by Herbie Brennan
Book Four of the Faerie Wars Chronicles begins when a fairy princess named Blue asks a mortal boy named Henry to marry her. And it totally freaks him out.
Life is complicated enough for Henry Atherton. His childhood best friend has a crush on him. His weak but nice father has a new girlfriend and doesn't have much time for him. His will and ambition are continually squashed by his snotty sister, his bossy mother, and her lesbian girlfriend. Three girls against one guy: Henry doesn't have a chance. Trapped by guilt and self-doubt, he has a vague, unfulfilling future ahead of him. But he's afraid to let go of it. And on some level, perhaps, he realizes that he doesn't have what it takes to reign beside the queen of the Faerie Realm, who also happens to be the queen of Hael (hell). No matter how much he loves her, Henry just isn't ready.
Two years later, however, a lot has changed. Queen Blue has grown into the power and majesty of her office. The demons of Hael have been liberated from enslavement, as Blue continues to pull together a new order in which Light and Dark Faeries, as well as her new demon subjects, form an integrated society. Her nemesis, Lord Hairstreak, has fallen on hard times. Henry is about to go off to University, and isn't sure he can take care of Mr. Fogarty's house and cat while the old ex-bank robber serves as Gatekeeper to the Faerie Realm. And now a plague has struck.
The temporal fever is a weird plague. It doesn't spread like a normal disease. It strikes young and old alike, making them age faster, eating up their future as their bodies pass through time on fast-forward. Henry's best friend, Blue's brother Pyrgus, has it. Mr. Fogarty is dying of it. And a strange prophecy suggests that Henry may find the cure for it... but only after going through an ordeal that could claim his life.
Henry, his friends, and their enemies are all
caught up in yet another complex web of plots, adventures, death traps, and struggles against mythical figures, ghastly monsters, and powers of heaven and hell. Henry journeys through strange countries, befriends weird and whimsical creatures, talks to a voice from beyond, and undertakes not one but two quests. His courage, strength, and love for Blue are all put to the test as they both rush toward the climax in which, by saving each other, they may save the world.
This is a fitting conclusion to a series full of dark horror, sparkling magic, thrills, romance, and surprises galore. Both Henry and Blue have grown up a lot since they first met in Faerie Wars. Their growth as characters, and the development of their relationship, finally fulfills its promise here. In fact, until partway through this book, one may find it hard to see what Blue sees in Henry. As the narrative jumps from one character's point of view to another, you will constantly be on the hook of suspense. And the ultimate riddle will keep you puzzling till the very end.
Herbie Brennan, also known as J. H. Brennan, is the author of dozens of books, including children's picture books, horror novels, the eight-book Grail Quest series, and many non-fiction volumes on the occult.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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