Publication date: 4th February 2008
Published by: Bloomsbury
Genre: Fantasy (Children / YA)
I found the Faerie Wars to be a fun read from the start. The story begins with Henry Atherton a boy in his early teens who is not having an easy time at home. His younger sister is a spoiled brat who enjoys tormenting him and he has just discovered that his parents’ marriage is falling apart. It is during the school holidays and Henry spends his days working for an old aged pensioner named Mr Fogarty, which is a welcome escape.
Mr Fogarty is known to be strange. He believes in faeries (although he has never seen one), aliens and is big on conspiracy theories. Henry takes it all with a pinch of salt until he discovers a tiny winged creature in Mr Fogarty’s garden that looks very much like a miniature boy of about his age - with wings. Henry soon realises he has come across a faerie and takes him to Mr Fogarty.
The faerie found in the garden is Pyrgus Malvae, Crown Prince of the Faerie Realm. He was transported to the analogue world (our world) to be safe from those who are conspiring to kill him. Unfortunately, the portal he was sent through was sabotaged and he ended up in the wrong place and in miniature form. He convinces Henry and Mr Fogarty to help him to return home because his father the Purple Emperor, ruler of the Faeries of the Light, is in danger. The story moves to the Faerie Realm where we discover Holly Blue, Pyrgus’ sister. She dabbles in magic and has a network of spies that help her know what is going on in the realm and the dangers that fall on her brother Pyrgus and her father. We also learn about the enemy, Lord Hairstreak, ruler of the Faeries of the Night, and the demons who are plotting to bring down the Purple Emperor.
I loved this book. I found Henry’s back story about his dysfunctional family refreshing and entertaining and it was a nice contrast to the fantasy elements. It was both comical and entertaining throughout with strong characters, my favourite being Mr Fogarty who on the surface appears to be a miserable old man, but has some interesting skeletons in his closet and hidden depths. I also liked Blue as she is wiser than her years and a true heroine.
The style of this novel reminded me of a combination of Terry Prachett’s Disc World series and Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials – both huge favourites of mine. Although aimed at children it is by no means patronising and can be enjoyed at any age.