"When the barriers were weak, they came in. They were smoke and mirrors. They were dust and mist. They stole into our minds as smoke under a door. They slid through our thoughts as oil in water. We welcomed them. We wanted them. We were them.
- Tales of the Faewald"
'Fae Hunter (Tangled Fae #1)' by Sarah K.L. Wilson was a really nice surprise. After a sea of reads last month that were often less than stellar, authors like her have really improved my outlook going into March.
The story is about a girl trained to be a hunter, named Allie and the twin she loses to the 'Star Stones.' Basically, the stones are a take on the faerie circles of lore and in the event where her sister is lost, the main character also loses her sight.
"It was the eyes. It was those dark, magnificent eyes that seemed to see all your secrets at once. They dreamed the dreams of devils and angels, suggesting that rays of sunshine could kiss the shadows and create something utterly new."
With the fae sneaking into town and beginning to take anything they want, bit by bit, Allie struggles to find a way to stop them while the townsfolk blame her for the danger they're in to begin with.
What really caught me off guard in this story is how likable I find the young huntress. Like any solid character she wrestles with blame (both internal and external), self-doubt, and personal setbacks. She's young and sometimes she wants to give up, but she's never whiny about it.. and whining is something I can't stand in an MC.
She has few supporters in town. Hulanna, her sister, was the pretty, popular one. She's the plain one, which of course is a pretty typical trope.. but she's also the pragmatic one. She's the type who just shoves down what's getting to her and pushes on.. and you can't help but root for her.
"You're the thorns, Hunter. I'm light as a feather."
I rolled my eyes to his laughter. "This is funny to you."
"Like you wouldn't believe." His eyes widened innocently, and his smile became angelic.
Enter in the evil, yet amusing.. fae protagonist who tells Allie to call him 'Scouvrel.' His visage slipping back and forth between the usual beautiful fae appearance and something rotten and broken, I'm actually still uncertain which is true. I don't know if one represents who he really is and one his image, or if it's as simple as the glamor vs actual appearance. But he's intriguing.. and even though you know better.. you can't help but feel drawn to him and his wicked mouth.
There are many betrayals here and there throughout the story, both big and small. Also, there are lots of actions being taken that cause more issues by people who could have avoided them with just a little patience or faith in others. I found some brief, albeit unexpected brutality coupled with moments of beautiful imagery.
"Truth or lie?" I asked grumpily as I packed up my flint and knife. "You are cold without your shirt on in this icy wind."
"Lie." His tone was playful. "Only my heart is cold."
Definitely give this title a try. It's a really fun bit of dark fantasy and I'm pretty certain there's more to Scouvrel we haven't discovered yet. I suspect he's glamored me a bit.. because I'm determined to find out.. and that means I'll be off looking for the next book too, 'Fae Captive,' in hopes I can find the answers I seek.