Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Aurelie, A Faerie Tale



Princess Aurelie, Loic the river-drac shapeshifting boy, Garin the foreigner, and Netta the serving girl all played together as children. Loic gifted his friends with the ability to see the magical beings around them, the Fae. His gift can be deadly, though, for if the Fae discover it they will exact terrible prices from the humans.

After a tragic incident in which Netta slips up and loses her sight, the four are forced to split up and go their separate ways. Now, a few years later, they are all young adults with their own agendas. Princess Aurelie wants to stop the brewing war between her country and Garin’s; Netta just wants to be with Loic; Loic has grown powerful but cold in the world of the Fae; and Garin is forced to choose between his love and his country. Meanwhile, someone is pulling all the strings behind two countries on the brink of war, and that someone has a dark plan for the princess, the Fae, and anyone else that gets in her way…

Entertainment: ★★★

There wasn’t anything bad about Aurelie, but there really wasn’t much good either. It was just a bit… bland.

Plot: ★★

First of all, there wasn’t much plot. Until the whole first half of the book had gone by, there was no real villain or antagonist, and all the protagonists just kind of did their own thing. Even once they got their act together (way too far into the story), it wasn’t much of an act. Two boys, two girls, perfectly matched up. There was hardly any romantic tension, and no worrying about who would end up with whom. The villain was fairly obvious, pretty much as soon as they appeared. True, I didn’t guess the big ending, but only because in my opinion the author really didn’t provide enough information or foreshadowing; my immediate reaction was, “Um… what?” And for all that, the climax wasn’t too impressive anyways.

Characters: ★★★★

Here, Aurelie did shine. I liked the take on the Fae; they weren’t the usual, “Humans, but prettier and immortal and environmentally friendly!” No, there were all sorts of different creatures, all quite imaginative. I particularly liked Loic, the river drac; his species was quite interesting.

As individuals, the characters all did fairly well for themselves. My only quibble is that I never felt like they were really in danger; there was a token enemy or peril to face at every turn, of course, but I was never seriously worried that any of them would get anything less than a happy ending.

Writing: ★★★

I disliked the fact that Tomlinson used funny names for her Fae; for example, a weird beastie called the gargouille. I assume this is a play on “Gargoyle,” but it was confusing and complicated. Not the best wordplay ever. Tomlinson also insisted on plenty of other entirely unpronounceable names. Maybe it’s not a direct problem for you if you’re not reading the story out loud, but I like a character whose name I can say without stuttering and mispronuncing it. Aside from this, the writing was quite good, although a little short on description sometimes. Tomlinson did a good job mixing up her characters’ voices; when the narrator switched, I could tell from the change in tone and vocabulary and such, which is always nice.

Overall: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

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