[A quick note: I am guilty to admit I wasn’t really anticipating this one. I was aware of it, but didn’t know much, and didn’t bother reading the synopsis until my Fairyloot copy came, a whole three weeks early, mind you! I looked at the cover, the sprayed edges, and then read the synopsis and was immediately curious. I can’t believe I wasn’t more excited about this one because it was AHHH-mazing. It’s also a SERIES! So I’m excited about that too.]
“𝐈 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐟𝐚𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐤 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝, 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐬–𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐥𝐥-𝐬𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞.”—Heather Fawcett
Emily Wilde is writing the world’s first fairie encyclopedia. She embarks to the far north, to study the Hidden Ones, but she’s soon joined by her academic rival, Wendell Brambleby, who is as handsome as he is infuriating. Together, they begin unlocking the secrets of the folk. But Wendell has an even bigger secret. And as Emily begins to uncover it, she also finds her heart getting caught up in the process.
This story was utterly ENCHANTING. The cozy, curl-up-under-a-blanket winter vibes, paired with its fairytale feel, and diary format made it a low stakes, enthralling read that was just plain FUN! The pages are dripping with fairytales about the Hidden Ones, some more grotesque than others. That fairytale-feel, the atmospheric setting, and historical writing style, all gave me vibes from some of my favorite reads like the Winternight Trilogy, Uprooted, and Even the Darkest Stars, all overlaid upon a backbone of Grimm’s Fairytales.
Okay, maybe I’ve used the word “fairytale” too many times now. But…that was the EXACT feel! A fairytale. Its manner is calming and soothing, but there’s still a plot, and a little romance, and tons of intrigue. A perfectly curious read. The perfect balm after a busy, stressful day, when you need to simply feel comforted by something magical.
This is set in our world, but our world with the presence of fair folk, who are secretive and not well documented or understood. More of a superstition to most. It takes place in the early 1900s….so, basically an alternate reality. It felt so real and believable! I’m always a huge fan of historical settings and historical fantasy.
I loved Emily’s character. I related to her in many ways. She’s a mousy academic, bookish, library loving introvert. She doesn’t know how to act in social situations, and prefers the quiet of her research to everything. As Wendell says, her heart is made of library book dust. Something like that. Probably one of the best lines in the book. In fact, she prefers being around Fair Folk more than her own people (humans). It takes a hardscrabble village and Wendell Brambleby to bring her out of her shell.
I want to take a moment to talk about pets/animals in books. I ADORE pet/animal sidekicks. Emily’s dog Shadow is such a great edition. You can actually see his personality. But…Poe has my HEART. I was obsessed with the little munchkin. He’s a nervous little fairy folk who gets enchanted by Emily’s gifts. She wins him over. I could just picture made-up scenes in my head where she takes the little guy into her arm and strokes him to comfort his anxious nature. He’s got his own tree, and his own hot springs, and he bakes her loaves of the best bread so that she stays fed. I mean, how freaking CUTE.
Yes, little Poe has my whole HEART! I hope we get to see an appearance from him in subsequent books.
The overall plot was tons of fun. Emily travels to the far north for research purposes. She’s writing the first ever encyclopedia on fairies. The town dislikes her at first because she keeps to herself. This is a town that’s all about “community” so they find this offensive. Thank goodness Emily’s academic rival shows up. He enchants the town and soon they’re fawning over her rather than frowning after her. Together, Emily and Wendell begin to discover deeper secrets about the Hidden Ones in the area, until Emily lands herself in some serious danger. She gets herself into a sticky situation for the sake of research (of course! Academic pursuits before safety!!) and it’s up to the town and Wendell to band together to save her.
Naturally, there’s much more to the story than this. Wendell has big secrets of his own. I adored his character. Like…ADORED!
I could go on and on about this book. I’m devastated that I’m going to have to wait who-knows-how-long until the sequel. This book has my whole heart. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time, pining after all my favorite characters, and little Poe, and eagerly awaiting Emily’s next adventure.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟏𝟎𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬. 𝐉𝐊. 𝟓/𝟓⭐️