Even a fairy princess can have a dreadful childhood.
Jess—superskinny, foulmouthed, friendless—lives in poverty with her helpless, alcoholic mum. She thinks of herself as a weird loner who’s allergic to metal and processed foods, but maybe there’s a reason for her strangeness. A sexually violent encounter makes Jess lash out with a shocking mystical power. The old homeless man who sleeps under the bridge reveals all: Jess is a winged faery changeling, and he’s a faery lord who’s been protecting her from the grotesque tortures and grisly deaths of Faery. Myriad muddled plot threads come together. There’s the dorky artist from a psychologically abusive home, the long-lost great-grandmother on a faery-infested estate, and the solitary fey who nursemaids a forbidden human changeling. This last is the only brown-skinned character of note in a world where the highest-ranking fey are “a ravishing beauty [with] milk-white skin” or “pale and softly glowing with rainbow-tinted glimmers, like a pearl.” Clumsy prose mars the slow-moving whole, though Jess, rough-edged and short-tempered, is compelling enough to keep the overwritten pages turning. The most appealing secondary characters are dropped halfway through, while one clearly important secondary character is barely introduced, presumably left for a second volume.
Packed with dense maunderings, this out-of-control tome might appeal to readers of slow-moving fairy stories aimed at adults—but likely won’t. (Fantasy. 15-adult)