Two years ago, I reviewed Frewin Jones’ The Faerie Path, returning to a world I visited in my teenage years many times. But if I’ve cracked the spine of that book several, several times, I’ve only peeked into the rest of the series once. I did, however, look at the sequel, The Lost Queen, a few years ago during grad school, and I returned to it again now.
Princess Tania has finally accepted her heritage as a royal daughter of Faerie. But now, she has a mission: return to the Mortal World and find her Faerie mother, Queen Titania, who disappeared five hundred years ago to find her lost daughter. It’s not going to be easy, since dark forces are stirring in Faerie and something strange is happening within Tania: she is starting to remember her past mortal lives. Plus, she has to make a decision soon about which part of herself she will choose: the mortal, or the Faerie. For if she chooses her mortal self, her Faerie self will gradually disappear for good.
Admittedly, when I re-read this book a few years ago, I was mildly disappointed. It’s not that I didn’t like returning to the world of Faerie; I wasn’t as taken with the writing style. Though I think that was because I was still in an MFA program, during which time I was extremely critical of writing styles.
However, during this third read-through, I found myself pulled through the story—perhaps more than even the first time I read the book. I forgot how fairytale Frewin Jones’ style is. It is not the most lyrical, and some world-building details feel extraneous, but on the whole, it carries you through a beautiful world with strange creatures and fantastic delights. The description is very creative and it’s easy to get carried away in it.
Like I said in my first review, the best part of The Faerie Path series is the world of Faerie. While sometimes, the world-building almost goes overboard, it’s still a nice world to kind of just wander through. There is a scene where Tania returns to Faerie and it just so happens that the Festival of the Traveler’s Moon is taking place that night. It has no real bearing on the plot, but it’s a small break from the tension and it allows us to see and enjoy more of this world alongside Tania and her sisters.
The stakes are a lot higher in this book, so it’s almost required that more quiet character scenes be added in to balance those stakes. We see several scenes between Tania, her true love Edric, and her sisters, all of which not only build atmosphere but the characters too. The first book showed every character, including Tania, to be a little one-note. Now that Tania, her sisters, and Edric are forced into a small space together, their personalities come out much better. Sometimes it’s still hard to tell their voices apart, but you get a much better sense of who would do what. Plus, watching Tania’s Faerie sisters becoming fishes out of water in the mortal world is fun.
However, the focus remains on Tania and her internal struggle. Tania learns that she must choose where she’ll spend her life, whether in the Mortal World or in Faerie, and whichever half she rejects, she will lose forever. She gets a grander sense of herself through getting transported at random to her past lives. Plus, she keeps getting visions of the first book’s villain taunting her about her torn soul: that she may never be happy in either world. Such a notion terrifies Tania because both worlds are so important to her.
Everything builds from the first book and the tension grows ever tighter! This time around, we also get some pretty kick-ass battle scenes, not to mention a pretty harsh cliffhanger.
If I had one hang-up with the book, there is some slight teenage drama between Tania and Edric, and they make up for it pretty quickly. I guess I can’t get too mad since it seemed in character for their teenage selves, but…it kind of felt underwhelming.
I had a similar hang-up with the first book, if you remember: Edric and Tania had a “true love” that wasn’t explored adequately enough. We do get a greater sense of their relationship here, but it still seems too perfect. I like Tania and Edric as characters, and I love how they love and support each other. But I think more would need to happen to test their relationship beyond a superficial teenage spat.
My opinion of this book has come a long way since my last reading, and I’m glad I gave it another go. Looks like it’s time to ask my mom to send me the rest of the series.