From the Publisher
Fans of dark Faerie stories will find this appealing. Liza is a strong female protagonist, and her story provides not only suspense in terms of the survival of the earth and humans, but also looks at different mother-daughter relationships, the power of promises, and the strength of love. This is a riveting story that should find fans at both junior and high school. Those who read the earlier tale will be eager to find its sequel.
From School Library Journal:
Simner paints a hauntingly exquisite portrait of a postapocalyptic world. Faerie Winter is a beautifully crafted tale, peopled with believable characters and overflowing with dramatic plot twists. But perhaps the most exceptional quality is the vivid imagery that plunges readers into the story and keeps them enchanted throughout. Fans of both fantasy and dystopian fiction will devour this one.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Teenager Liza's discovery of Ben, a dying burnt boy buried in the snow is the catalyst for her to embark on a journey through Faerie's frozen landscape in this Bones of Faerie (2009) sequel. Liza asks her friend Matthew, who can transform into a wolf, to leave their community to retrieve Caleb, an expert healer, in Faerie to tend the boy's surviving brother Ethan, who magically starts fires. When Matthew does not return as promised, Liza follows his paw prints in the snow, hoping they will lead her to him. Two traveling companions, brothers Johnny and Kyle, accompany Liza. The trio possesses magical powers which aid them in their search. Liza carries a quia tree leaf necklace, which Caleb gave her mother Tara during their romance, for protection in the hostile Faerie environment. The icy bleak setting torments Liza who frets when Johnny disappears and a hawk abducts Kyle. She realizes that the Lady of Faerie has secured control of Matthew who is under her spell. Liza is forced into a Faerie versus human confrontation in which she battles the Lady and her malicious granddaughter. Her dilemma intensifies when the cruel Lady demands Liza make irreversible decisions regarding her mother's fate. Liza utilizes her intelligence and cleverness as she attempts to outwit the seemingly invincible Faeries and save her mother, friends, and nature. Her traits, particularly being selfless, devoted, dependable, and honorable, empower Liza. Compare imagery, themes, and characterizations which effectively convey physical and emotional challenges Liza endures in this fantasy featuring literary elements from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Ice Maiden" and Patricia Wrede's Snow White and Red Rose (1989). Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
VOYA - Mary Ann Darby
After war between Faerie and humanity, both worlds are devastated and neither world knows if life and spring can return. Caught squarely in the struggle between Faerie and human is Liza, daughter of Tara who may have been responsible for starting the war four decades earlier. While Liza is out one night using her Summoning powers to help put human spirits to rest, she comes across a toddler who has been fatally burned. The boy whispers a name before she puts him to rest, and starts Liza on a trail that leads her to the Lady of Faeries herself, who has come to finish destroying the humans. When Matthew, the young man Liza loves, falls victim to the Lady, she becomes more determined than ever to help Karin, Liza's teacher and daughter to the Lady. The two daughters must stop the Lady and ensure that spring does return to both worlds. This is a sequel to Bones of Faerie (Random House, 2009/VOYA February 2009) that can stand alone because of the backstory provided by character dialogue. Fans of dark Faerie stories will find this appealing. Liza is a strong female protagonist, and her story provides not only suspense in terms of the survival of the earth and humans, but also looks at different mother-daughter relationships, the power of promises, and the strength of love. This is a riveting story that should find fans at both junior and high school. Those who read the earlier tale will be eager to find its sequel. Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby
In the post-apocalyptic world left after the war between the human realm and Faerie, it's been winter for very long time. Since 15-year-old Liza called the magical quia tree to life at the end of Bones of Faerie (2010), even the evergreens have dropped their needles in a cold season that seems likely to be unending. Like the rest of the children born in After—since the war—Liza has magical powers. Her visions and abilities to command the living will certainly come in handy when she follows her erstwhile boyfriend (who can shift to wolf form) on a quest to bring a healer to her beleaguered village. It seems unlikely that her powers will be sufficient to protect herself and the Afters accompanying her from the enemy at the gates, however, especially when she sees how powerful that enemy is. The discovery of old secrets helps set up for the next volume in this series. Oddly, Liza's tale works despite the jumble of crowd-pleasing elements (post-apocalyptic dystopia, multigenerational faerie love stories, werewolf heartthrob). Graphic descriptions of murdered children push the story older than the reading level of its prose, but that just leaves it as an entertaining if quick adventure for those impatiently awaiting the next, heftier entry by Cassandra Clare or Julie Kagawa. (Fantasy. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this sequel to Bones of Faerie (Random, 2009), Simner paints a hauntingly exquisite portrait of a postapocalyptic world. The war between the Mortal and Faerie worlds has had disastrous consequences. Faerie is destroyed, and humans are in the grips of a winter so deep that not even the green hearts of slumbering seeds can stir. Survivors live in small, huddled colonies, threatened by starvation and fearful of outsiders and all things magical. Like all children born after the war, Liza, 16, possesses magical abilities that society believes in suppressing. Along with the rest of her village, she and her mother await a spring they fear may never arrive. Then one evening a strange boy with badly burned hands stumbles from the woods, mumbling incoherently and hinting at terrible danger. Liza decides to investigate. What she discovers is a nightmare: a vengeful Faerie Queen has been tricking human children into using their powers to destroy what remains of humanity. Now Liza must find a way to stop the queen's deadly plot and put an end to the winter before all is lost. But spring brings its own dangers…. Faerie Winter is a beautifully crafted tale, peopled with believable characters and overflowing with dramatic plot twists. But perhaps the most exceptional quality is the vivid imagery that plunges readers into the story and keeps them enchanted throughout. Fans of both fantasy and dystopian fiction will devour this one.—Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI
Read an Excerpt
Snow crunched beneath my boots as I patrolled the winter forest, a gray wolf by my side.
