Thursday, August 11, 2011

13 Treasures

No one else can see the evil fairies that rouse Tanya from her sleep, torturing her at the slightest mention of their existence, but they are as real to the 13-year-old as anything she's ever known. She cannot rid herself of them, nor can she ignore them. But it is her insistence on responding to them that has her banished to her grandmother's secluded countryside manor. There is much to explore and even more to fear in the woods surrounding the estate. But, the forest isn't the only source of dark secrets, and Tanya soon finds herself entangled in a mystery that could trap her in the fairy realm forever. (Synopsis of 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison from Goodreads)

"Faeries," Tanya whispered, running her finger lightly over the old-fashioned spelling on the page. It seemed to suit them somehow, these strange creatures that hounded her.
It does suit Tanya's creatures because they are Faeries. The dangerous ones. The ones you don't want to cross. There are all sorts of Fae represented, goblins, hearth hobs, brownies. Changelings and their nature are important to the story. The Scottish tradition of the Seelie and Unseelie courts are combined with Harrison's own twist on the Welsh folklore of the 13 Treasures. She altered many of the treasures and their nature and integrated them into the story of the split of the Faerie Court. The combination made for a very interesting backdrop. I love it when author's take ancient folklore and manipulates it in a new way. I also love the dangerous type of fairy story. I was certainly in my element while reading this book.

Tanya is a strong heroine. Tortured and tormented by the faeries she has seen all her life, she is often blamed for their antics, a means of punishing her when they are angry. As a result she is misunderstood an her mother is at a loss of what to do with her. The target audience of middle graders should be able to relate. Tanya joins forces with Fabian, a boy she has known and barely liked all her life. He is often up to mischief and rude to his elders in a bid to get attention. Again, highly relateable. Tanya and Fabian's relationship begins as a wary alliance that morphs into a friendship where they truly come to care for each other. I enjoyed both their characters and interaction a great deal.

The plot is engrossing and full of mystery, secrets, past betrayals, harsh sacrifices, and a truly malevolent villain. The setting, a Faerie infested wood and manor near a small British town, is described in a way that fully conveys the eery atmosphere.

This is a great book for lovers of faerie lore, adventure, or mystery.

The story is resolved within this book so it can be read on its own and leave the reader feeling fully satisfied. It is the first book in a trilogy. Both of the other volumes are available in the UK.  The second, 13 Curses, was released in the US on June 7. As far as I know there is no official US release date for 13 Secrets other than sometime in 2012.

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