Phew! What a rip-roaring ride that was! I first read The Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan several years ago and loved it so much I had to run out and buy The Purple Emperor. Flash forward: I totally forgot about the series after that. It tends to happen. I mean, in the case of some stories, years pass before the next installment is released. Who has time to keep up with that? I need to be notified when the next book comes out, dammit! So it wasn’t until I was sorting through the IMMENSE pile of books in my living room that I rediscovered the treasure that is the Faerie Wars Chronicles. And a few days later, I had the next three books waiting for me at the library.
The series follows a handful of characters:
- Henry–a British teenager with a crappily mundane life.
- Mr. Fogarty–Henry’s grouchy old ex-bank robber neighbor.
- Pyrgus Malvae–Crown Prince of the Faerie Realm
- Holly Blue–Princess of the Faerie Realm (Pyrgus’ little sister)
- Lord Black Hairstreak–To put it simply…The bad guy. (He’s the one messing up everyone’s plans for 5 different books…)
There really are too many to name, but the gist of the story is that Henry rescues a “butterfly” from the mouth of Mr. Fogarty’s old cat, Hodge. It turns out that this is actually Crown Prince Pyrgus, next in line to rule the Faerie Realm. This starts Henry off on a journey that will change his destiny forever. Will he stay in the Analogue World (with the boring humans) or decide to forsake the mediocre life that is expected of him? Hmm… Spineless dad and newly-out lesbian mom or fame in fortune in another (much more awesome) world? Hmmm… I wonder which I would choose. Henry finds danger, adventure, new friends (and enemies), as well as love and sorrow in the Realm. Not to mention that he is now involved in one of the biggest and most lethal wars the faeries have ever seen.
TFWC spans several years, and I actually really like how Brennan laid it all out. Henry pops in and out of the Realm multiple times, it frequently being a couple years in between visits. I liked that because it seems as though most series revolve around one major event that takes place in a few days or weeks versus years. The Faeman Quest actually takes place 15 years after The Faerie Lord. That means we follow Henry, Blue, and Pyrgus from their teens to their early thirties. It was interesting to watch how the passage of time changed the characters (or didn’t change them at all in Pyrgus’ case!)
Also, Brennan definitely knows how to keep someone turning the pages. Each chapter tends to be quite short but each ends in a cliff-hanger, moving the story along quickly (and seemingly effortlessly). That being said, I wasn’t necessarily a fan of Brennan’s method. The way the chapters were organized made the story flip back and forth between the viewpoints of every main character–which gave the story much more range–but it also made it difficult to remember who was doing what when you got back to their chapter. I give him mad props for being able to keep track of that many people, though.
I think that TFWC is one of those series that appeals to a large audience. It just has SO much in it. There are aliens, demons, wars, time travel, inter-dimensional travel, good faeries, bad faeries, political intrigue, and even a little romance for the ladies… *wink wink* It truly is staggering as to how Brennan came up with such an unconventional take on Faeries (because these are definitely not the Brian Froud kind…) and at the same time managed to create such an elaborate world.
I really thought that the 5th book would be the last, but the way it was set up definitely leaves room for more dastardly deeds, demonology, alien abductions, and runaway cross-dressing princesses.
Find it. Read it. Love it.
5 glue factory kittens out of 5