You know I like a series and the work an author produces when I'm willing to order the books from the UK because they are just not available in the US. In fact, when it comes to R.J. Anderson's Faery books I pre-order them. The wait for Nomad seemed eternal because I have been waiting for it ever since the day I finished reading Swift (my thoughts). It was worth every minute of the wait.
Exiled from her underground home by Betony, the jealous queen of the piskeys, Ivy sets out to make a new life for herself in the world above – a quest that leads her to mystery, adventure, and a hoard of spriggan treasure. But a deadly poison still lingers in the Delve, and Ivy cannot bear to see her people dying under Betony’s rule.
With the help of some old friends she sets out to warn the piskeys of their danger, urging them to rise up and free themselves before it is too late. Yet Betony will not give up her kingdom without a fight... and when her evil threatens the friends and family Ivy holds most dear, it will take all Ivy’s courage, daring and determination to save them.
As Ivy's story continues, she is still the fierce stubborn girl, but her experiences have changed her too. She is slightly more cautious and has learned to be far more careful in trusting people. Her spirit and conviction remain strong, and though she suffers staggering set backs in her plans to save her people, she never gives up. She gathers around her people who are willing to help even if some of that help is not given for free. While figuring it out how to rescue the rest of the piskeys and save her others close to her in danger, Ivy is also struggling with her relationship with Martin. Can he be trusted? Should she care as much about him as she does? And why is she suddenly having dreams about spriggans of the yesteryear? Martin's character takes an even more central role in this story as the secrets of his past are revealed. His character grows a lot as he begins to look for the keys to his past, attempt to trust Ivy and not betray her trust in turn, and face up to the mistakes of his past. I loved what Anderson did with his character, how she grew him, showed his vulnerability and weaknesses, and gave him the opportunity for redemption.
There are two threads of story in this novel. One is the story of the piskeys and the poison taking over their home. Ivy risks much to save her people, most of whom don't even know they need to be saved. The accepting nature of the piskeys and the way they trust everything their leader tells them, even when evidence is mounting against it is just as frustrating for the reader as it is for Ivy. (This is a talent of Anderson's and the one that makes her a favorite of mine. She really draws you into her characters lives and makes you feel what they are feeling.) As Ivy struggles to secure allies and work against her Aunt things get dangerous and people begin to be hurt. Betony is a perfect picture of how power run amok is one of the most dangerous forces there is. The other story being told here comes through dreams and visions Ivy is having of spriggans in the past due to her special connection with Martin. The bloody history of the faerys, piskeys, and spriggans is shown through these visions and we get a glimpse into how they came to be as separate as they are. These visions are important for more than just their insight into the past too. (Loved this part.) Throughout all of this there is also the developing relationship between Ivy and Martin, which was, if I'm being completely honest, my favorite part of the book. Through their dialogue and interactions, Anderson brought in the essential humor that kept the story being all serous. (Accidental marriage proposals are always entertaining.) More importantly though their relationship makes both of them face unpleasant truths about themselves and highlights the sort of people they are, how far they are willing to go to help those who matter to them.
I'm sad that this may be the last of the faery books. As far as I know, it is. I could read dozens of these books and never grow tired of being in this world Anderson created and learning about the people who inhabit it.