Spell Hunter (Faery Rebels Series)

Spell Hunter (Faery Rebels Series)

4.2 20
by R. J. Anderson

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Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .

Creatures full of magic and whimsy?

Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and

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Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .

Creatures full of magic and whimsy?

Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

Only one young faery-Knife-is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?

Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Readers will be racing through the pages right along with Knife to discover the fate of her world and her love."
Melissa Marr
“Anderson crafts lore-true characters in our modern world. I was overjoyed to find this gem.”
Sarah Prineas
“This is the best kind of fantasy: a book that makes faeries wonderfully real and maybe even living in our own backyards.”
Megan Whalen Turner
“FAERY REBELS: SPELL HUNTER has the charm of Mary Norton’s THE BORROWERS and the edge of Holly Black’s TITHE.”
Patricia C. Wrede
“Knife is just my kind of heroine—strong and independent, with a huge helping of curiosity to get her into trouble, and the bravery and intelligence to get out of trouble again and again.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers will be racing through the pages right along with Knife to discover the fate of her world and her love.”
Romantic Times
“Anderson is a gifted writer with a sure touch for both characterization and plot, and Knife is an absolutely fantastic protagonist – fiercely independent and curious. This book is a page–turning romp.”
The Times (London)
“Pure pleasure.... A particularly charming, well-drawn romantic thriller. Highly Recommended.”
ALA Booklist
“A highly readable, sophisticated tale of romance and self–sacrifice. Readers will hope for more from this talented new author.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Anderson creates a fascinating world. This compelling story is full of adventure and mystery.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers will be racing through the pages right along with Knife to discover the fate of her world and her love.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Readers will be racing through the pages right along with Knife to discover the fate of her world and her love.”
VOYA - Deborah L. Dubois
The Faeries in the Oakenwyld lost their magic in the Sundering more than a hundred years ago and now are dying out. Knife, a feisty, independent young faery, is determined to find out why and how to restore the magic, even if she has to defy the Faery Queen. Knife finds that the loss of magic is somehow connected to the humans who live nearby. She befriends Paul, a human from the House, in disobedience to the Queen and inadvertently exposes the faeries of the Oakenwyld to danger. Her relationship with Paul blossoms into romance and becomes the vehicle for the faeries' salvation. Anderson creates a fascinating world where the faeries are selfish, dull-witted, and almost prisoners as a result of the Queen's fear of humans and the secrets that she keeps. Knife's curiosity is problematic to them, but it is also the way to saving the colony. She is an adventurer who refuses to stay cooped up in the Oak, but she really cares for all the faeries. The entire cast of characters is well-developed, especially Knife and Paul, whose relationship takes many turns as they grow to be friends and more. Even the Queen, who is keeping everyone confined to the Oak, is really trying to do what she thinks is right. This compelling story is full of adventure and mystery that will have readers anxiously awaiting the next in the series. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—The faery world is crumbling. During a disaster called the Sundering, these small, fragile, winged creatures lost all of their magic save that which allows them to fly, and they live inside a great oak tree, fearful of people and animals. True friendship and love are foreign to them. Worse, they are falling victim to a kind of dementia they call the Silence, and are dying. Into this picture comes Knife: tough, brave, adventurous, and soon taking on the job of Queen's Hunter. While defending herself against an attacking crow, she is rescued and taken home by a human. Knife becomes convinced that the mystery of their lost magic and the dementia are connected to the faeries' fear of humans and becomes committed to saving her community. The heart of the book lies in the relationship that develops between Knife and the human Paul, who is a paraplegic. Anderson draws on echoes from countless fairy tales and legends about the relationships between human men and faerie women to enrich this gripping and involving story. While the main characters are vividly drawn, some of the secondary characters and background story are sketched more hastily. Though the book looks like it's for a younger audience, middle-school readers who are willing to stay with the story through its first third will find ample rewards as the relationship between Knife and Paul evolves.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
Bryony might be a sweetly pretty faery living in an oak tree, but this fierce pixie certainly doesn't live a sweetly pretty life. The all-female faeries of the Oak live in hunger and fear, protected from danger by their despotic Queen and shorn of the magic that once made them great. Since the Days of Magic ended, the faeries are at risk from crows, cats and humans. With a stolen blade, Bryony renames herself Knife and becomes the Hunter, the protector of those faeries who fearfully venture out of the Oak to scavenge food. Knife, however, has a secret: her friendship with the wheelchair-bound human, Paul. With Paul's help, Knife might restore the faeries' lost magic, but all the petty forces of the Oak are arrayed against her. Despite small touches of flavor from the conventions of modern urban fantasy, however, Knife's story resembles a Victorian fairy tale more than anything else, from the treatment of Paul's disability to the faeries' destiny as helpmeets to genius men. Not much girl power here. (Fantasy. 9-11)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Faery Rebels Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

R. J. Anderson was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, schooled in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely. At the age of twelve she borrowed her parents' electric typewriter and began hammering out her first fantasy novel. Now married and a mother of three, Rebecca reads to her children the classic works of fantasy and science fiction that enlivened her own childhood, and she tries to bring a similar sense of humor, adventure, and timeless wonder to her own work. She is also the author of Wayfarer, Arrow, and the teen psychological thriller Ultraviolet.

