Pub. Date: 2003, Bloomsbury USA
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book. I was in no way compensated for this review and my opinions are my own.
Henry Atherton thinks his life is spinning out of control. But nothing prepares him for the invisible portal in old man Fogarty’s backyard . . . and the unexpected stranger who comes through it.
Pyrgus Malvae, crown prince of the Faerie realm, is on the run. Too many people want the rebellious young heir dead: a scheming sorcerer, a powerful demon, the malignant leader of the Faeries of the Night, and maybe even a hidden traitor within his father’s court.
Henry and Pyrgus come from very different worlds, but it may be up to Henry to save all of Faerie from being conquered by the Nightside, even if it means crossing over to a magical realm where nothing is ever what it seems . . . and no one can be trusted.
I have to be honest... This book got off to a s-l-o-o-o-w start for me. I had probably read about a third of the book or more before things picked up. I can't say that Henry's backstory about his family situation added much to the book, either--it didn't seem very relevant to the plot, but rather a chance to introduce the idea of the possibility of having a parent who turns out to be a homosexual. And no, I am not suggesting there is something wrong with that, and I assume that Brennan gives us so much insight into Henry in the "real world" for characterization purposes. I just didn't feel that it fit in with the point of the story or Henry's role in it--helping Pyrgus to get back to the Faerie Realm. (So in all fairness, parents should know the topic of homosexuality is addressed in this book, as it is a young adult title, and should be prepared to discuss this with their children.)
I'd say the characters and plot were generally above average, though there were some typical flaws. As for characters, there are a few in this novel that are pretty enjoyable. My favorite is probably Pyrgus' sister, Holly Blue (aka Serenity)--she's full of spunk and very likeable. Mr. Fogarty is an interesting old man, too. I was surprised to find out his former "occupation," and I'll leave it at that. Brennan leaves you with no doubt who the good guys and bad guys are in this book--those "bad guys" are downright evil! The plot is pretty good, with enough twists and turns (once the story got going) to keep it moving, though it is unfortunately not without a few cliched and conveniently-timed events. While the general story is actually rather dark, there is humor interspersed to lighten the mood at appropriate times. All-in-all I liked this book well enough that I plan to read the sequel, The Purple Emperor.