my face, over my jaw and to my ear, his teeth nipping gently.” Wilburn’s prose, though mostly graceful, is peppered with typos that an editor’s final sweep would catch: “She sat on the army of his recliner.” A clever, rule-bending twist at the end should summon fans back to the Fae court for the sequel.
The emotionally charged start to an engaging new series.