Title: To Bear an Iron Key
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: To Bear an Iron Key, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Month9 Books, in exchange for an honest review.
Fairies are one of my favorite supernatural tropes, whether they be tiny pixies, kappas, or any other sort of magical being. I just love the way that fairies can differ, depending on the author--and Jackie Morse Kessler doesn't disappoint in the slightest.
Bromwyn Darkeyes, a young witch, makes a grave mistake in refusing the king of the fey, who offers her forever in the land of the fairies. And when her best friend Rusty picks exactly the wrong pocket, all hell threatens to break loose--literally. Forced to face the fairies in a frightening battle of wits, she discovers that she must try to tap into her powers, and try to save her village and the world, or the sinister, deceptively beautiful fairies will be able to come through the World Door every night of the year, wreaking havoc on all she holds dear.
I'll start with the things I enjoyed: I liked the world-building, it was unique and not hard to understand. I also enjoyed the concept, because come on, evil fairies! The best kind of fairies! I liked the way the author wrote the fairies--I really feel like they were just the right amount of creepy and sinister, but still somehow tempting.
The characters were the best part for me, though, especially Bromwyn, a young woman determined to make her own fate, even as her familial responsibilities restrain her from trying to live her own life. I really enjoyed her; her fight between her duty to her family and herself. Rusty, too, was really fun: a joking trickster of a boy that probably has never done anything serious in his life, until he picks the wrong pocket.
Bromwyn's family, too, was wonderful: Jessamin, her mother, the card reader and widow, and Niove, The Wise One of the village, often angry and stern but at times loving and strong. The pacing of this novel was completely breakneck--I couldn't put it down, and I really enjoyed it!
There were times, though, when I was frustrated with almost everyone in the book: the villagers, Bromwyn and Rusty, and their families, but overall, this book was great!
The bottom line: This was a really strong little book--a wonderful start to a brand new series, and I think it's safe to say I'll be looking for more of Jackie Morse Kessler's work! Next on deck: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter!