Summerlands #2. Author: Sarah Prineas.
In Summerkin, the sequel to Sarah Prineas’s fantasy-adventure Winterling, Fer now the rules the magical realm as Lady of the Summerlands. Although Fer defeated Mór, the dark queen who terrorized the magical beings of the world, there are those who do not trust her. To prove herself, Fer, aided by her deep connection to the natural world and her healing arts, must enter a grueling contest. If she loses, she will be banned from the realm and all those she has come to love.
I appreciate the fairy-tale trope of a competition which is not as it seems, where showing compassion and kindness are more important than winning and the real test may not be what you expect. However, I found the whole argument about oaths and their rightness somehow irritating; I think because it’s clearly suggested that Fer’s on the right side. I don’t have a problem with the premise that a ruler should serve the people, instead of the other way around, but that the half-human newbie Lady who only came into rule a few seasons ago should know better than the Elders and all the peoples around her? That’s kind of pretentious and annoying. She could have at least had one or two allies among the other rulers, showing that she’s merely on the right side of a contested debate, rather than being the one and only Right One in this ancient country.
The puck pack is also quite aggravating in the beginning, but I still enjoyed the way they were written – the tight camaraderie, the cross over between a canine pack and a human family, the (usually) close-bound trust. And by the end they’re much better. Rook is still struggling with Fer’s open-handed friendship, and I think most of his resistance comes from a rigidly-set idea of what a puck should be; whether or not he’s right, we still don’t know.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: Horse bucks rider off into a swamp. Character half-chokes a boy and threatens him with a knife before releasing him. Arrow grazes boy’s leg. Character knocks two other characters unconscious with blows to the head, bloodying one nose in the process. A couple of bees sting a puck to drive him off.