Monday, November 20, 2017

Stranger Magics, by Ash Fitzsimmons

Harper Voyager Impulse, ISBN 9780062686725, November 2017

Colin Leffee is a dealer in used and rare books, living quietly over his shop in Rigby.

He's also a half-Fae prince, at odds with his mother, Titania, working with a priest to stop other Fae who amuse themselves by harassing humans.

His relatively quiet life is disrupted when a sullen, teenage changeling is dropped on his doorstep.

The teenager is his daughter, but she was raised to regard Titania as her mother. When Colin figures out that she is his daughter, he wants to return her to her mother--a woman he had a brief affair with years ago. This girl, though, whom Titania called Moyna but whose mother, Colin's old love, Meggy, named Olive, is absolutely determined to return to Titania, and doesn't believe Colin when he says that Titania won't allow a changeling she's thrown out to return.

Colin's troubles are just beginning.

Mab has her own disastrous scheme, that will restore her to control of Faerie, but will destroy the human world.

What we get here are Fae who are people, but who are not human--who have culture, traditions, and bad habits that feel real. Colin likes humans, but he's by no means an unambiguously good guy. He's got lines he won't cross, but other lines that he happily will cross. His priest partner, Father Paul, has notebooks full of notes on Colin, his own and those of his predecessors, on handling him safely. There are also humans capable of magic--wizards, now largely under the management of the Arcanum, which Colin has a very tricky relationship with. Wizards would usually rather kill him, and he's not fond of wizards, either.

Then there's his brother, Robin, whose fun he keeps interfering with. Also Oberon, Robin's father but not Colin's, who has largely retired from Faerie, with his own court, to live in southern Florida.

And there's Mab, and her evil plot, which neither Colin, nor Titania, nor Oberon, nor Robin, suspect, until Mab tricks Robin into triggering a trap, and it blows up in his and Colin's faces, incidentally sucking Moyna/Olive and her mother Meggy into Faerie, and closing off Faerie from the human world, apparently permanently.

Oh, and one side effective of this will be to let the Grey Lands into the human realm, destroying the human world has habitable space for humans.

Colin, Robin, Father Paul's new seminarian assistant, Joey, and a human wizard of really questionable background (her father was a wizardly mass murderer, and she's had her powers partially bound by the Arcanum) have to work together, with access to magic pretty thoroughly cut off, to undo the closing of Faerie and save humans, Titania's court, and Oberon's.

I love these characters and their world. There's no necessity for a sequel to this book, but I'd love to see more of this world.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.