There are books you like, and then books you’ll love forever—books that truly proved the eternal magic of reading. Here is another book that I’ve read more times than I can count, and I’m glad to show it to you guys here. I know what you’re thinking: Stephanie, another book about fairies and romance and far away worlds? You’d never!
Anita Palmer is a normal London teenager…until a boating accident lands her and her boyfriend Evan in the hospital. There, with the help of a mysterious, handsome stranger, Anita finds herself transported to the magical, eternal realm of Faerie, where she discovers a shocking secret. She is not Anita, but Tania, the seventh princess of Oberon and Titania, and only she has the power to walk between the mortal and immortal realms. But underneath the utopic glamour of the kingdom, there are those who would do anything to possess Tania and her power, and she cannot easily forget the life she left behind, especially the boy that she loved…
I first read The Faerie Path over ten years ago in middle school and, as you can see, I haven’t stopped reading it since. But to be honest, I come back to it less for its story, and more for the world inside. Faerie really is a utopia: pristine buildings, beautiful gardens, constant laughing and dancing…it sounds like a never-ending party of music and gowns and romance. A good chunk of the book shows Anita wandering with her six sisters around the kingdom. If not for Anita wondering whether she can ever see her old life again, there would be little to no conflict. It feels almost like the author had more fun writing the world than the people inside it.
Which isn’t to say the characters are dull. Their speech patterns and lifestyles have flowery Elizabethan influence, and Shakespeare fans will easily recognize Oberon and Titania of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The only downside is that developing Tania’s six sisters takes up most of the book. In order to tell them apart, they each have a specific trait or hobby that thoroughly defines their character (one is totally fun-loving, another a total bookworm, etc.), and because they each have a flowery lilt to their voices, you have to read carefully to know who is speaking.
I like Tania’s sisters, make no mistake, but something more important to the overall book is left out.
A rhyme is repeated throughout the book, stating how only Tania can walk both worlds, and only her true love can share in her power. That quote-unquote true love doesn’t really feel prevalent–or is even that present in the story–until the climax. Attempts are made to explain the relationship between Tania and Evan (now Edric) but because the narration is close third-person with Tania, we never get a perspective through Edric. Tania believes Edric only got close to her so that he could bring her back to Faerie, so they never really have a two-sided conversation about anything besides forgiveness. Their relationship does flesh out a bit in later books (this is a series, by the way) but it’s only as worthy as a traditional fairy tale true love: something that is told, rather than felt.
Despite its flaws, I am continually drawn back to this book, admittedly more for the whimsical world than its characters. Who knows how long it will be before it loses any of its enchanting luster, but it’s definitely not today…or tomorrow.