Foul is Fair (Book 1 The Fair Folk Chronicles)
Summary: Lots of girls play Fairy Princess when they’re little. Megan O’Reilly had no idea the real thing was like playing chess, guitar, and hockey all at once. Megan had known for a long time that she wasn’t an entirely typical girl. But living with ADHD—and her mother’s obsessions—was a very different thing from finding out she wasn’t entirely human. Somewhere out there, in a completely different world, her father needs help. There’s a conflict, revolving around Faerie seasonal rituals, that could have consequences for humanity—and if Megan’s getting the terminology straight, it sounds like her family aren’t even supposed to be the good guys. As she’s further and further swept up in trying to save her father, Megan may be getting too good at not being human. (via Amazon)
Foul is Fair’s magical realm is a mixture of Hawaiian and Celtic Mythology, something that has been increasingly intriguing to me as of late, and so, when I found this book, I couldn’t resist picking it up.
- World Building: The authors’ do a wonderful job of fusing the two different mythologies into one enthralling realm, and I applaud their creativity. I did not know much about Hawaiian myths before I read this book, and Megan’s story was enough to pique my interest, though the overall concept seems to lean more heavily toward the Celtic/Irish myths. Namely, the Sidhe, which are a type of Celtic faerie. Other mythologies, like Greek, are mentioned as well, but they aren’t heavily included in this particular realm, for which I’m glad. Two mythologies intertwining is more than enough to make an interesting magic system, in my opinion.
- Pace: The action starts off fairly quickly in this book, which I think will keep younger readers interested. Nothing ever stays the same for too long, and the constant movement serves the quest aspect of this novel quite well.
I found it extremely difficult to connect to the main characters for two reasons
- Point of View:The narrative is presented in third person P.O.V, which, while it allows for the action to progress nicely, does not provide the reader with the ability to care about any of the characters. The very first sentence of the book is, “Lani may have been saying something about ‘A matter of life and death,’ but Megan couldn’t hear her for sure over her medical timer.” (Cook and Perkins 1). Ordinarily, such a running start would’ve had me on the edge of my seat. There is so much that could be done with a beginning like that, and yet, the only thing we as readers get to see is a girl interested in keeping her routine and controlling her ADHD symptoms. The purpose of this portion of the story is to illustrate the sameness of Megan’s life prior to being thrown into the world of the Sidhe. It accomplishes this perfectly, but doing so in third person made her seem rather one-note until the action began and more about her family was revealed.
- Character Development: As it stands, even though the story was solid, the lack of emotional depth to the characters left little to be desired. Megan finds out that her dad– a dad who happens to be a whole other species, thus altering her genetic makeup, world, and destiny, is missing, and simply asks what she has to do with it. There is no room for shock, no disbelief, no indication that she has any desire to hang onto the only life she’s ever known up until this point. She just accepts that everything is real and asks what she has to do to complete the quest. If this was a book for younger children, like elementary or middle grade level, I wouldn’t be as bothered by this. Younger children have an easier time believing in the impossible, but high schoolers have seen more of the world, so I expected more of an emotional upheaval, or at least some shift in how she perceived the world, and the lack thereof left me struggling to relate to her as a person.
Overall: 3.5/5 stars. Recommended for those in late elementary school, early middle school. I think they will enjoy it a lot for it’s adventurous spirit and fast pace. Also for fans of Jeffrey Cook’s previous works.
Book Recommendation: Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Summary: Laurel discovers she is a faerie, sent among humans to protect the gateway to Avalon. Thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she’s torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to each world. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.(Summmary from http://www.aprilynnepike.com/)