Lava Red Feather Blue
Lava Red Feather Blue
by Molly Ringle
3 out of 5
Awakening the handsome prince is supposed to end the fairy tale, not begin it. But the Highvalley witches have rarely done things the way they're supposed to. On the north Pacific island of Eidolonia, hidden from the world by enchantments, Prince Larkin has lain in a magical sleep since 1799 as one side of a truce between humans and fae. That is, until Merrick Highvalley, a modern-day witch, discovers an old box of magic charms and cryptic notes hidden inside a garden statue.
Experimenting with the charms, Merrick finds himself inside the bower where Larkin lies, and accidentally awakens him. Worse still, releasing Larkin from the spell also releases Ula Kana, a faery bent on eradicating humans from the island. With the truce collapsing and hostilities escalating throughout the country, Merrick and Larkin form an unlikely alliance and become even unlikelier heroes as they flee into the perilous fae realm on a quest to stop Ula Kana and restore harmony to their island.
Prince Larkin has been trapped in an enchanted sleep, until bumbling half-fae Merrick awakens him.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Prince Larkin is famed for his sacrifice in the fight against the dangerous faerie Ula Kana. But it's all a lie, he was forced into an enchanted slumber by the court's witch.
Two hundred years later, he has to come to terms with the fact all of his family are long-dead, and he's lost in a world of technological advancements.
Merrick is descended from the witch who imprisoned Larkin, and a complete accident awakened the prince.
Merrick is half-fae, and feels at odds with society, not really knowing where he fits in or how to commit to anything in life. He finally has to step up and do something important, when he realises that only he and Larkin can trap Ula Kana and save Eidolonia.
I loved the idea of this book, a fairytale involving a sleeping prince, on a magical island that can't be found, unless you are invited in.
I feel like I know Eidolonia, and wish I could visit. An island that historically belonged to the fae, but has had a human settlement for a few centuries. Even though humans are the relative newcomers, there are individuals that are always pushing for more territory, and a government that has become corrupt.
The human settlements are at the edge of the faerie land, a place that even half-fa Merrick is not allowed to go. Even though the truce formed when Larkin and Ula Kana were forced into an enchanted sleep is still active, tensions are high between human and fae.
I really liked how the LGBTQ content was included. People (and fae) in Eidolonia are just accepted for who they are.
As the author states, this story doesn't focus on the fact that the main characters are gay. They just are.
Aside from the world-building, it didn't live up to my expectations, for two main reasons.
I didn't like the main characters.
Yes, they're flawed and relatable, but I found them extremely selfish.
Not the big stuff. I mean, I could understand why Larkin was against the first enchantment; and why he refused a second one. But I just felt that there were lots of little moments that just rubbed me up the wrong way. There was nothing positive about him, and I couldn't root for him.
I liked Merrick even less. I thought he was incredibly immature and self-centred. I was surprised he was in his twenties, with all the whining he does.
He has no dreams or ambitions of his own, and belittles everyone else's choices. From Larkin wanting to leave the island, to his sister running a perfumery (which Merrick works at for convenience - yes, he enjoys it too; but he doubts it's a long-term fix).
Merrick then stops supporting Larkin when the prince wants to go public, because he's too worried about how it will reflect on him.
The second reason is how heavy the narrative is with exposition. It slows everything down to a snail's pace. We get told so much about the world, and magic, and the fae.
Even the dialogue is very talky - we are being talked at and having everything explained, from matter witches to cars and computers.
Overall, it was a nice idea, but too slow for me.