2011; 264 pages. New Author? : Yes. Book #1 (out of 6) of the Caledonia Fae series. Genre : Urban Fantasy. Overall Rating : 7½*/10.
Even from her high perch in the steeple of St. Paul’s church, the exiled faerie Eilidh heard the scream. It came from the sidewalk below her, and sounded like someone was having his/her heart ripped out.
That’s because someone was having his heart ripped out. And judging from the residual scent, another faerie did this. Which means the (human) police detectives won’t have a clue as to how to solve the murder.
But the really weird thing is that one of the detectives can “feel” Eilidh’s presence. Humans aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
What’s To Like...
Blood Faerie is set in Perth, Scotland, which seems to have been India Drummond’s stomping grounds at one point or another. This gives the setting a “real” feel, instead of reading like something out of Wikipedia or a travelogue.
The characters are well developed, and there are both good and evil faeries, which is a refreshing change. The magic also comes in good and evil flavors, which I liked. There are also Druids, and that’s always a plus with me. Although exiled years ago from the Faerie Kingdom (the “Otherworld”), Eilidh thus far has had very little interaction with humans, and that makes for some humorous culture gaffes.
There’s enough Romance to attract female readers, but it doesn’t steal the show from the fantasy and murder-solving aspects, so male readers will keep reading too. The ending completes the main storyline, while also setting up Eilidh and Quinton to continue having adventures throughout the rest of the series.
Physically, the Faeries reminded me of Legolas and the LOTR elves. There are also a couple nods to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Faeries can be "severed" from their magic (“stilled” in WoT). Alternatively, they can “bind” with a Druid (“warders” in WoT). But this doesn’t really detract from the India Drummond's world-building.
Other than one character’s last name morphing from “Dewer” to “Dewar”, the editing is quite well done.
Kewlest New Word. . .
Skive (v.) : To avoid work or a duty by staying away or leaving early. To shirk. A Britishism. Here, “Gordon eyed him suspiciously. Maybe the young PC thought he was skiving.”
“I do not cast the azure. I told you that.”
“Yet you say you could not sever yourself from it.”
“I am what I am. My crime was being born.”
“Self-pity does not suit you. You have grown thin of heart.”
“And you are as self-congratulating as ever, Saor. Go. The Otherworld calls. I have not grown so thin that I cannot hear it.” (loc. 820)
“I cannot teach you everything you need to know, but I can give you a small chance. I wish you had come here decades ago. Even a year or a month would have made an enormous difference. I will try, but I cannot guarantee you will be prepared for what we are about to face, or that we two even stand a chance. There is some good news though.”
“I would like to hear some good news,” Eilidh said with a wry smile. (loc. 2582)
ANAICT, Blood Faerie is always a free download at Amazon. At present, the other five books in the series range in price from $3.99 to $4.49, which seems quite reasonable.
”Can’t get much more personal than ripping someone’s heart out.” (loc. 203)
The writing in the first part of Blood Faerie is excellent, but beginning with a trip up to Skye, we start to get more telling and less showing, and the story’s tension starts to wilt. This culminates in a somewhat flat ending, where several characters are summarily killed off with little drama.
The storytelling could use some tightening up too. The first victim is initially seen walking with a woman, but is all alone a short time later when subjected to the open-heart surgery. Was the female companion really needed? Similarly, it is a bit too convenient for the murder to occur right beneath Eilidh, and for some exiled (and supposedly in hiding) faeries to be nearby, with just the training Eilidh needs.
But these are minor and fixable. Overall, this is a good introduction to the series, and a satisfying read for anyone who likes their Urban Fantasy with tinges of both Humor and Darkness in it.
7½ Stars. Add 1 star if you’re just fine with "convenient coincidences" if they keep the plotline moving at a crisp pace.