Trailer Park Fae (Gallow and Ragged #1)
Published: June 23, 2015 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
A plague has broken out in Faery, ravaging the Unseelie Court and the free Fae. Only those with mortal blood appear to be immune. Fearing the sickness will spread to her court, Summer has delayed opening her gates and winter lingers in the mortal world. War is brewing between the Seelie and Unseelie as their rulers blame each other for unleashing the plague. But the Summer Queen has found a mortal scientist and hidden him away in an abandoned trailer park to develop a cure.
Jeremiah Gallow was once Summer’s Armormaster, the head of her guard and a formidable warrior with magical weapons that live beneath his skin, until he left court to marry a mortal woman. Now widowed, he’s just going through the motions of his mortal life in another trailer park when he sees Robin Ragged, a half-Fae who serves Summer, being hunted by a Winter knight while bringing the cure back to Faery. Her resemblance to his dead wife compels him to defend her, drawing him into the Fae world once again.
Trailer Park Fae is dark but fascinating, full of political machinations, family secrets and harsh betrayals. It has intense action scenes, horseback chases and duels with magical weapons. Saintcrow’s Fae are at once beautiful and grotesque, sitting on velvet chaises, holding fans made of pixie wings and bones. Many different Fae species are mentioned throughout the book, most of them familiar but with different spellings. Very few are described in any detail though, and that might be overwhelming for someone without much experience with the mythology. I never really felt that, even though most of my knowledge comes from October Daye and Meredith Gentry.
Saintcrow also casts familiar characters in new roles. Harne the Hunter (which I usually see spelled “Herne,” so he always looks like Kevin Hearne in my head) was once Summer’s consort, but took over the Winter Court after a falling out. Puck Goodfellow becomes the leader of the free Fae, those unaligned and living in the mortal world, but he’s still very much the troublemaker. Even the dwarves, who are often portrayed as blacksmiths and weapon forgers, get some new skills like tattooing Gallow’s staff onto his arm.
I always caution readers new to Lilith Saintcrow that her unique language can take some getting used to. That’s true in Trailer Park Fae as well, but in a completely different way. Here, Saintcrow uses the language to reflect the characters’ proximity to Faery, both in a physical and an emotional sense. The book opens with Puck in Faery and uses formal, flowery language that took me immediately back to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It then shifts to Gallow at a construction site and takes on a more modern, urban tone. Ragged, born in the mortal world but currently working for Summer, lands somewhere in between the two. And when he uses his Fae weapons, even Gallow gets more formal prose. I found this a really interesting and effective device.
Trailer Park Fae is not a happy, fun, read-by-the-pool type of book. It’s one of those that triggers lit major relapse—it makes me want to write a paper rather than a review. I don’t want to live in that headspace all the time, but I enjoy visiting and I won’t complain if Gallow and Ragged take me back there again.
Sexual content: none