Read an Excerpt

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter SNY

Chapter One

"I only want to go out for a little, little while," the faery child pleaded. "Just below the window, on that branch. I won't fly away and I won't tell anyone, I promise."

"Oh, Bryony, you know you can't." Wink's voice came from the other side of the sewing table, muffled by a mouth full of pins. Her red hair had come free of its knot, falling in bedraggled ringlets, and her cheeks were pink with the room's oppressive heat. "None of us can. It isn't safe."

"But the Gatherers go out all the time," said Bryony. "And so does Thorn."

"Thorn is the Queen's Hunter," Wink told her with unusual sternness, "and without her and the Gatherers we'd all starve. But they only go out when they have to, and they don't stay out any longer than they have to, and you and I don't have to, so there."

Bryony jumped up and dragged a stool over to the window, hopping up on the seat for a better view. If she looked straight out, there was nothing but leaves and branches. But if she craned her neck and peered all the way down, she could just see—

"Oh, Bryony, do sit down," said Wink wearily. "You're blocking all the fresh air."

Bryony made a face and plopped back onto her seat, a wobbly construction of twigs and dried grass that felt as though it might come to pieces any minute. "But it's hot in here," she muttered. "And so ugly." Like most of the other rooms inside the Oak, the apartment she shared with Wink was plain-walled, clumsily furnished, and cramped. Not like the garden she had glimpsed through the open window, its velvety stretch of lawn framed by shrubberiesand dotted with bright flowers. That was beauty.

"Why don't you go down to the kitchen?" said Wink distractedly, eyes fixed on the seam she was pinning. "I hear the Gatherers found a bees' nest this morning. If you wipe dishes or sweep the floor a bit, they might let you have a piece of honeycomb."

"I'm not hungry." Besides, Mallow was in the kitchen, and no one would dare offer Bryony such a sweet bargain when the Chief Cook was around. Except perhaps Sorrel, who was old and kindly and more than a little absentminded—but Bryony had not seen Sorrel in days.

"Polish the looking glass, then," said Wink.

Bryony perked up. The full-length mirror on its carved stand was the one lovely object in the room, a relic from the Days of Magic. It had belonged to the previous Seamstress, who was Bryony's own egg-mother and namesake, and Bryony had spent many hours in front of it, whispering secrets to her own reflection. There were no other children in the Oak, so the white-haired girl in the mirror was the closest thing to a playmate she knew.

She rose and stepped toward the glass—but even as she moved, the window caught her eye again. Between the branches of the great Oak glowed dazzling gems of blue sky, and the leaves whispered promises of a breeze she longed to feel. A robin lighted on a nearby twig, cocking its head at her, and Bryony felt a sudden urge to dive through the window and leap upon its back. Together they would soar far away from the Oak, to a place where she too could fly free. . . .

With a flick of its wings, the robin vanished. Another chance missed, thought Bryony, and frustration swelled like a wasps' nest inside her. "It's not fair," she burst out. "Why can't we go out? Just because the Queen says it's not safe—how does she know? She never leaves the Oak either!"

Wink snatched the last pin out of her mouth, looking shocked. "Of course she doesn't leave the Oak! She's the one who's kept us all alive since the rest of us lost our magic. If it weren't for her protection the Oak would sicken and die, and all sorts of horrible creatures would come crawling inside to gobble us up. She doesn't dare go out, because if anything happens to her, it'd be the end for all of us!" Her voice trembled on the last phrase, as though she could already see the disaster happening.

Bryony leaned on the windowsill, staring out at the sky. "It's still not fair," she muttered.

Her words were followed by a heavy pause, then a sigh from Wink. "I suppose you're old enough to know," she said. "I didn't like to tell you before, but—"

"I already know about the Sundering," interrupted Bryony, who had spent a whole afternoon dusting bookshelves to get the story from Campion, the Oak's Librarian. "A long time ago someone put a curse on everyone in the Oak, so we couldn't do magic anymore. And everybody got confused and scared and a lot of faeries died. And then Queen Amaryllis came, only she wasn't called Amaryllis yet and she wasn't a Queen, but I can't remember that part—"

"Her name was Alder," said Wink softly.

Bryony ignored the interruption. "And she still had her magic because she wasn't in the Oak when the Sundering happened, so she had to become Queen because nobody else was clever or strong enough anymore. And she made lots of different rules to try to keep people safe from the crows and foxes and things outside, but they kept making silly mistakes and getting killed anyway, and finally she told everyone that it wasn't safe to go out of the Oak, ever." She finished the last sentence in a single breath, and turned defiantly to look at Wink. "See, I told you I knew."

"Oh . . . yes," said Wink, flustered. "Well, I suppose—"

"Except that it's still a stupid rule," Bryony went on hotly, "because I'm not silly and I'm not going to be killed, so there!" With a flash of her wings, she hopped onto the windowsill.

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter SNY. Copyright © by R. Anderson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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