My blog’s been a little shy on sweetness lately, but this book fits the bill nicely. It was a wonderful surprise. First, I have to comment on how gorgeous the cover art is. I made it really big because I love it. Not only did it draw me to the story, it reflects it perfectly. Great job, Jason Chan. That’s exactly the type of cover I dream about for my own books.
What about the story? Super. Fer (Jennifer) is a young lady who just doesn’t seem to fit in at her school. It feels all wrong, and no wonder. When the Way near her house opens, she finds she belongs to the world beyond, a land now shadowed by the evil Mór. Her only friend in this new world is the puck, Rook, who’s thrice-bound to the Mór and unable to help her. Fer must rely on her own resourcefulness and principals in a fight she cannot win alone. Meanwhile, the poison is seeping through the Way, into the world in which she left her grandmother.
The plot is a little simplistic and predictable, but it is engaging. The new world is an easy one to succumb to. Its magic doesn’t actually involve fairies, but the mischievous character Rook is reminiscent of Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was my first doorway to the faery realm. The Mór also shields her evil behind glamorie, a shimmery veil of beauty also associated with fairies. Taken together, they give this book the same feel as fairy magic. Characters that are wilding, or changing into animals, and never-ending winter add to the illusion, so for a few hours it’s easy to forget that magic isn’t real.
Maybe this isn’t the best book I read this year. It’s not the deepest or most thought-provoking. It’s not particularly clever or surprising. It’s even a little fluffy. But the prose is beautifully written and it celebrates friendship, loyalty and goodness. I guess a book doesn’t have to be perfect for a reader to loose herself in it and close the cover with a smile and a sigh of satisfaction. And that’s exactly what happened.
The cover says 10+, but I think Winterling would be a great read-aloud for kids as young as six or seven.