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Faery Swap - Middle Grade Fantasy Kindle Edition
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All of this is the long way of getting around to appreciating this book because it avoids those dreary cliches. Our hero, Finn, has issues and doesn't really like his school, life, or family situation, but he's put on his big boy pants and is soldiering on. He gets tricked into Faerieland, (Otherworld), by a Faery prince, Zaneyr, who needs to come here and needs our hero's body while he's here. So, we have a Faery up to no good here and a boy trapped in Faerieland who has just realized that being here isn't so bad. That's a nice twist on the usual conventions, and it caught my interest.
Finn has a serious challenge ahead because no human transported to the Otherworld has ever made it back. Our Faery prince has complicated issues of his own and difficult choices to make. On top of this basic plot we get to watch Finn figure out the Otherworld and we are amused as Zaneyr tries to get the hang of impersonating a modern fourteen year old boy. There is a lot of room here for humor, action, lessons, challenges, plot twists, and general growing up and the author takes advantage by offering up a rich and satisfying treatment.
I see at various sites that this book has a lot of enthusiastic reviewers/supporters who are themselves middle graders and it is not at all surprising that confident younger readers, boys and girls, have taken to this book. It is fresh, well crafted, and carefully structured and it seems it would be both an entertaining read and a satisfying read. A nice find.
Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
This book was fun to read, surprisingly fun to read as an adult since it’s marketed for a middle-grade crowd. It had more intent and attempted violence and evil than I would have thought for a typical middle-grade novel, more like a young adult novel actually.
The genre was also not quite a typical fairy fantasy because there were wizards and spells and wands. This book had everything! There were even creatures that were different. The fantasy world was separate from the human world and action took place in both. There was world building but it wasn’t off-putting because much of the action and the beginning of the novel took place in the close to reality human world.
There was only one true female but only because it’s about someone else, she isn’t a strong female type or a damsel in distress. Her character could almost also be another boy, she isn’t gender stereotyped into a female corner.
This book covered a lot in its longer than you would expect for a middle grade novel pages. There was a glimpse at friendship and family dynamics and loyalty as well as grief and emotional turmoil over loss and perceived loss of loved ones.
I liked Finn just as much as I liked Zaneyr and even though the faery boy was doing something seemingly wrong by soul swapping with Finn, I understood and was able to sympathize with his motives later on.
Although the writing style is clearly aimed towards a young audience, the story appealed to the kid inside of me and Finn's portral was particular good, SQ doesn't fall into the trap of treating her main charector as a do nothing wrong, make no mistakes type. Finn's actions might me be more mature than you'd expect of a normal 14 year old but SQ explains this with his back story.
I would heartily recommend this to a young adult or those of us who are young at heart. Susan Quinns engaging and humorous style is certainly going to get me to look into her previous works.
I got to read this through NetGallery and can't recommend the site enough, without which i wouldn't have thought of reading this whimsical gem.