Fae Child by Jane-Holly Meissner

Fae Child by Jane-Holly Meissner
Publisher: Inkshares
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When eight-year-old Abbie Brown discovers a quiet pool of water while wandering through the woods behind her Oregon home, she wades out into it and discovers she’s not alone. A wild-haired boy in green stares at her from the other side of the water. Mesmerized, Abbie reaches down to him, and is yanked underwater.

She emerges on the other side as an unwelcome visitor to the Otherworld, the land of the Fae, with only the boy Foster to guide her. Back in Oregon, a changeling lookalike has taken her place, bonding with her mother while her father, hiding a secret of his own, views the “girl” with suspicion.

In the courts of the Fae a truce has long been in place between Winter and Summer. What havoc might a human child wreak in the careful machinations of beings older than time? And to what lengths will Abbie’s father go to get her back?

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The world building in this story was marvelous. Ms. Meissner envisioned a land of the Fae that was as beautiful as it was dangerous. Learning more about it only made me yearn to dive even deeper into this world’s mythology, history, and setting. Honestly, this rivalled many of the adult fantasy novels I’ve read when it came to creative a place that was familiar enough to understand but also different enough from human society to make every revelation about how it all worked that much more captivating.

Not only was Abbie a well written and likeable protagonist, she behaved exactly like an eight-year-old should. Sometimes she forgot to follow the rules or tried to do things her own way instead of listening to the wiser folks around her. I appreciated the fact that she acted just like an ordinary kid, especially since her adventures were anything but ordinary.

Abbie had such a warm, loving relationship with her parents. Of course they loved one another, but they also genuinely liked each other as fellow human beings. This is something I don’t see nearly enough of in middle grade novels, so it was nice to find another example of a healthy and functioning family for young readers.

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that explored changeling lore. They gave plenty of background information on it for readers who might not already be familiar with it, but then the narrator put their own spin on it to make it fit into this setting perfectly. I truly enjoyed reading about what changelings are like in this world and why humans fear them so much.

Fae Child was pure escapism in the best sense of that term. I heartily recommend it for anyone who wants to lose themselves into a magical time and place.

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