Feast by Stuart Simms — SPFBO 9 Review

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Hey guys! Welcome to my first review for SPFBO! I’m starting here for no particular reason and I’m going to go forward in no particular order. I’ve read 12 books so far out of the 20 I assigned myself (my partner Kristen has 10) and I’ll be leaving a review or two a week and sprinkling in as many author interviews as I can.

Here is my youtube review — or you can skip down to the written version!!

Okay, so this opens and it’s pretty apparent to me that this will appeal to those who enjoy classic fantasy/folklore/fairy tale subgenres. This is a story revolving around the Unseelie and the horrors they inflict on people, which are varied and horrific. The main character, Kenrig, is a middle aged woman who goes across the land hunting down bad guys/monsters essentially. She basically just tries to help people with their protection needs but isn’t trying to be a dick about it (not extortion like the mob). She’s got this side kick character, Dandall, who isn’t exactly overjoyed to be paired up with her. Their relationship is a bit complicated since a few years prior to the events of the book she tried to help him and his father, but unfortunately his father ended up dying. It’s been the source of sourness between them ever since, despite him knowing it really isn’t her fault. It’s a tenuous relationship and he’s a fairly sullen character through much of the story. Early on, they run into this girl named Lissi who can See in her dreams, and she Sees that Kenrig goes to the Unseelie to aid some villagers that have become trapped and tormented and the subject of a Feast. So, that’s basically the plot of the book, it’s fairly straightforward — rescue villagers from the Fae/Unseelie.

It took me a while to come around to the characters and that’s because so much page time/words were spent building up the plot or the world building and I feel like the characters and what made them tick came into play later. Once I got a little more background and got into the heads of the various characters as they do jump around a bit, I got much more into the characters and therefore the story. So, even though the plot was straightforward and started right away, the pace was slow for me until I began to care about the characters.

Now, it was a touch predictable in that the story can’t end in too many different ways, either she succeeds or she doesn’t. It’s not like an intricate story with tons of moving parts, politics, wars, battles, etc., and you have no idea how it’s all going to land. This is a much more streamlined story with a much smaller cast. There really isn’t a whole lot of other characters in this story outside of the three of them up against the Fae. I did like the creepy AF atmosphere and the truly old school feel of this. This is definitely a story for people who like the ancient and creepy folklore where fairies aren’t nice and the Underworld is a fucked up terrible place to end up.

This is not a long book and once I began to understand and care about the characters the pacing picked up for me and it does end in a whirlwind of action with the Wild Hunt coming into play. There was also a level of tension building up since you didn’t know if Kenrig was going to be betrayed by her sidekick or not since he was in a prophecy showing betrayal so there were big world and small scale tensions throughout. I felt like the prose style was nicely done and kept an even tone which can be difficult to do with these sorts of stories.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself with this one and think it will appeal to people who like classic dark fairly tales/folklore. I’m not doing scores for all the books this year. You will be “cut” or “safe” and I’ll give some scores when I pick semifinalists!