This is a continuation of the series that takes place mostly in the land of the fey and centers around Meghan Chase, the half-human daughter of Oberon, King of the Faery Summer Court. She is now Queen of the Iron Court and married to Ash, former Prince of the Winter Court. This particular book tells what happened to her brother Ethan, currently 17.
Ethan, while human, has had the “Sight” his whole life, meaning he can see the fey even in the human realm. As a result, they torment him, and he has gotten into constant trouble because of their harassment. Now, he is once again starting a new school, and once again being beset by fey. But this time, there is a big difference.
Somehow, a new breed of fey has appeared: the Forgotten. These “vampire faeries” prey on fey and half-breeds who inhabit the human world, draining their glamour, or their very essence. As Grimalkin, the talking cat, explains:
“Glamour – the dreams and imagination of mortals – is what keeps us alive. Even half-breeds have a bit of magic inside them. But these creatures have been forgotten for so long, the only way for them to exist in the real world is to steal it from others. But it is only temporary. To truly exist, to live without fear, they need to be remembered again. Otherwise they are in danger of fading away once more.”
Ah, there’s the rub. No one knows who they are, so no one remembers them, and so they keep on attacking more victims in order to survive.
Ethan gets involved after Todd, a half-breed at his new school, finds him and begs for help. Furthermore, a cute girl, Kenzie, is also following Ethan around. He definitely doesn’t want to get her involved, because if the fey sense someone else is important to you, they will go after that person to get to you. But Kenzie is oddly persistent, and Ethan ends up taking her with him to the faery realm in order to escape an attack of The Forgotten.
Grimalkin leads Ethan and Kenzie to the Iron Court, and to Meghan. She insists he stay put until she can figure out what to do, but a strange faery named Keirran says he will lead Ethan and Kenzie back out. Ethan doesn’t know who this Keirran is, but he will find out soon enough, and everything will change.
Discussion: I thought Kagawa showed a jump in sophistication in her writing of this book. Here, instead of directing all her creativity toward fashioning fantastical landscapes, she constructs a nice, layered character study, especially with respect to Ethan. He is a boy who has lived his whole life with fear, anger, guilt, and self-loathing, and he has erected heavy defensive walls around himself. If he kept everyone at arm’s length, the fey wouldn’t hurt them. He watched a friend get destroyed once, and he just doesn’t want to let anyone in for any reason. It’s a well-drawn portrait. My only complaint is that Ethan, who is attracted to Kenzie, is constantly talking about her wonderful slender, slim body. I read this in paper, so could not do a word count of how often the words “slender” and “slim” appeared, but it was way too much, and irritated me enough to distract me from the story.
I might also note, as an aside, that I hate the cover.
Evaluation: Fans of the series will like this in-depth look at what happened to Meghan’s human brother while she has been off in Nevernever land. Ethan tries to push everyone away, but one can’t help but see the heart and soul underneath his rough exterior, and like him as a character.
Published by Harlequin Teen, 2012