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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Faerie Rings: The Book of Forests by Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse

Faerie Rings: The Book of Forests by Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 10+
Length: Full Length (317 pags)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Orchid

Rose, Brian and Lily live in Marchland, Vermont where their parents are preparing the family cottage for sale. Rose finds the Book of Faeries, some mysterious rings and then uncovers a hidden, magical door. The three slip through the portal into the land of Faerie where elves, wolves, dragons and other demons surround them. The trio battle a series of dangers-including losing the memory of who they once were-and risk becoming slaves to a world of strange creatures dominated by a Queen who may or may not be a long-lost relation. The reader is irresistibly lured through the magic door along with Rose, Brian and Lily into a dangerous and enchanted land both alluring and treacherous where they must mysteriously find themselves before they can return to the lives they once knew.

The summer holidays for the Seward family should be a happy time. Unfortunately Mrs Seward’s aunt has died and they have the unhappy task of sorting out her home on the edge of the forest. The three children, Rose (14 y.o.), Brian (12 y.o.) and Lily (10 y.o.) are unaware their parents can’t afford to keep the house and intend to put it on the market.

While sorting through Great Aunt Edith’s things they find three lovely rings and each child receives one as a memento of Edith. While their parents are out the children also find “The Book of Forests” and their adventure begins when the book helps them to open the Green Door into the land of Faerie.

Rose feels responsible for her younger siblings, and her magic at first seems to allow her to do this, but it is not as strong as Lily’s and cannot be relied upon. They are found by the Faerie and Queen Mab reveals the Seward’s are distant grandchildren of her daughter Gwenhafar who was banished to the world of man many centuries before. The children are tested and Lily appears to be the true heir to the throne. The Queen assures them she can return them to their own time at the instant they left, so they settle down to enjoy and learn about the land of Faerie. Unfortunately unrest and distrust is taking over the land and Queen Mab needs to solve her problems as well as assure her people all is well now that the heirs have returned to Faerie.

Allegiance is also given to the Queen by wolves, serpents, cats and many other types who can all change to human form when required. Rose is headstrong and finds herself in trouble more than once, but her friendship with Eamonn, brother of the wolf chief, saves her from too much peril.

Fantasy tales always catch my imagination and this is one of the best. It has the magic and mystique of the land of Faerie, but remains believable because Faerie is built with similar constraints to the world we know. The story provides.

This book holds the attention and stirs the imagination. Handsome heroes, strong warriors, nasty mindless flits and huge ever hungry trolls, they are all within the covers of The Book of Forest and weave together to make a truly enchanting read. Plus Rose, Brian and Lily get the chance to be treated as royalty and dress up in fine clothes. Even the Seward’s cat is not as it appears in the everyday world of Vermont.

Told from Rose’s point of view it also reveals how a fourteen year old girl manages to solve her difficulties and protect her siblings.

A truly captivating book for any age. I would recommend this to any lover of fantasy as a book that must be read.

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