Low on the horizon, a waxing moon shone through the trees, silvering the bare branches of oak and ash, sycamore and elm. Cold bit through the tips of my leather gloves, and my breath puffed into the still air. An oak branch swung at me, sleepy and slow. The wolfMatthewgrowled a warning, but I ducked out of the way easily enough. The oak sighed, but it didn't try again. The trees were too tired to do much harm this winter.
I walked carefully over a line of fire ants melting a trail through the snow. Nearby I heard the clicking of termites chewing dead wood. Termites were among the few creatures who hadn't gone hungry since the leaves had fallen from the trees.
Beneath a pine that had dropped all its needles, a patch of ice-frosted ferns shivered. Something dark moved among the fernsMatthew's ears stiffened into alertness. I slowed my steps and rested my hand against his back. We walked forward together.
A shadow hunkered amid the ferns, shapeless and trembling. As I knelt before it, the shadow took on a human shape, arms and legs and face, features smudged and indistinct in the moonlight. A childin one hand it held out a toy, shaped like a dinosaur from Beforelong Before.
I removed my glove and took the child's other hand in my own. Shadow fingers passed right through mine, and cold shivered through me. I reached out with my magic, and that magic was cold, too. Cold bound us one to another, shadow and living, strong as twisted rope. Softly I asked, "What is your name?"
Something deep within the shadow yearned toward me, aching to be called back to life. "Ben." His hoarse voice was at the edge of hearing.
I couldn't call any shadow back to life. "Seek sleep, Ben." I put my magicmy powerinto the words. "Seek rest, seek darkness, seek peace."
Icy numbness spread through my fingers. Ben whimpered as he sank into the ferns and the snow. His fingers slipped from mine. "Ethan," he whispered, and then he was gone, leaving behind only a moon-bright whiteness that stung my eyes.
Cold shot through my palm and up my arm. Matthew nudged my other hand, and I remembered the glove I held. I pulled it on. Tingling warmth spread through my fingers, until I could move them once more. "Thanks, Matthew." I pressed my nose to his. Our frosted breaths, human and wolf, mingled in the air.
Matthew made a quiet sound. "Time to go home," I agreed. We turned from the ferns, back toward the path and the chores that waited in town. I scanned the snow and brush around us, but I didn't see any more shadows.
At least it was only human shadows we needed to watch for now. Until this winter, the trees had held shadows of their own, and those shadows had attacked anyone desperate enough to venture out at night. The trees' roots and branches had attacked, too, by day and night both.
But now the trees had dropped their leaves and they slept, and instead human shadows from Before roamed the woods at night, shadows of those who'd died during the War with Faerie. Sometimes those shadows drifted into town, looking for lost loved ones. I still remembered the look on Matthew's grandmother's face when the daughter I hadn't known she'd had appeared at her door. At least she'd let me lay that shadow to rest. Another of our townsfolk had shivered to death when he wouldn't let go of the shadow of his first wife, whom he'd lost during the War. After that, Matthew and I had started doing regular patrols, heading out before dawn a couple of times a week.
We could head out before dawn now that the trees no longer sought human flesh and blood. It had been a welcome change not to fear every rustling leaf.
Matthew stopped and sniffed the air. He turned and trotted off the path, deeper into the forest. I followed. My hand moved to the belt cinched around my oversized coat and the knife that hung sheathed there, a habit from years spent tracking game through more wakeful forests.
Matthew stopped by a mound about the same size he was. He nosed at it, let out a low whine, and began digging. The old snow was unevenly packed, as if it had been shaped by human hands. A faded brown dinosaur sat perched atop it, molded of hard pre-War plastic.
Cold got down beneath my coat and scarf, chilled my toes in their wool socks. I helped Matthew dig, knowing well enough what we would find.
Ben had been young, little more than a toddler, with curls that hung frozen over a face made pale by the moonlight. He hadn't died in the War after all. He'd died no more than a day or two ago, after the last snowfall, and someone had buried him here.
I wanted nothing more to do with dead children. I wanted to flee this place, but we had to know what had happened to him, in case it posed some danger to our town.
Cold stiffened my fingers. The dinosaur toppled into the snow. I kept digging.