Faerie Winter: Book 2 of the Bones of Faerie Trilogyby Janni Lee Simner
Liza is a summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined/i>
The long-awaited sequel to Janni Lee Simner's breathtaking YA fantasy debut, Bones of Faerie.
Liza is a summoner. She can draw life to herself, even from beyond the grave. And because magic works both ways, she can drive life away. Months ago, she used her powers to banish her dangerous father and to rescue her mother, lost in dreams, from the ruined land of Faerie.
Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens' branches are bare. Winter crops won't grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.
Here at last is the sequel to Bones of Faerie, for all those fans of dark fantasy and dystopian adventure who thrilled to Janni Lee Simner's unique vision of a postapocalyptic world infused with magic.
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
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)
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 wolf--Matthew--growled 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 ferns--Matthew'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 child--in one hand it held out a toy, shaped like a dinosaur from Before--long 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 magic--my power--into 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Meet the Author
JANNI LEE SIMNER is the author of Bones of Faerie and Thief Eyes. Visit Janni at Simner.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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