Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

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The Faeries of Spring Cottage by Wendy Froud and Terri Windling

Simon and Schuster, May, 2003
Hardcover, 48 pages
ISBN: 074320235X
Ordering information:

The Faeries of Spring Cottage
by Wendy Froud and Terri Windling Sneezlewort Rootmuster Rowanberry Boggs the Seventh, the brave little root faery from The Winter Child is back in another enchanting adventure from the talented team of artist Wendy Froud (creator of Yoda) and award-winning folklorist Teri Windling. Sneezle has never seen a human being, although he's heard they are loud and smell like fish. One day as he is on the outskirts of the Old Oak Wood, he is attacked by some strange twig men. When he runs to hide, he gets trapped in a ten year-old girl's backpack and carried back to her home, Spring Cottage. Since the girl Rowan's grandmother is in the hospital, the faeries of the house have been running wild, with boggarts terrorizing the people and the house being a mess. Rowan's mother doesn't believe in faeries and Rowan can't see them. Sneezle must be very brave to find a way to help the inhabitants of Spring Cottage, show Rowan the magic she has inside her, and get home to his beloved Old Oak Wood.

Using dolls and set designs by Wendy Froud, the whimsical story is illustrated with fantastic photos of Sneezle, Rowan (who is a live model) and all the denizens of Spring Cottage. The expressions on the faeries' faces are marvelously real and the detail is exquisite. This is a magical book that faery lovers of all ages will cherish.

First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain

Daw, August, 2003
Hardcover, 639 pages
ISBN: 0756402093
Ordering information:

First Rider's Call
by Kristen Britain Karigan G'ladheon has finally accepted the fact that she is a Green Rider, one of the King's elite messenger corps, who are chosen by being "called" by a voice that compels them to take up their noble -- and magical -- profession. The D'Yer Wall, which protects the land of Sacoridia from the evil which hides in Blackveil forest, has now been breached; an evil force which has been imprisoned for hundreds of years has begun to break its chains of imprisonment. No one alive has the skills to remake the magical wall, and the dark magic is seeping into Sacoridia, causing the Green Riders' magic to become erratic and odd things to happen throughout the land, such as people being turned into stone and the appearance of bloodthirsty creatures. Karigan knows that she and the other Riders are in for the fight of their lives, but she's got another problem: she keeps seeing the ghost of the very first Green Rider: Lil Ambriodhe. Karigan must find out what her connection is to Lil and how they can repair the Wall, before the entire kingdom of Sacoridia is destroyed.

It has been a long few years for the many readers who read and enjoyed Kristen Britain's first novel, The Green Rider, and have been waiting for this sequel. The author does not disappoint her fans. In fact, it really isn't necessary to have read the first book in the series to enjoy this marvelous fantasy adventure, although anyone who didn't read The Green Rider is missing something truly special. Kristen Britain has a unique way of approaching a fantasy world -- her ideas are fresh and inventive. She is also adept at infusing the story with raw human emotion, and some of the scenes are really heartbreaking. But there is also enough humor, adventure, magic and romance to energize even the most jaded fantasy reader.

--Claire E. White

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