19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Accomplished debut novel with a lot of charm,
This review is from: Knife: Knife (Paperback)An accomplished and charming debut novel, there is much to enjoy in this story. The faery community is well realised, with relationships and characters clearly depicted. Bryony is a determined and resourceful heroine who doesn't take no for an answer and a scene where she steals a knife from the humans (from which she takes a new name of Knife) is tautly written. Supporting characters, such as the crotchety Thorn and kindly Wink, help to give depth to the story and Queen Amaryllis is nicely ambiguous for the reader to wonder what is going on.
Anderson never descends into sentimentality, giving a matter-of-fact account of the hardships faced by the faeries to ensure their daily survival by gathering berries and hunting small animals. Particularly good is the threat from Old Wormwood, a crow who has eaten several of the faeries and developed a taste for them.
It's refreshing to read a novel with a central character who is in a wheelchair and Paul is an interesting character who I'd have liked to have seen more of on the page. It was a surprise to discover that Paul is of driving age because the portrayal of both him and Bryony had made them seem younger but also because this book is marketed for 9 - 12 year olds, and it's not often you see protagonists in their late teens in such books. This didn't make the story any less entertaining, but it was a jolt when it came.
The main criticism to make about the book is that the backstory is spread a little unevenly throughout the plot, with a large amount of exposition coming in the final quarter. I also found myself a little confused by the proliferation of character names at a couple of spots and found myself having to turn back a few pages to work out who was who. However, neither of these things would stop me from looking forward to the sequel to this story, which is nicely set up at the end.
The fact that the book is about faeries and the main characters are girls is likely to put off boy readers, which is a shame. However, girls should enjoy the adventure, romance and history that Anderson weaves into her tale and I look forward to reading more from this author.