Monday, June 13, 2011

Elfland by Freda Warrington

book jacketReview by Jan:

This book first came to my attention in our "Share Your Favorite Sci-fi & Fantasy" page.  It was highly recommended, and though I don't like to be lured by a beautiful cover, once I saw this book and read the teaser on back I had to give it a try. 

I would describe this as a modern faerie tale for adults, rich with compelling characters, all mixed together in dark and gripping family saga.  It is a well crafted spin on Pagan mythology, with faerie-like creatures and Otherworld beliefs.  In Elfland, the magical race are called the Etherials, who live in our world among humans, but every seven years travel into the Spiral to reconnect with their "other" side.   The story begins with the Gatekeeper closing the portal between our world and the Spiral, and centers around Rosie, a daughter of an Etherial, and her turbulent relationship with the Gatekeeper's sons.  I loved how this story followed Rosie's life from childhood to adulthood, with human-like mistakes along the way.      

Although the fantasy elements were very well done, it was the character-driven aspect of the story that kept me thoroughly engrossed.  :o)   It was not a light read, I might add, and I really can't think of an author I would compare Freda Warrington to.  She has an amazing grasp of the English language.  I'm sure my coworkers grew tired of me blurting out beautiful sentences from this book on our breaks in the staff room.  Warrington's writing style is truly beautiful.  However, there are some graphic elements and language some people may find offensive, but I feel those elements added depth to the characters.  They were not perfect, which made their journey all the more compelling. 

It was well worth the read, and will be one of those special books I will remember over others. 

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Request Elfland from The Bangor Public Library

15 comments:

  1. Fantastic review! I agree completely that the character-driven elements were what really made the book. They had flaws, they made mistakes, but I loved that about them. The writing is beautiful too.

    There is also a related book Midsummer Night. Although I liked it, I didn't enjoy it as much as Elfland. All the main characters are different, and it didn't have quite the same intensity. There is going to be a third book, Grail of the Summer Stars that will have some of the characters from Elfland make an appearance, though. I'm really looking forward to that one!

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  2. Thanks Kristen... I read this book because of your recommendation and I really enjoyed it. It's been a while since I've read a sweeping fantasy saga like this. I think George R.R. Martin was my last. I tend to lean toward paranormal romance, but it was a refreshing change. The characters have stayed with me. I noticed Midsummer Night (I have it on my reading list) but I wasn't aware of Grail of the Summer--so thanks for letting me know!
    ~Jan

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  3. Grail of the Summer Stars isn't actually out yet, but it should be out next year. I cannot wait! Freda Warrington also has a pretty big backlist. I really must check out some of her older books sometime!

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  4. So, I just visited Amazon...(after I visited the library catalog with no results) and noticed a book by Warrington called A Taste For Blood and Wine. OMG - I need to get my hands on that book!! Warrington and vampires... you know it's going to be good. And she has a series called Jewelfire. Why have I never heard of these books? British authors sometimes are elusive to our American book stores. I'm on the hunt for the Vampire book though, and will keep you all posted if I get my hands on it! :o)
    ~Jan

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  5. I would love to hear what you think of some of Freda Warrington's other books if you do get a hold of any of them! I've been on the lookout for them, too, but they are hard to find in the US. Elfland was actually her first novel published in the United States, so I guess that's why her other books are so hard to find.

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  6. I just took a trip onto Amazon myself. I would be interested in reading A taste For Blood and Wine. Please keep me posted if the library gets a copy.

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  7. Never underestimate the power of an obsessive reader when hunting down a book by a favorite new author! I just ordered A Taste For Blood and Wine. It's a used copy, and I've never ordered used before, but if it arrives in good condition I will be donating it to the library... after I read it of course!

    Anonymous, if you're a book group member, catch up with me at our next meeting and I'll let you borrow it first!! :o) Jan

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  8. I'm REALLY happy to say that A Taste For Blood and Wine arrived today in my mailbox---looking brand new and beautiful. So, I will be donating it to the library.
    Jan

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  9. Oh, very nice! Let us know how it is - I've been wanting to sample some of Freda Warrington's backlist ever since reading her Aetherial books.

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  10. Okay, I just finished A Taste For Blood and Wine and found it to be... interesting. It is now catalogued in our collection if anyone wants to check it out. It reminded me of a cross between early Anne Rice and a modern paranormal romance---only with Freda's incredible voice. Well worth the read. This author truly has a gift. Unlike Elfland, I found the romance to be the main element of the story, but that may have just been my mood at the time of reading. Her fantasy elements were still very strong, and I loved her theory on why vampires existed. Also, I found the antagonist to be perfectly demented.
    Jan

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  11. I just realized the title is A Taste of Blood Wine---NOT A Taste For Blood and Wine. Sorry if I caused any confusion. I was placing holds on the book and just that little difference caused confusion when searcing our catalog! :o)
    Jan

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  12. I just finished Elfland. It was most certainly thought provoking. I only wondered why Rosie stayed hung up on the youngest brother for so long?????

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  13. Hi Melissa, I understand what you mean. I, too, had to remind myself that Rosie was very young when her infatuation began with the wrong brother!! :o) When she started visiting Sam in prison I was ready for her to move on, and not with the human. But I think misjudgements made during teen years, even early twenties, are valid---a real human fault that made Rosie's character more believable, at least to me.
    Jan

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  14. Thank you for clearing up the title. I am not a book group member but maybe I will stop in one month. I like your book selections. I will be in the library anyway to reserve A Taste Of Blood Wine.

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  15. Anonymous, you are welcome to join our book group anytime... even if you haven't read the book, just drop in one month! Our next meeting is next Thursday, July 21st at 5:30!
    Jan

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