<Book review>

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan (2003)

Do you believe in fairies?

Nor does Henry Atherton:

For a moment Henry Atherton just stood there, mouth open, eyes blinking furiously, as he tried to decide what he was looking at. Hodge had caught a butterfly, of course, but it wasn't a butterfly Henry was seeing. He was seeing a tiny winged figure. The wings were like butterfly wings, but the figure ...
Henry shook his head. He was looking at a fairy!

Well, he may be a fairy, technically, but Pyrgus Malvae isn't exactly what you might be expecting. He's a Crown Prince and a bit on the wayward side. Actually, he's got himself into such a sticky situation in his own realm that his father orders him to be transported temporarily into the Analogue World, just for a while until things blow over. They have an ancient portal that does the transporting. Unfortunately for Pyrgus, and interestingly for Henry, the royal House Iris has a traitor in their midst. So Pyrgus doesn't land on the dream desert island. He lands in Mr Fogarty's back garden.

It looks as though Pyrgus doesn't stand a chance. He's been transported askew, injected with a slow-acting lethal poison, promised as a sacrifice to Beleth the demon, and hung in a cage over liquid brimstone. And all he's got on his side is Henry Atherton who does the gardening for cranky Mr Fogarty, and his sister Blue, the Princess Royal, back in the faerie realm.

See what kind of a job they make of it, between them.

Oh, by the way, there are some fluffy kittens in this story somewhere too. Something about the secret ingredient in Miracle Glue:

He leaned forward and tapped the side of his nose. ''Course that's a secret. Lot of people wouldn't use the glue if they found out it was made from kittens.'

I have to say, I'm nottotally happy with the backdrop to this story. I love the mad fantasy of Faerie Wars. It's real escapism. So I can't help but wonder why Herbie Brennan thought it was necessary to add thesuper realism of Henry's problem mother and her lesbian relationship.I find it a difficult mixture. What do you think? Is there any difference between Henry's difficult home life and, say, the difficult home life of Artemis Fowl?

What can I read next?

If you enjoy meeting fairies with stun wands, then I think you would enjoy reading Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series:

You might also like to look at Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza series:

Or you could have a look at this one by Diana Wynne Jones:

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