Author: Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: YA, Historical, Paranormal
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…
Tiki lives in a world of extremes. While Victorian London is alive with colour, hustle and bustle for those with plenty, those without are forced to live in the slums and do whatever they can to scrape by. An orphan and alone, Tiki is the latter, as is her "family" in Charing Cross - a whole group of orphans working to pick pockets and make enough to live day to day. But even so, money is scare, times are hard and Tiki never knows when her little bit of luck will run out. Then she happens upon the ring; a mysterious and beautiful ring belonging to the Queen, and she is presented with two choices. She can keep the ring and return it for the reward money, or she can venture further into a world of shaky alliances between humans and vengeful fey. Either way, Tiki's life is about to change forever, and she might not be who she thought she was.
Faerie stories are hit or miss for me. I'm not the type who loves glittering faeries born to be tedious little tricksters. Rather, I like my fey to be a bit heinous, a bit mad and whole lot dark and nasty. The Faerie Ring more than easily obliges all my criteria. Author Kiki Hamilton may have very well accomplished the impossible with The Faerie Ring, merging a young adult historical story with the paranormal. Two difficult genres to blend, The Faerie Ring brings the two together in a potent and intoxicating story of truth, dignity and the right to survive at all costs. Battle lines are easily drawn in The Faerie Ring, but peace is the more difficult path, and the tension, compassion and mystery overflow throughout the story.
Tiki is one of the most lovable and engaging heroines that I've read in a while. Right from the start, though she's strong and resilient, you can feel her anger at her situation. Though it simmers lightly below the surface, part of the beauty of The Faerie Ring was that you can sense that she will eventually reach her boiling point, and you're simply waiting to find out when. Despite her circumstances though, Tiki's love for her fellow orphans in Charing Cross was abundant, and the feeling left me feeling comforted by the sense that there was a rock for her charcter no matter where the action took us. In regards to the action, The Faerie Ring was a complete rollercoaster. Fast and furious, the plot is a whirlwind, sweeping us through Victorian London, all the while letting us taste the gritty air, view the extravagance of the wealthy and feel the acrid hatred between the humans and the fey. The transition between historical fiction and paranormal elements was flawless. The two were intertwined in a way that one would be incomplete without the other, which is a feat in and of itself. Furthermore, the full cast of characters in The Faerie Ring were wholly enmeshed in the ever-moving plot, driving it in the right direction from start to finish. I do have to say that Reiker was the one character that, though awesome, confused the heck out of me. I never knew what I was going to get from him, and I'll be honest and say I still had some questions at the end.
The Faerie Ring is a meticulous blend of all the elements of a great story - characters, plot and writing. Entertaining and engrossing from start to finish, it will have you guessing throughout. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA fiction, historical fiction and paranormal.
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.