Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Title: The Faerie Ring
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 352 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Loaned to me by a friend

The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring, #1)Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood--Tiki's blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched--and protected--by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen's son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief--all must work together to secure the treaty...

Review:

Years of living on the streets has taught Tiki a lot of things: how to pick a pocket, how to run like her life depends on it after getting caught, and that trust should not be easily given. While trying to hide after stealing some food, Tiki happens upon a beautiful ring that seems to have a flame burning inside its jewel and she can't help but keep it. The ring, as it turns out, is the key to a treaty between humans a the very deadly fey, and the ring leaving the English royal family's hands as it did when Tiki took it puts the fragile peace in jeopardy. Working together with Rieker, a fellow pickpocket who knows a lot about the fey, Tiki tries to navigate the complex situations the ring has brought upon her.

If I had to stop babbling and describe this book in one sentence, this is what I would say: It lacks authenticity and genuine feeling.

To be fair, The Faerie Ring had its strong points. It turned out to be more of a lushly written page-turner than I expected and some parts of the novel, like the urgency to help Clara and Tiki's bond with her fellow orphans, felt genuine. In a way, this makes the final product more disappointing. If Tiki and the orphans' relationship could be made to feel so tangible, why did the important relationship between Tiki and Riecker feel so forced and lack chemistry? Even the antagonist's motivation for everything she does lacked any conviction.

The all-important truce lacked true stakes. What forces the fey to obey the treaty? They're stronger and faster than humans and can move without being seen, and they can easily tear humans apart with their claws and teeth. What could the humans do to them to force them to obey the treaty or punish them? It would be one thing if the fey forged a treaty with humans instead of the other way around, but that wasn't the case. For all the iron weapons the humans can wield, their opponents could easily take them out first. From the way so many humans were getting murdered by the fey later in the novel, I thought the truce was already broken.

Some parts were just... There is no word for it but "dumb." How Tiki got into Buckingham Palace so easily multiple times (come on, this is Buckingham Palace!) is beyond me. A prince blabbermouthing so specifically about how to ransom a very important ring to a pretty girl when it was very suspicious for her to be asking at all borders on mind-boggling. Tiki smelling Rieker's bloodstained coat one morning like the smell of a hot guy's blood in the morning is good needs no further explanation.

The great revelation about who Tiki is and what the mark on her wrist is about, something brought up in the very first chapter? Transparent. I wish it could have been explained a little more once the truth came out because I'm not completely sure what it means even now, but it appears this will be a plot line left open for one of the sequels.

But despite all my listed problems with it and the rating I've given it, I plan to read the sequel. Why? Well, The Faerie Ring was readable enough and nothing about it made me angry. Its main problem was that it was flawed. I feel confident based on what I've read that improvement is possible and I am genuinely interested in seeing where some plot lines left open for the sequels can go. My only worry is a possible love triangle between Rieker, Tiki, and Leo. If that happens, I will not be a happy young woman.

2 stars!


What am I reading next?: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle