Aurelie: A Faerie Tale

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Overview

Once upon a time, three children and a little river dragon were the best of friends—until a promise was broken. Now they are almost grown up and barely speaking to one another. With her country in turmoil, Aurelie is sent on a peacekeeping mission. But how can she prevent a war when she can’t even make her friends get along? Heartsick at losing her dearest companions, especially the handsome Garin, Aurelie finds comfort in her secret, late-night trips to fairyland. But a princess can’t hide from her duties ...

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Aurelie: A Faerie Tale

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Overview

Once upon a time, three children and a little river dragon were the best of friends—until a promise was broken. Now they are almost grown up and barely speaking to one another. With her country in turmoil, Aurelie is sent on a peacekeeping mission. But how can she prevent a war when she can’t even make her friends get along? Heartsick at losing her dearest companions, especially the handsome Garin, Aurelie finds comfort in her secret, late-night trips to fairyland. But a princess can’t hide from her duties forever. Her country needs her, and so do her friends—whether they know it or not.

 

Aurelie is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Cara Chancellor
As children, they were inseparable: Aurelie, the princess-heir of Jocondagne; Netta, her companion; Garin, a fosterling from the nearby island nation of Skoe; and Loic, a river drac of the mystical fae. A touch of Loic's magic ointment on each of their left eyes allowed the three humans to see the other fae—from the graceful tree spirits to fearful dragons—under the condition that they must never reveal their ability. When Netta accidentally betrays her sight while saving a child's life, the fae's revenge breaks the fellowship and casts Netta, Garin, and Loic far from Jocondagne. Now, with war brewing between Aurelie's home and Skoe, she must find a way to reunite her friends before Skoe's ruthless new ruler takes down Jocondagne and Fairyland itself. Aurelie is a wonderful introduction to the world of Faerie, one which is consistent with traditional myths—such as sighting ointment and faerie revels—yet keeps the lore from becoming overwhelming by limiting its scope. While Tomlinson's fae are on par with those in any adult fantasy novel, her human characters are noticeably one-dimensional, making the book most suitable for younger teens or those just beginning to explore the genre. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
Children's Literature - Quinby Frank
A colorful assortment of lutins, farfadets, gargouilles, and river dracs—denizens of the world of Fae—propel the action in this charmingly romantic tale. Princess Aurelia, Heir to the Jocondagnan throne, has grown up playing with Loic, a young river drac, and her human friends Netta and Garin. Loic's fondness for his human friends has allowed them to experience the faerie world as other humans cannot, but now Garin has returned to his home in Skoe, Jocondagne's enemy, and Netta has been blinded by Loic's powerful drac father as punishment for recognizing his identity. Aurelia must try and prevent war with the Skoerans by undertaking a dangerous diplomatic mission. All goes wrong as the evil Captain Inglis, chief of Skoe's governing council, sabotages the mission. Inglis has also seen to it that Garin is accused of treason. Garin escapes to Jocondagne and, as the Skoerans are attacking, Aurelia and Garin find each other and declare their love. All ends happily as Loic finds his true love, Netta, and Inglis and her minions are destroyed. The fantasy is cleverly crafted, and there is plenty of danger and excitement to keep the pages turning. Aurelia is a strong character with believable self-doubts, and the villains are without redeeming qualities and are punished accordingly. A satisfying fairy tale. Reviewer: Quinby Frank
School Library Journal

Gr 7-9

In an old world where the lives of humans and Fae often intersect, the coming-of-age tale of Princess Aurelie and her friends of both species unfolds. Gifted as children by their young river drac friend, Loic, humans Aurelie, Garin, and Netta have grown up and gone their separate ways, no longer engaging with the Fae. As often happens in the move beyond childhood, the world becomes more complicated and difficult choices must be made. Aurelie is to inherit her father's kingdom and, as the heir apparent, must travel to a rival country-Skoe-in order to prevent war. Netta, cruelly blinded for revealing the sight, hides herself from her old friends. Garin is deeply enmeshed in a struggle for power in his own country of Skoe. Loic has also grown and realizes that the time has come to take a bride. He longs for the hidden Netta, but will settle for Aurelie. With little help from the adults in their lives, these fascinating young people (and one river drac) must find ways to overcome not only their own problems, but also the troubles brought about by greed and distrust. Political intrigue, star-crossed lovers, and the intermingling of two distinct worlds make for an exciting and intricate tale. The many characters and situations are fully realized and spellbound readers will be hoping for a sequel.-Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Princess Aurelie and her two closest friends, Garin and Netta, grew up playing with Loic, a river drac, and have the gift of being able to see the Fae, on the condition that no one should ever know. Netta's inadvertent slip has resulted in their blindness, and with Garin returned to his original kingdom-now at odds with Aurelie's Lumielle-royal diplomatic duties bring Aurelie little joy. Tomlinson immerses readers in a world of intrigue and magic with surprisingly clarity. As the possibility of war looms and her hand in marriage seems to be the only value she possesses for achieving peace, Aurelie's difficulties multiply with Loic's wooing, Netta's subservience and Garin's Jocandagnian heritage. Sharply realized characters abound in both magical and human form; the narration shifts focus from character to character, Netta, Garin and Loic voicing their own accounts in the third person while Aurelie's takes a third-person limited form. Vivid descriptions and intricate plot twists convey that most traditional element of all faerie stories-the misunderstandings between humans and the Fae despite the best intentions. (Fantasy. YA)
From the Publisher
“Intriguing fantasy . . . a Shakespearean tangle of love stories.”—Booklist, Starred Review

 

“Political intrigue, star-crossed lovers, and the intermingling of two distinct worlds make for an exciting and intricate tale. The many characters and situations are fully realized and spellbound readers will be hoping for a sequel.”—School Library Journal

“Sharply realized characters abound in both magical and human form. . . . Vivid descriptions and intricate plot twists convey that most traditional element of all faerie stories—the misunderstandings between humans and the Fae despite the best intentions.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

“Aurelie is a wonderful introduction to the world of Faerie, one which is consistent with traditional myths—such as sighting ointment and faerie revels—yet keeps the lore from becoming overwhelming by limiting its scope.”—KLIATT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312602758
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

HEATHER TOMLINSON has taught English in Paris and French in the U.S. Her next book, Toads and Diamonds, will be available from Henry Holt in Spring 2010. Heather lives on a houseboat in and around southern California with her engineer husband and cats X, Y, and Z. Visit her at www.heathertomlinson.com.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1: Netta

We promised, the three of us. No one would discover that we could see the Fae. Too dangerous, Loic had warned, rubbing his nurse’s magic ointment on our left eyes. It stung. I remember blinking through the pain, thrilled at a story come to life: his scaled legs and lizard tail, a boy’s arms, torso, and handsome face. After that one solemn moment years ago, the little river drac’s hyacinth-blue gaze was never so serious again.
But we believed him. We’d heard Madame Brebisse’s tales around the fire of a night, while Princess Aurelie polished her flute and I arranged my mother’s needles on a piece of felt. The Skoeran boy, Garin, would even put aside his book to listen. The princess’s old nurse said that lesser Fae, lutins, and farfadets, were a mixed lot. If a farmwife left honey cakes on her back step, they might repay her by caring for sick animals and fixing broken tools. Or they might tease her rooster into crowing all night. Other Fae, like the skeletal White Ladies, dragon-like gargouille, and shape-shifting river drac, preyed on men. Their attention could be fatal.
Summer after summer we kept our friend’s gift a secret, meeting by the river to play Seek the Princess and Skoeran Pirates. Later, Loic would transform himself into different shapes to amuse us. It was all glorious fun, until one market-day in Cantrez, the year I turned fifteen. As I left the bakery with a hot braided loaf for Aurelie, I saw a suck-breath stalking a baby.
It looked like a bundle of sticks, wrapped in wrinkled gray skin and topped with a shock of white hair. The suck-breath, not the baby, who slept in a basket under Rosine the flower-seller’s table.
A night nuisance, suck-breaths. I’d never seen one abroad in daylight before, and perhaps that’s what rattled me. Like a fool, I walked straight over to it. Rosine was busy helping the butcher’s wife select roses and greenery for her daughter’s wedding party. I crouched to coo at the baby. The suck-breath hissed and twitched away from the bread’s yeasty scent. I broke a piece off the braided loaf, took a bite and chewed, my throat dry. The rest, I dropped into the basket.
Casually, I thought, but Rosine noticed. Suck-breaths were invisible, but in Cantrez, mothers knew what the bread meant. Or else she had smelled the odor of vinegar and old shoes that clung to the ugly Fae. Nothing like Loic’s smell of river reeds, and moist earth, and musk.
“Good morning, Netta.” The flower vendor greeted me, then bent to smooth her baby’s blanket. When she stood up, she set the basket on the table beside her, out of the Fae’s reach. The baby gurgled, and was quiet again. “How fares the royal household this fine day?”
“Well, thank you, Rosine,” I answered. We chatted about the weather, and the dress my mother had made for Princess Aurelie (raspberry silk, trimmed with creamy white ribbons and lace I’d made myself, a new pattern from the capital), and whether Queen Basia’s delicate health was improving in the mountain air.
Denied the baby’s milky breath, the disappointed suck-breath kicked over two tall pails of sunflowers, and another of irises, and stamped away.
