James T Kelly establishes the world of Tir in your mind without making you feel like you're working for it. Instead of making you slog through relentless detail, its realness is effortlessly formed in your mind as the story unfolds. This allows for the story to take centre stage, whilst the fantasy becomes the backdrop. I believe most great fantasy novels treat the genre this way. It reminds me of how Star Wars is often described as a western set in space, it's not shackled by being just another "sci-fi" movie. That's how I feel about The Fey Man, I never once felt that you would need to be a fan of fantasy to enjoy it. The relationships and torments of his characters are revealed in a very honest way, there's no grand monologues or emotional breakthroughs. Characters are developed in a way that can quite often make you sit back and realise you're relating to a relationship that you weren't expecting to. It's these moments that make the book special, Kelly has a real gift at generating an atmosphere of fantastical wonder that's deeply routed in a world that is familiar. The humour that flows through this book often keeps the story grounded, it's a fantastic tool that Kelly wields with a true skill. Laughter is such a base reaction that can humanise and deconstruct situations, making them believable and relatable. I would like to have seen more back story for some of the leading characters, however I'm hoping that we get a chance in the next iteration of the Fair Folk Series.
Thank you James T Kelly for writing this wonderful book, I for one can not wait for the next.