by Delia Sherman
Recommended Ages: 10+
This tale was written to disprove a theory, voiced by another fantasy author, that fairies never live in big cities. Delia Sherman grew up in New York City, and she knows as well as anyone who has ever visited the Big Apple that it is a magical place. If anything, it has more fairy folk per square mile than the average, in proportion to its higher population density. And since the mortals who dwell in the "New York Outside" (that's our world) come from all over the world, the fairy realm known as "New York Between" is similarly cosmopolitan. Beautiful or ugly, naughty or nice, there are so many varieties of Folk in the city that you'll really need the glossary at the end of the book.
Sherman developed this idea through several short stories before bringing it to bear on the novel. It's really a powerful idea, too: more convincing than the Mannahatta of Scott Mebus's Gods of Manhattan
, more family-friendly (and less tongue-in-cheek) than Shanna Swendson's Enchanted, Inc.
, it forms the basis of a unique, urban fairy tale that will please folklore fans of all ages. Although the idea of magic existing in New York City isn't unique in and of itself, I know of no other author who has transplanted such a melting pot of "old country" magic onto New World soil, keeping its original character while adapting it successfully to its new home.
In the New York Between, Manhattan has been divided up between "Geniuses": powerful fairies who control particular areas. For example, our heroine, a mortal changeling named Neef, has grown up under the protection of the Genius of Central Park, also known as the Green Lady. In her quest, she meets other Geniuses, including the Mermaid Queen of New York Harbor, the Producer of Broadway, and the Dragon of Wall Street. She also meets her double, a fairy changeling who was swapped with Neef as a small child and raised by Neef's mortal parents.
Together, Neef and Changeling undertake three seemingly impossible tasks in order to get back into the Green Lady's good books and restore everything to the way it should be. It starts when Neef breaks a magical rule she didn't know about. Faced with a choice between being banished from the Park and being eaten by the Wild Hunt, she chooses a third option and goes on a quest. She mingles with selkie harbor cops, vampire actors, stockbroker dwarves and kobolds, the odd fictional character, and a whole roomful of bogeymen. She crosses paths with spirits from Asian, European, and uniquely American folklore, surviving by sheer chutzpah and the surprising usefulness of her fairy double. And she provides an entertainment full of laughs, changes of scenery, and familiar fairy-tale beings and plot devices transformed in surprising ways. New York is transformed, too. You may never look at it the same way again.
For more information on this talented and award-winning author, visit her website
. Several of her stories have been published in anthologies, including The Faery Reel, The Green Man,
and The Coyote Road
. Some of her other novels are Through a Brazen Mirror
and The Porcelain Dove
. And I have been assured that she is writing a sequel to Changeling
. I'll be questing for it!
If you would like to contact Robbie, you may do so here