BOOK REVIEW: Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon

The Courts of the Feyre, Vol III. Alex has been saved from the fate that awaited her in Bedlam, but in freeing her, Niall has released others of their kind into the population. Now, as Warder, he must find them and persuade them to swap their new-found liberty for security in the courts – but is the price of sanctuary to swap one cage for another?

The world of Feyre and its courts have been described by many authors.  Some hold more closely to the classical view of the Fairy, others create their own versions loosely based on the writings of older authors or folk tales.  In Strangeness and Charm, Mike Shevdon takes the essence of the tales and both magnifies and improves on the ancient beliefs that many early Europeans held of these magical beings, as well as carefully blending historical fact into his fiction.

In this, the third volume on The Courts of the Feyre, we join Naill Petersen recently made a Warden of the Courts.  He is charged with the protection of humans against rouge Fey, as per an agreement between the Fairy leaders and human governments.  He and his fellow wardens find them and either bring them to Court for judgement, or kill them if they resist.  Naill is a hybrid of human and Fairy.  Having gained his Fey heritage, he can do magic, and apparently so can his daughter Alex.  This causes problems between his X-wife, Alex and Naill, as well as in the relationship between Naill and his current Fey partner Blackbird, mother of his infant son.

Alex gained her powers while being confined within a black ops research facility where they were experimenting on those of Fairy heritage, along with other inmates.  Naill rescued Alex, released the inmates, and took Alex to the Courts, leaving the others to fend for themselves.  Now it is Naill’s job to bring those who escaped to the Courts for judgement.  Depending on the individual, their abilities and the willingness to conform to unspoken standards, the outcome of this process is either acceptance into Fey society or death.  Unfortunately, having gaining her abilities, Alex leaves the Courts without permission and joins some of the escapees.  Worse, some of them have plans to destroy the Courts, which will also destroy the Earth, and all its human inhabitants, unless Naill can find them and prevent the disaster.

I haven’t read the other volumes, but this book is self-contained, and I missed nothing in the plot for having not read the previous two.  Descriptive, well thought out and historically accurate, I found this a great read.  The mechanisms for using magic by the Fey made sense and I highly recommend this book.  I look forward to reading the first volume as soon as I can.

Rating: 5/5
Reporter: Whatotherway, Montoya

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