Review: The Autumn Fairy

I took a break from the many fairy tale adaptations I've been reviewing lately to read The Autumn Fairy by Brittany Fichter. Brittany has a fairy tale adaptation collection of her own called The Classical Kingdoms Collection, but it's also refreshing to see an original story for a change. I first learned about Brittany's work at the Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook. She contributed An Unnatural Beanstalk to the Entwined Tales series, which is a retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk." So far, the only book I've read from the series is A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling. I was excited to learn that Brittany is working on a trilogy about a fairy since adult books about fairies or faery princesses are something of a rarity these days.

The Autumn Fairy starts out a little rough due to the lack of a proper introduction to the setting. However, Katy is such an empathetic character that it's hard not to become hooked despite knowing so little about her at first. When I finished the book, I learned there is a prologue available online that contains a better explanation of Katy's past, but it was unfortunately cut from the final draft in favor of making it more of a mystery. There also wasn't much magic at the beginning of the book, but Katy's powers grew gradually throughout the story along with the magic in the world around her. Katy, which is short for Katrin, grew up like a normal human even though she didn't know where she came from or why she had powers. Until she was twelve, she had the support of her childhood friend Peter to keep her mind off such things. After Peter left her for eight years, Katy was alone and frightened of the dangerous magic inside of her and what it might do to those around her.

Though it was an original story, the book reminded me of several movies I've seen, such as Disney's Frozen, the Ah! My Goddess anime movie, and the Broadway show Wicked. It is a beautiful amalgamation of many different things that I love, but it is also surprisingly human. Unlike the issues I have had with many of K.M. Shea's books where the characters appear to have no emotions, Katy is painfully easy to relate to. Katy is afraid of her powers and tries to suppress them like Elsa from Frozen. Peter goes up against powerful forces to protect her despite being a mere human who seems to have no chance against such strong magic like Keiichi does for Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess: The Movie. Like Elphaba in Wicked, Katy is ostracized by the general populace and made out to be a villain because of the abilities that she was born with and never asked for. Despite the strong will she had as a child, it's hard for her to not let them get to her. Katy often prays to her god when she finds herself in situations that seem hopeless. She goes through so many internal and external struggles throughout the course of the story that it is very difficult to put the book down and suppress the desire to find out if she and Peter will turn out okay.

The relationship between Katy and Peter is one of the most touching love stories I have ever read. Their love is constantly put to the test. They nearly give up so many times that the fleeting moments they have together felt incredibly rewarding. Their eight-year separation takes such a large toll on both of them both mentally and physically that is clear they cannot be their best selves unless they are together. Peter makes many sacrifices to be with Katy and finds her again just when she had lost hope. They both consider settling for other people at certain points in the story because there are too many forces trying to keep them apart because of the circumstances of their birth that neither of them had control over. However, as well all know, true love always comes through in the end. Peter plays just as large of a role in the story as Katy does, so his character never falls flat like many animated princes do. It's touching how much torment he goes through to protect Katy.

The Autumn Fairy also had one of the best fantasy villains I've ever seen. Tearlach, who is the same species a Katy, comes up with a brilliantly wicked plan to use her to do his bidding. She comes dangerously close to succumbing to it. Though he does toy with her emotions many times like Hans from Frozen, he is a much stronger character and a very formidable enemy for Peter. Near the climax of the story, he seems to have become so powerful that any chance of a happy ending seems virtually nonexistent. It was a truly epic battle of good vs. evil, but without any of the clich├ęs you would find in that sort of story. It hits a lot closer to home when so much of the darkness they are trying to defeat comes from within Katy herself. There is never a dull moment in this book, which is quite impressive considering its length.

Brittany Fichter is still working on the next book in The Autumn Fairy trilogy, and I am very eager to read it. It promises even more fantasy and romance than the first one. Anyone who loves fairy tales but wants to read something original should definitely check out The Autumn Fairy. Though it's not a quick read, it is packed with suspense and emotion. For more stories about faeries, check out the book I wrote a few years ago, Rebirth: A Faery's Tale. It is about a fire faery who falls in love with a blacksmith and struggles with how she can get near him without burning him. Writing it helped me get through a difficult time in my life. Happy reading!


Unknown said…
LOVE that cover! I must get a copy!

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