For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. The story begins towards the end of a particularly hot summer at a quaint small-town setting, with Eloise and her friends standing outside a little local ice cream parlour when a boy dressed in medieval attire with a sword at his side kneels at Eloise’s feet. Her entire life, Eloise has tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible, so, naturally, she has no idea how to react when he tells her that she is in danger and vows to protect her against the danger posed by Lord Strahan, the Faery King, who wants to use Eloise as a pawn in his battle to hold onto his crown. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he turned power hungry and refused to comply, causing chaos to threaten both worlds.
The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife… Eloise's aunt Antonia. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery, and finds out that everything her gorgeous protector Lucas told her is true. When Eloise’s aunt comes to her aid, Strahan captures her in a desperate attempt to get rid of the only threat to his reign. Together with her best friends – boy crazy Jo and geeky Devin - she must forge alliances with other Fae and defeat Strahan once and for all.
Harvey finds places in the plot to tease us with romantic moments between Eloise and Lucas, only to have them interrupted by Eloise’s friends. And of course, who could forget Strahan’s mysterious son Eldric, who arrives on the scene as a dark and handsome stranger and sweeps Jo off her feet. He’s quite an enigmatic figure and it’s impossible to know whether or not he can be trusted at the beginning of the book, but as his character is gradually developed, we learn more about him and his own family history. Jo and Eldric seem drawn to each other and although her friends don’t trust Eldric, Jo finds herself quickly falling for him. The question is, can he be relied upon to catch her?
I love the way Alyxandra Harvey painted such vivid pictures of the people and places using lyrical descriptions in a way that made me feel like I was stepping into a painting as it came to life around me. My favourite descriptions were the passages detailing the various places in Faery, from breath-taking palaces to ghastly prisons, as well as the perfectly crafted visual of the final battle.
The excessive beauty and luxuriousness of the world of Faery is drawn with sweeping, colorful words, describing tables heavily laden with delicacies and the exquisite, handmade furniture and ceilings that offer a view of whimsical artistry. “We went up rough steps carved into the earth, the walls and ceiling turning into a complicated weave of tree roots and little yellow flowers.” It also wasn’t hard to imagine the climactic battle with Harvey’s colourful descriptions. Blood and feathers flew, tears fell, secrets were revealed and characters seized perfect opportunities to do something dramatic.
Be prepared to fall in love with the entertaining characters and the curious yet stunning world that Harvey introduces you to. She has managed to weave a captivating story of love, humour and mystery amidst the faerie realm and had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page.