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Knife by R J Anderson
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3233134,306 (4.15)6
Authors:R J Anderson
Info:Orchard (2009), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Spell Hunter by R. J. Anderson

  1. 10
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (stephxsu)
    stephxsu: Similar independent and versatile female protagonist.

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Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.

Generally speaking, I know how good a book is if I almost die while reading it. I tend to read while walking and if the book is good enough, chances are I'll stupidly walk into traffic and almost give some innocent driver a heart-attack.

That didn't happen with the Faery Rebel series, I only tripped and fell onto some train tracks while reading them, but I knew then and there that they were wonderful.

First of all, the main protagonist is a tiny fairy who still manages to be more badass than almost all action heroes combined. Seriously, Rambo had better watch out for Knife, if he wanders too near her tree - that's how awesome she is.
Second, I absolutely LOVE that [a:R.J. Anderson|1330287|R.J. Anderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1225053848p2/1330287.jpg] included a main character who is not able-bodied. In most fantasy books these characters either do not exist or there's some magic to make it all a-ok. I can not emphasise enough how great it is to have one who, for lack of a more literary expression, "keeps it real".
And third, the plot! I could start quoting and commenting but I'd just end up quoting the whole thing and making a fool of myself, and even with the spoilers tag I could not do it justice.

Great series! ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
I loved the first half of this book and it did a lot of things right, but I was vastly less thrilled with the second half. Spoilers incoming.

Things I liked:
- The way fairy culture was portrayed as distinctly different from human life and the way Knife and Paul learned about each other's people

- The strong friendships that developed over the course of the book; not just Knife and Paul's but especially the one between Knife and Wink (both her "mother" and her friend), and Knife and her mentor Thorn, and even Wink and Thorn, although we only got the faintest glimpse of the latter

- The male lead (and in fact the only male character of any importance in the book) is a boy in a wheelchair! I would've preferred if that wasn't mostly just used as a source of frustration and feelings of inferiority, but still. How many romantic leads in wheelchairs do you see in the media?

- Some of Queen Amarylis' moral ambiguity, with her ultimately doing the best she can

Things I didn't really care for:
- The love story itself, especially once the ~forbidden love~ element came into it, complete with "Oh if I stay a fairy, we can never love each other!". As Thorn would say, hedgehog droppings.

- The way the narrative danced around whether Amarylis was really an "evil queen" or not. After it became clear that she was doing all she could to protect the Oakenwyld, I got really tired of all the "Oh but she's *really* ruthless! Really, I mean it this time!" fakeouts.

- The overall lack of details (substance? I find it hard to pinpoint what exactly bothered me here) and how the (adult?) reader solves the mystery at around the halfway point while it takes the characters until near the end of the book. Which I realise is mostly because I'm not the target audience (I think the publisher made the right call when they recommended this book for "ages 11 and up") and is probably my least "severe" problem with the book, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Things I disliked enough to drop this book down to three stars:
- The way the entirety of fairy culture is completely dependant on humans to the point where (the answer to) the whole main mystery is that the fairies of the Oak are all dying because they're not in contact with humans anymore, and that without the fragile workaround of the eggs they not only need humans to stay alive but even to just procreate. (I am trying really hard not to think about the unfortunate implications of the Oakenwyld fairies being an all-female race who literally cannot keep functioning without outside help.) Related:

- The whole genius/muse myth. I think the author was trying to make the relationship between fairies and humans more symbiotic by having fairies give humans "inspiration", but even if ~geniuses~ didn't bother me in general I don't think that would've worked for me: clearly humans have been doing just fine without regular fairy contact because they don't need geniuses everywhere, while fairies are, as mentioned above, utterly dependant on humans. And what kind of sense does that make anyway? Fairies need creativity to live, but they are not capable of creativity themselves, but they can inspire it in humans and then take human creativity back to their people? Pffffffff.

