Book Review: Shadows of Faerie by Martin Owton
This urban fantasy caught my eye because it’s set in Southampton and the New Forest – where I live! It’s rare to find fantasy set in the New Forest (or any books for that matter…) so I jumped at the chance to read this one.
Charlie is a postgrad student at Southampton university and he has a special talent… he’s touch telepathic, meaning if he makes skin on skin contact with another human he learns everything about them and what they’re thinking. This is a problem, especially with potential girlfriends, as he doesn’t know how to control it. He’s had it since childhood and he knows exactly why – his father is an Otherkin. A faerie from a parallel world who he’s never met.
When Charlie’s housemate is brutally murdered, he touches her still-warm body and finds out the perpetrator. Tipping off the police implicates him, so he comes clean and forms a bond with a detective to help her unravel the case.
But when she asks for his help to solve another murder, he realises it wasn’t just his mum who had a faerie lover, and that there are other half-breeds like him out there. It seems that now the Otherkin is murdering the human lovers, and Charlie worries his mum might be next.
There’s only one person who can help – his father – and Charlie contacts him. This sets off a chain of events that triggers a near-war with the Otherkin, and Charlie ventures into the parallel world in a bid to make peace. He’s joined in his quest by the detective and another half-breed whose mother was murdered.
This is a fast-paced, easy read narrated by a humbly heroic and likable main character. The other characters were fleshed out enough to be believable and there’s an element of police investigative work too.
However, I really wanted to hear more from Charlie’s father and about the Otherkin, and the parallel world that they live in. We’re told why fae men take human lovers, and why many Otherkin don’t agree with that practice, but I still wanted to learn more and see first-hand the tension in that world between the two factions.
I would’ve also liked a bit more emotion, especially from the main character, so that I could feel things along with them. For example, Charlie’s housemate is murdered in her bedroom in the home he shared with her, and he found the body, and that didn’t seem to make an impact. He said he was sad, but didn’t act it e.g. Charlie and the other two housemates all continued living in the house as if nothing had happened, no sad atmosphere or tears or group mourning or missing her presence. If that was me, I would’ve been distraught and would’ve probably retched every time I walked past the bedroom door as the image of the dead body popped into my head…
Other than that, this was an enjoyable story and I liked reading about locations, places and roads that I know well. If you like fae tales, heroic deeds, portals to parallel worlds and feel-good endings, then this is for you.
My rating: 4/5
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*I received a review copy from the author
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