Review Blog

Jun 24 2011

Faerie winter by Janni Lee Simner

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Random House Australia, 2011. ISBN 9781742750682.
(Age 13+) Recommended. In this sequel to the thrilling dystopian novel, Bones of faerie, comes a dark tale of survival as Simner relates the story of how Liza and Matthew must survive in a land that is dying. Liza is a summoner who can both draw life to herself and drive life away. When winter crops won't grow and with starvation imminent, Liza must fight the evil deep in the forest to save her community.
Set against a background of a winter that doesn't seem to end and dying crops, Simner has created a frightening look at a land that has been devastated by people. Add to this the aftermath of a war with the faeries and children, the Afters, who have emerging magic and you have a fascinating world that drew me in again as I followed the plight of Liza as she grew into her power.
This is a survival story, where Liza is required to learn to use her magic to overcome the plants and animals that attack people. Not only is nature turning against her, but she draws the attention of a strong magical faerie, Elin who is stealing young children. Elin is related to The Lady, who attacks Liza when she tries to stop the children being stolen. However Liza has developed into a strong and determined young woman who is not afraid to use her magic and wield her powers to keep her friends alive. The Lady is a terrifying entity and her battles with Liza are frightening. I had to continue reading as it was never certain who would win the hearts of the young boys, Johnny and Kyle, and whether Liza herself would be skilful enough to stay alive. Even Matthew in his wolf form is threatened by the vast strength of the faerie.
Often a harrowing story, with death, disaster and children, changed by magic, performing violent acts, Faerie winter is ultimately very satisfying with a conclusion that brings hope. It is one of the better books in the dystopian/faerie genre.
Pat Pledger

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