“Ah, clumsy!” Rosine said to no one in particular. “Give me a hand, would you, Netta?”
“Of course.” I picked up a pail and fetched more water from the fountain. Gathering the fallen stems, we quickly set the stall to rights. When we’d finished, Rosine gave me a bouquet of irises. She wouldn’t accept payment.
“No, thank you, Netta.” She stroked her baby’s head and we both knew what she meant. I hoped she wouldn’t tell anyone what had—or hadn’t—happened.
The irises were the color of Loic’s eyes, a deep, rich blue, almost violet. Mountain-born folk, like the queen’s family and my own, had dark eyes, brown or black. The foster boy Garin’s were a changeable gray-green, and King Raimond’s a steely blue. But looking into Loic’s eyes was like watching a piece of the night sky just before the stars come out. It made me feel the same way, hushed inside, but joyful, too. Like listening to Aurelie and her mother play their flutes, or swimming in the river on a summer morning, water sliding cool along my skin.
As I retraced my steps to the bakery for a new loaf, I spotted the rare, magical color again. This time, on the coat of a gentleman in plumed hat and buckled shoes, inspecting the pistols displayed in a gunsmith’s window.
At least, that’s what my right eye told me. My left insisted on a lizard’s tail under the coat, the sheen of scales, and a wispy blue fin that sprouted from the drac’s back to drift in an unseen current. Watching him with both eyes made me dizzy, as if the two shapes, Fae and human, didn’t belong in the same space. Though smaller, Loic shimmered like that whenever our games took him far from the river.
I realized that I was gawking at my secret friend’s father. Fear fluttered in my throat; my cheeks burned. I stared at my shoes and hoped he wouldn’t notice me. Prayed the suck-breath hadn’t tattled. Too late to turn around; the bakery was on the other side of the gunsmith. If I’d been clever, like Garin, or brave, like the princess, it might have been all right. But I wasn’t.
“Good day, Mademoiselle,” he said. “What lovely flowers.”
His voice made me think of vanilla custard sliding off a golden spoon. Madame Brebisse said the drac used that voice to lure his victims into the river. People who amused him and his wife would be released after a night of feasting in their underground palace. Dull guests paid for the privilege with their purse. I’d never asked Loic what happened to those both poor and stupid, but I assumed I was about to find out. Aurelie would have given the drac a polite smile and forged on; Garin would have eased away with a witty remark. I wasn’t as strong.
As lazily as a toad catches a fly, the drac’s voice snagged the disastrous truth from my lips. “You’re kind to say so, Monsieur le drac,” I stammered.
Immediately, I wished I had bitten my tongue. Idiot! I knew better than to acknowledge one of the Fae when he wore a human shape. I curtsied, hoping the drac would overlook the slip and let me pass.
Instead he seized my elbow and twisted, jerking me upright. “I beg your pardon, Mademoiselle?”
“That is,” I flailed, as if we were still discussing flowers. “The irises are much prettier growing wild along the river, aren’t they? A bolder blue, and yellow…” even to my own ears, my voice sounded guilty.
“You recognize me?” Each word hard as diamond.
“No,” I said, my face hot. “I’m sure we’ve never been introduced, Monsieur.”
The drac’s voice was almost gentle. “Alas, Mademoiselle. It grieves me, but I cannot permit a mortal, even one as charming as yourself, such familiarity with my affairs.”
“P-please, Monsieur,” I stuttered.
“How did you come by your so-acute perception, I wonder?” the drac inquired.
At least I could protect my friends. I locked my chattering teeth on the answer and stared hard at the irises. I’m not sorry; their celestial blue flags were the last thing I saw before the drac’s claws stabbed out and blinded me.

Excerpted from AURELIE by Heather Tomlinson.
Copyright © 2008 by Heather Tomlinson.
Published in 2010 by Square Fish.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    BEWARE READ FIRST!!!

    I was thinking about reading this book as it was recommended from a friend. Though now I do not feel the need as the review to the left written by Quinby Frank because it told the entire story. So honestly, if your thinking about buying the book, I wouldn't read that review.

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