Summerlands #1. Author: Sarah Prineas.
“We live here, my girl, because it is close to the Way, and echoes of its magic are felt in our world. The Way is a path leading to another place, where the people are governed by different rules. Magic runs through them and their land.”
With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land.
Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the Mór rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend into endless winter.
I’ve always liked impish characters – like, say, Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – so it’s no surprise that my favorite character (and my main reason for liking this series) is Rook. Also known as Robin. (Robin Goodfellow, anybody?) Bound by oath to serve the Mor despite his hatred for her, he still finds ways to evade orders and push the limits, bucking his bonds right up to the edge of tolerance and, once or twice, right over. Wary of Fer and her easy friendship, he still does his best to help her, warning her again and again of his own limitations.
The writing is at a fairly common middle-grade level/style, and the story easy enough to follow. The pool-portal to another, nature-filled world seems a familiar trope to me, but this particular world is new enough to enjoy, and there’s something very satisfying about a deliberate tapping of common folk rules, like the rule of three.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: Girl drives three wolves away from a somewhat bloodied boy, using a tree branch to belabor them. One stag is killed by an arrow to the throat. A dog kills two rabbits and eats them. A couple of wolves chase and nip at one dog, threatening to kill it.