Saturday, December 17, 2011

"The Thirteenth Child"

Review - "The Thirteenth Child" by J.L. O'Faolain

Hugely entertaining fantasy

Very highly recommended

Tuulois MacColewyn, Cole for short, is one of the fey.  An sidhe, fairy warrior, one of the wolves of Queen Titania.  Banished from home by King Oberon, he now lives in New York, and survives by taking odd jobs from various fey in the city.  He is also an on-again off-again consultant with the NYPD on cases involving things that make regular detectives uncomfortable.  But that relationship has been difficult of late.  Strained.  Especially since he fell out with James Corhagen, his old contact, sometime friend and...whatever the hell else they were to each other.  Now James is married, a father, and the two haven't talked in over a year.

But that changes when Cole is Summoned, drawn out of the shower into a summoning circle by James.  It seems there have been a series of murders with very unusual circumstances, that require special handling and understanding and experience.  Men and women killed in a most grotesque manner, their hearts literally exploding out of their bodies and yes, exploding.  And worse yet, their infants missing.

Pulled right into the middle of a crime scene, Cole senses the magic involved.  After a promise of double the pay, Cole reluctantly agrees to investigate the crimes.  Working with James is strained, as the man is reluctant to acknowledge that Cole and he have a past.  But at least they have a third to cut some of the tension - Inspector Joss Vallimun.

As the investigation deepens, it appears the murders can be traced back to one of the sidhe.  Can Cole, James and Joss stop the murders, or will it be the end of an immortal?

This is a fantastic, brilliant, imaginative vision of the legend of the fey in present day New York.  J.L. O'Faolain has drawn together supernatural creatures, suspense, murder, humor and yes, unlikely romance, into an exciting, unexpectedly sensitive, sometimes wistful and heady romp of a tale.  I found myself swept up into this world, with its colorful undertones and dark dangerous characters.  This is not just a murder mystery, fantasy novel, romance, or urban thriller, but a fiery and fun mix of all these genres.

And it rocks.

Cole is a hugely complex character, not human, but after having intermingled with them for almost a century, he is not purely fey either.  His interactions and relationships are not traditional, and no single person has been able to fill the gap left in him by being exiled from home. 

"It doesn't do any good to try to hold onto something as it slid impossibly through your fingers".  Such is Cole's life - him never changing, those he loves growing old, away, dying.

I loved this book.  It is not your mama's romance, your boyfriend's thriller, or your little brother's/sister's fantasy.  It is SO much more.

Fun.  Touching in an odd way.  And oh, so good.


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