Unseelie Court by Charlie Ward

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I was asked to review this by the author! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, apparently it was in a previous SPFBO competition.


Plot:

Frotwoot fell from the skies not knowing who he was or how he got there. He woke up in pain, only knowing his name, and had a vague memory of having wings that were no longer there.

He was discovered by a kindly passerby, who took him to the hospital to try and figure out whose child he was, and return him to his parents – only to find out that he couldn’t remember anything of his past, and was adopted by two people who came to love him very much. He was a very young kid when all of that happened, around 5 years old. The story continues 10 years later when a girl named Maev came into his life.

Maev is a Faerie and claims to know about his past, Frotwoot has completely forgotten what it was like to be a Faerie, and had long ago abandoned the idea that he once had wings, and adapted to the modern human world.

After meeting Maev his world is turned upside down after learning that he was once a Faerie, and that he and Maev used to be best friends. Maev then goes missing, and Frotwoot is very concerned about whether or not she’s okay, especially after learning later that she’s a princess.

He meets a Tree who was once a mage, they create a telepathic link and Tree-guy tries to help him find Maev, as well as explaining much of what the Faerie life is like since Frotwoot has forgotten everything before his fall.

He stumbles into an assassination plot for the Queen, and things take off from there.

Final Score: 11/15


Characters:

Frotwoot is a pretty typical kid, he’s curious about where he came from, and has a good heart. He put himself in the way of an arrow to save the Queen without really thinking about it.

He has an interesting relationship with his telepathic Driad teacher, I think my favorite part of the book is the back and forth between those two. The Tree-Driad mage speaks in old English, saying VERILY and THOU DOST NOT, but it’s done in a very humorous way, and it drives Frotwoot insane. The audiobook made it that much better.

He’s put through a lot of trials, being knighted by the Queen for saving her life, dealing with an assassination plot, and being told he’s a Faerie when he thought he was a human. He deals with it all fairly well, but with a believable amount of scepticism.

I think I actually liked the Tree-guy (this is what MC calls him) was my favorite character despite him being a side character. His antics made the book pretty enjoyable

Final Score: 10/15


World Building

The world Frotwoot grows up in is in modern times, while the land of the Faeries where he later ends up is extremely magical – I would call this a portal fantasy more than an urban fantasy since much of it takes place in another dimension.

There are all sorts of magical creatures in this world, elves, goblins, trolls, dragons etc. It’s definitely a high fantasy type world, so if you like a lot of old school mysterious magic this would appeal to you.

There’s a backstory to how the Faeries made their way into our world, being that their world was full of pollution and mayhem, so they found another realm they thought was safe, and sent some of their people over to explore it – being our world.

The Tree-guy is actually worshipped as a god because he created a ton of different magical elements, and called himself “The Creator and Savior”, ending up in worship – despite the fact he’s just a guy who turned himself into a tree so he could live longer.

Much of the world building was done through Tree-guy explaining things to Frotwoot, which was fine because it made sense in the story, and there wasn’t any multi-paragraph info-dumping, it was done through back and forth dialogue.

Final Score: 12/15


Pacing

This was pretty steadily paced through the whole book, the beginning was interesting because you started off with this kid with a mysterious background, and from there the plot sort of took off. So, I would say the beginning was sort of the slow part rather than the middle, as you’re getting to know the character and the world.

Final Score: 13/15


Writing

The writing was very straightforward in this book, not a lot of flowery writing – but that kept the plot moving forward nicely. It’s also not that common to get super flowery writing in YA anyways. The dialogue was nicely done and believable, def not stiff or wooden. The dialogue between Tree-guy, who spoke in old English, and the main character who was modern was actually pretty funny.

Final Score: 13/15


Originality:

I don’t read a ton of YA, so this is difficult for me to judge – but as far as my own reading I haven’t come across another YA with this sort of plot line, so it read fresh to me, despite portals into the fae lands being used pretty often in fantasy.

Final Score: 12/15


Personal Enjoyment:

I really liked the audiobook, it was well performed and had multiple people voicing. It’s a light fun read that was a breath of fresh air from all the grimdark epic fantasies I’ve been reading recently.

Final Score: 7.25/10


Final Score: 77.25/100

 

 

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