When a man-people moves into the old cottage in the woods, Wicked Nix isn’t happy.
Having been given temporary responsibility for the forest, Wicked Nix is afraid that when the Good Queen returns from the Summer Country, she’ll be angry to see a people living in the woods. That’s not allowed, according to fairy rule. And if the Good Queen is angry at Wicked Nix, she might leave him behind again when all the other fairies go to the Summer Country at next Midsummer, like she did last year. So Wicked Nix sets to work trying to trick the man-people into leaving, using ideas inspired by his friends Mr. Green and Rose the Wise, a little girl-people with “strange and amazing powers.” But as Wicked Nix learns more about the man-people, he begins to suspect all is not what it seems. Coakley offers up a secretive tale with an abundance of turns and surprises, illustrated with Zollars’ black-and-white sketches (in which Rose the Wise presents black and the man-people and Wicked Nix have pale skin). The worldbuilding in this short tale occasionally feels forced and at times inconsistent, but readers pulled in by the premise will enjoy puzzling through unreliable-narrator Wicked Nix’s mysteries.
This dark twist on the old legend of stolen children is a spooky, compelling read. (Fantasy. 8-12)