When we think of fairies, we often think of happy little sprites like Tinkerbell, or adorable tiny houses and glitter magic. However, these fairy princesses are a far cry from where the mythology of the fae began in the days of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
K. Kibbee’s Forests of the Fae series (Final installment, Lang’s Labyrinth coming from Incorgnito Publishing Press, April 23, 2018), re-introduces us to those sinister and mischievous fae roots, initially meant as cautionary tales to keep children from entering the forests alone.
In the series, Kibbee weaves a tale about a realm beyond our own, a dark forest, a raven queen, and the strength of a powerful friendship between two teenaged girls. Her lyrical and accessible prose, paired with her effortless blending of realistic and supernatural elements, will leave even the most skeptical reader swept up in this fictional world.
Thirteen year old Anne is distraught at the prospect of being banished to stay with her relatives in a small Washington State town for the summer, that is, until she learns about the abandoned cluster of old Victorian homes hidden in the woods nearby. Little does she know that within the abandoned town lies the door to another realm: The Forests of the Fae.
After inadvertently opening said door, Anne’s life is changed forever as she unravels the mysteries of her town, and of the fae. From discovering the secrets behind a century-old mass human disappearance and communing with ghosts [Devlin’s Door, 2016], to fleeing dark fae folk, and discovering that her best friend Grace is trapped in the body of a Raven Queen (The Raven Queen, 2017], Anne gets a crash course in the lore of the faeries, and in what she and Grace must do to save her town and the goodness in both worlds.
The Forests of the Fae series not only stands out from the crowd for its roots in faerie mythology of yore, but also in its celebration of the power that everyday girls have to make a difference.
Neither Anne, nor her best friend Grace, have superpowers or secret royal blood like so many heroines in this genre. They’re just ordinary, clever girls with a fierce friendship, who never give up working towards what they believe is right.
“I am a big believer in the common heroine,” says Kibbee. “Not enough girls and women feel empowered by being simply who they are.”
My ten year old read this and says it would have been easier to get up to speed if she had read the series from the start, but it was written well enough that she could pick up enough of the background. In essence, the book can stand on its own if a reader were to just drop in mid-series.
She also really liked the dark theme, that it wasn’t glitz and glitter fairies. As a tween, she’s now interested in a bit of edge and noir in her material.
This kid of mine is pretty confident so she already says she knows she can achieve great feats if she puts her mind to it; this is a child who has for years said she plans on being POTUS (President of the US.) However, she says there are girls she knows who would probably benefit quite a bit from the book’s take-away: that ordinarily people can do extraordinary things.