A middle-grade fantasy sequel strives for lyricism but has to settle for earnestness.
After Fer defeated the wicked, usurping Mór, she felt connected to the Summerlands, her mother’s magical domain, as Lady. Now she must confirm her claim in a series of contests or risk being barred from the enchanted realms forever. But the High Ones hold the half-human Fer in contempt, and they despise her best friend, the puck Rook, for the treacherous ways of his kind. Fer is determined to prove herself a worthy Lady; Rook, however, is equally set on demonstrating that no puck can be tamed. While this title shows flashes of the same quiet depth and lovely imagery of its predecessor (Winterling, 2012), it mostly adheres to clichéd fairy-tale formulas that promote simplistic morality. Fer becomes a less compelling heroine, displaying a naïveté that turns “compassion” and “trust” into demonstrable irresponsibility and stupidity; moreover, for all her professed acknowledgment of cultural differences between worlds, she not only stubbornly insists on the superiority of her own values, but eventually imposes them on others by force.
A disappointment; but the beauty of the Summerlands and the graceful prose that captures it still bring hope for further books in the series. (Fantasy. 10-14)