This YA Contemporary Fantasy busts a couple of tropes and contributes to a couple of others.
While most 17-year-old American girls would refuse to let their parents marry them off to a stranger, Robyn Mason dreams of the mysterious McKale in Ireland, wondering how he'll look and imagining his Irish accent. Prearranged bindings are common for magical families like her own. However, when she travels to the whimsical Emerald Isle, she discovers that there's more to her betrothal and McKale's clan than she'd been led to believe. What starts as an obligatory pairing between Robyn and McKale morphs over time into something they both need. But one giant obstacle stands in the way of their budding romance: a seductive and deadly Fae princess accustomed to getting what she wants - and what she wants is McKale as her plaything. Love, desire, and jealousies collide as Robyn's family and McKale's clan must work together to outsmart the powerful Faeries and preserve the only hope left for their ancient bloodlines.
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Source: I borrowed this book from the library via Overdrive, and am planning to purchase it soon.
See Me by Wendy Higgins, read by Chris Dukehart, pub by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 8hrs 21min
This book is standalone. There may or may not ever be a sequel featuring her younger sister.
Lately my biggest bookish pet peeve has been parents etc. who keep really life changing (and even life threatening) secrets from their children. I'm also a bit tired of kids who have been told things but refuse to believe/prepare. So this book gets kudos for going in a completely different direction. Add in the fact that her parents have a bigger role in the book than many YA parents manage and I'm sold.
Although Robyn's parents haven't told her everything, which does cause some drama, they have done their best to prepare her for her faerie mandated wedding and to make her see it as something special rather than something awful. (I do think that they should have been able to make arrangements for them to meet at least once before the time came, Ireland isn't the moon after all.) And she has accepted it, and is excited as well as understandably nervous.
Please see below for a note about the subplot, which I really wish had been left out.
Robyn: She is a tomboy who prefers to hang with the boys, but isn't afraid to put on a skirt and some makeup when she's feeling feminine. For the most part she is very sensible but she does let her sister push her into things that might not be wise.
McKale: His family didn't do as well by him as hers. I really wish we would have gotten a bit more character development for him. We know he plays music and has been emotionally isolated by his differences, but I want to know more.
Robyn & McKale: The book takes place over the course of a summer, so I would have liked to see some more direct interaction. I loved the "dates" and the efforts she made to see that they truly got to know one another. I wasn't pleased that his response to the constant groping & pinching from his kin was amusement and tell her that that's just the way they are and she should get used to it.
This is a world where the capricious, and often cruel, faeries of legend are real. We also have versions of leprechauns and other similar peoples. There are humans from bloodlines with fae gifted magic, and they are required to serve and obey those fae.
Regular humans remain unaware of this, and if a fairy crosses their path, there are people whose job it is to wipe their memories.
The book begins with a prologue, that gives the backstory to how this arranged marriage came to be. (I still really think I would have found someone else to watch the baby)
The subplot is not resolved at the end and there may never be a sequel. The main story is complete however.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- When he wants to try painting her toe nails (his people don't have such modern fripperies) and then freaks when he gets some on himself
- Everything to do with the bin of gifts, and most especially the scenes where she gives it to him.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: The whole subplot involving the "cousin" clan, especially the stuff with the sister. A 16 year old foolishly reckless virgin (I call her that because she makes decisions she isn't emotionally prepared to deal with) and a ?? decades old magical bad boy don't appeal to me as a couple. Plus, I have never liked the "Puck" archetype and don't think drunkenness, groping, irresponsibly impregnanting humans (in the past) and other such things are funny.
OTHER CAUTIONS: One swear word (which was used a number of times) / There are a few very warm scenes, and Robyn is not committed to waiting. / A different couple sleep together after only 2 days, and with no expressed commitment at all. / There is a lot of drinking (it's Ireland) and age isn't a factor. / Note: because they are magical, the age differences between the couple is large enough that it may be disturbing to some.
Character voices differentiated = Enough / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents good = I liked her mother's Irish accent. The others were weird, but were supposed to be, since they specifically called out as being different. / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good. I heard one mispronunciation (but maybe it was a foreign way of saying it) / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual, and it was just a touch slow
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Can recommend any other books with secrets shared and accepted?
- What archetypes do you dislike?
- What are your audiobook pet peeves? (See the interview below for the author's answer)
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
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Bonus Author Interview
If you were to spend a day with your lead characters, what would you do?
I would love, love, love to hang out with Robyn, McKale, and the gang at the Irish waterfall!
What are your pet peeves when listening to an audiobook?
Accents done badly. It makes me cringe. Or when a male narrator does a female voice (or female narrator does a male voice) and it just sounds really silly.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me about two months to write most of See Me, but it took an entire year to write the ending! I knew they had to go into Faerie, and I was putting it off because I was intimidated. Sheesh! ;) And then after I finished it took me another year to revise. This book was a long time coming!
For more information: http://www.wendyhigginswrites.com/
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