A coming-of-age fantasy novel set in modern times from debut author Kennedy.
Elli Foote knows she’s got it differently than the average teen. Her complex home life in the sprawling Foote Manor involves mysterious servants, an eccentric geologist father, a far-from-nuclear family and schooling from “the very best tutors” in an extensive list of subjects. What Elli hasn’t known prior to her 16th birthday, however, is that she’s much more than a girl with a peculiar background—she’s an elf. She learns that fact along with words of caution and a prophecy: “You’ve been hunted since the day you were born, hunted for what you are and for what was born into this world with you.” When Elli was born, “the gates of two prisons at opposite poles were opened, and the fairies and wizards were released after more than ten thousand years in captivity.” Due to a special stone Elli possessed at birth (and still holds close), she’s targeted by these fairies and wizards while simultaneously being the only hope for the survival of her race. What follows is an adventure full of magic, curses, dreams and a variety of supernatural creatures. As Elli comes to terms with her new fate as an elf and a figure of prophecy, she confronts not only self-discovery but survival. Slowed by periods of overexplaining—the nature of Elli’s complex family life includes such minutiae as the fact that the cooking is very good at Foote Manor, a detail mentioned more than once—the story feels a bit lengthy even by fantasy standards. Though much of the novel is overflowing with characters steeped in fantasy tropes, Elli emerges as a compelling heroine. Explanations of her complex world can be clunky, but her mission takes on an air of excitement as she establishes herself beyond many of the genre’s clichés.
An intriguing portrayal of a 16-year-old elf, if readers can get through large blocks of exposition.