From Artemis Fowl and Spiderwick to Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely world; fairies, fae, and faeries have been depicted in countless ways, and various guises, but they are almost always OTHER beings. Most literature turn to the older fairy-lore by depicting fairies as dangerous creatures or at the very least mischievous, that share our world or part of it, who may hide or live in full view with the protection of magic, but they also hold to the ancient beliefs that fairies are others beings. In most books, for a human to become a fairy, they have to change by trickery or magic, (there are a few exceptions like Wings by Aprilynne Pyke) and of course Faerie Tribes.
What Paula does in Faerie Tribes is more akin to Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, giving the reader the opportunity to believe that they could be like the protagonist, that although they don’t know it yet they really are special, supernatural, and in Faerie Tribes case a Faerie. In Paula’s Faerie world, all faeries are born human, and their powers awaken during childhood, revealing a layered world, the Faerie world that lies beneath the human world. This allows the reader to have the fantasy that they are yet to be awoken.
Paula also creates a unique view of Faeries, living a life which is more human, adopting human ways, living alongside humans, holding human jobs, and attending human schools. This makes again a different approach to most Fairy books, where the faeries have their own ways of life yet still being set apart being others, but in Paula Skellmore the faeries do human jobs, living essentially more human lives than magical ones. Paula’s Faeries work in industries that are very normal but utilising their faerie powers to assist them, if there power is a spiritual connection to animals they run the pet shop or if there power is over water then they are plumbers. Their lives unseen by human lives and to the extent that un-awoken faeries who live in the bosom of the village are blissfully unaware, take the protagonist Laney, who aptly puts it …
“I thought this [Skellsmore] was the most boring place on the planet”
Finally, one of the other great strengths of Faerie tribes, is it Britishness. In recent years there have been many fairy books, but most are set in the America, Wicked Lovey – New York, Wings –California, Spiderwick- Maine. Fearie Tribes-Skellmore, which could be any village throughout the UK.
“…Skellmore High Street with its three shops and two park benches.”
From the park, the village pub, to the church Skellsmore is quintessentially British, looking like the rural backdrop where nothing exciting would ever happen. It’s so refreshing to have a fairy fantasy set in Britain, and its setting is a perfect contrast to the magical world.
In short Paula’s Faerie tribes is truly special as it's engrossing and allows the reader to do what all fantasy adventures should, fantasize and dream that they are part of the story. Paula's Faerie Tribes does just this by allowing the reader to believe that they are too a faerie yet to awaken.
We've got a copy of Faerie Tribes The Crystal Mirror, signed by Paula Harrison to give away. To be in with a chance of winning it, e-mail us at SpaceOnTheBookshelf@yahoo.com with your name and address and 'Faerie Tribes' in the header