- The lack of communication in the ending/before Amarylis casts the spell that makes Knife human permanently. Way to take the decision out of our heroine's hands "for her own good"! (And she had planned to do something very similar to Paul instead. I know I'm not the only one who thinks that isn't such a stellar basis for a romantic relationship that we're supposed to hope lasts a lifetime.)

So, yeah. I did enjoy the book overall and would like to hear more from the fairies of the Oak or other wylds, but for the above reasons, I'm more than weary of picking up the other books in this series. ( )
  Lymsleia | Jul 6, 2013 |
Something isn't quite right in the Oakenwyld. The fairies are terrified to go outside, they're losing their creativity, and their numbers are dwindling. Young Bryony has a chance face-to-face meeting with a human that leaves the other fairies aghast and Bryony remorseful but curious. After Bryony comes of age, Queen Amaryllis appoints her as the Queen's Hunter. Bryony is thrilled. Now she gets to venture out of the tree on legitimate business every day and see a bit of the wider world. She starts to question the way things are, and soon she finds herself torn between not wanting to endanger her friends and trying to find out if she can help them lead a better life.

I enjoyed this. I love fairy tales and I love the idea of fairies. Unfortunately, most of the modern books I pick up about fairies disappoint me. They're so very dark and dangerous. I want to see the cute little flower fairies. (Why, yes, I do think Disney Fairies are the cutest things ever!) This delivered the cute fairies with flowery names while also giving me a mystery that kept my attention. This is probably more of a middle-grade book than a young-adult book, but I still couldn't guess how everything was going to tie together and end up. There's a little darkness, a little twisty-ness, but nothing that went too overboard.

Bryony is such a feisty little thing, I couldn't help but love her. She's practically fearless. Fearless can lead to stupidity in real life, and it happened a little with Bryony too. She would occasionally get over-confident and she'd pay the consequences and learn from her mistakes. She isn't content with hearing, "That's the way things are," she wants to know why things are the way they are and if it doesn't make sense to her, she challenges the status quo.

The next book in the series, [b:Wayfarer|6399294|Wayfarer (Faery Rebels, #2)|R.J. Anderson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1261096445s/6399294.jpg|6587991], was just released in the US, and I'll be keeping an eye out for it. This was a nice little break for me.

Pick this up if you don't like your fairies quite so dark. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, it didn't look like much and the blurb wan't terribly exciting. Knife is captured by humans and is unsure what they're going to do to her... yeah, not much here that I haven't read before.

Knife comes from a tree, she grows up wondering what's going wrong with faery and wondering if it's possible to fix it. The magic in her world is diminishing and things aren't going well for anyone. Knife's curiousity gets her into trouble when she ventures into the human space but what she discovers will change the lives of faerie and human, both.

I did like it, I found it an enjoyable read and probably would have read it quicker if I had the US cover. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Aug 30, 2012 |
Bryony (Knife) lives in an ancient oak tree at the bottom of a garden in an isolated community of fairies. Life is tough, survival is not ensured. When she is selected as fairy Queen Amaryllis’s hunter, her survival skills are put to the test and the pressure is on as the community relies on her hunting abilities. Bryony takes the new name ‘Knife’ after she steals a blade from the humans which fashions it into a formidable weapon. One foe is Old Wormwood, a crow who has eaten several of the fairies and developed a taste for them. Knife tries to discover why the fairies have lost their magical abilities and are slowly dying out. They no longer have any artistic abilities and have lost many traditional fairy skills. When Knife tumbles into the lap of a wheelchair bound human, Paul, the story takes an interesting turn. This is a magically woven and original take on the fairy world. Very enjoyable. ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | Aug 7, 2011 |
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To my father, the voice of Aslan;

To my mother, who taught me to do what is right and not give way to fear;

And to my brother Pete, who may not believe in faeries but always believed in me.
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"I only want to go out for a little, little while," the faery child pleaded.
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In a dying faery realm, only the brave and rebellious faery Knife persists in trying to discover how her people's magic was lost and what is needed to restore their powers and ensure their survival, but her quest is endangered by her secret friendship with a human named Paul.… (more)

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