Book Review of Dark World: The Faerie Games by Michelle Madow
I rate the entire Dark World series as 3 stars out of 4. This series is good, but not outstanding. Fun, but not shocking. I absolutely will download the next book as soon as I can.
So I picked up (clicked on) The Faerie Games because it looked light and fun. I quickly read through it and near the end realized there was no way it was going to end with the last few pages. Sure enough there was a Book Two. Then, Book Three. Luckily, at the end of Book Four when it said “Coming Soon,” it also said “expected in June 2020”, it was 5/29/2020 at the time. I intended to have a light weekend read and instead got pulled into a series for the week! I do read fast and had some extra time that week, but still, you can guess that the books were not deep since I raced through four in a week.
So these books are clearly YA fantasy fiction, one can assume as much by simply looking at the cover. It is well written YA fiction and well edited. The book has solid plotlines, great details, fantastic character development, and plenty of action. On the downside, they are a bit predictable, especially if one has read The Hunger Games series and the several Percy Jackson series. (Is there a correct way to refer to multiple series in one word? There are several series about Percy and each of which is a series so it’s a series of series…) I was bothered a bit by how heavily this series borrows upon The Hunger Games, the several Percy Jackson series, as well as the tv show Big Brother, and a little influence of the show Survivor. It actually wouldn’t have bothered me so much if those works had actually been referenced and credited as influences of the games, after all the Fae are able to travel to Earth. By no means are any ideas unique, and influence can be considered a compliment, but it just seemed a little too predictable and heavy.
The Faerie Games (book 1 of Dark World: The Faerie Games) instantly transports the reader to Avalon and two magical teenage girls. Quickly the setting is built, magic is introduced, and teenagers will be teenagers no matter their location or supernatural powers. Selena and Torrence quickly break the rules of Avalon and switch places to allow Selena to finally leave the magical island. Julian quickly finds Selena and captures her attention. He then captures her further and transports her to the world of the Fae. The reader should be upset at Julian for kidnapping Selena, but there are enough clues that he feels badly about it, that one can’t be mad. Selena soon learns that her whole life has been based upon a lie, and her birth father, a Fae prince, has nominated her for the Faerie Games (insert everything you know about the Hunger Games here, it’s pretty close, even the clothing designers). It may be that Prince Devyn has a higher purpose for potentially risking the life of his daughter, he does have the ability to foresee the future, but will not share any amount of information as that could change the outcomes. Julian ends up in the games, too. And, don’t be surprised but this game that is played until there is only one living winner might just have a love tangle being teased about by the Roman gods. There is also a parallel storyline of four rescuers from Avalon hoping to save their princess.
The Faerie Pawn follows as Book 2. The games continue, and characters develop very believably in this. I continued reading the series because I was invested in the characters, not because I had a doubt about the finale of the games. I especially like the realistic character development as alliances are made and betrayed. This is the book in which we start to see the heavy influence of Percy Jackson as our four Avalon heroes strive to rescue the princess by setting off on a quest. I really wasn’t surprised that The Games didn’t end with Book 2, and I quickly moved onto Book 3.
The Faerie Mates begins with a handy recap of action and characters. I was quickly devouring the books one after another, but when one has a pause between books, this is a very handy feature. The main storylines progress with plenty of action whether it is in the games, or the heroes’ quest to procure special items to be given access to the world of the Fae. The Games are a little predictable, the more interesting action is the quest. The turmoil of nearing the end of the games gives more character growth, and an important element between Julian and Selena is realised. Really this was an obvious thing, but being the omniscient reader and the character in The Games are two very different things. This is the book in which we really get to know the two shapeshifting wolves, the dark mage, and the powerful sorceress as they crusade on their quest. Book 3 ends with a bit of a twist moving away from the expectations I had built from The Hunger Games to a challenge more like one would expect levied at Percy Jackson and Annabeth. You know I had to immediately download Book 4.
The Faerie Wand is the most recently published book as I write this. I hope to update this soon with my opinions of the next book, it should be out this month. Meanwhile, Julian and Selena struggle together. Everything is swimmingly awesome as they are given the challenge of a quest rather than killing each other in the games, but suddenly Julian does some late night reading and is cranky after that. He still professes to feel the same towards Selena, but hurts her or pushes her away daily. Yet, they must rely on each other as they hope to find this elusive Fae wand. I do love the results that they achieve in the far northern settlement.
June 19th is the release date according to Amazon.
I hate reading book reviews that give away the details of the story. It was really hard to write about a whole series without giving away important pieces. So instead of commenting about the books specifically, my question for you is this: Who is your favorite character and why?
I started out, of course, favoring Selena. As the protagonist it is easy to build a relationship with her. However, by the end I really enjoy Reed. He’s moody and quiet (hmm, maybe a kindred spirit) but seems so torn between his true emotions and what he thinks he ought to do. I want to know more about his mage skills, and of course this would also help us get to know Torrence more.
Drop a comment, who is your favorite character and why?