I really enjoyed this book and apart from the main characters being 12 and 13, it hardly felt like a children’s novel and adults would like it just as much. In fact I felt that the whole plot of the book was incredibly well planned and thought out and it completely deserves its nominations for the prizes it’s up for.
To give you a brief run down of what the book’s about: a girl goes to stay with her uncle in his run-down farm, and finds a tiny horse with an injured wing in one of the barns. This leads to her meeting The Various; a group of little creatures who live in the nearby woods. When I read that they weren’t like we imagine fairies, I was a bit disappointed – I quite like the idea of pretty dresses and dancing around flowers – but actually, the Various were described to be totally believable. Little unexpected details like the lazy mad queen and the history of the different clans made it all seem realistic. Their discovery by a human and the possible threat to their land all leads to some gripping drama with enough resolution at the end that I felt satisfied, but also plenty of suspense to make me very annoyed that I have to wait a whole year for the next book in this trilogy (Celandine).
It’s possible that some people may find this book slow. For me, I was grateful that it wasn’t such a page-turner that the rest of my life didn’t go on hold until I’d finished it. It had just the right pace, with steady progress to the plot while getting a complete picture of the place in my head from the descriptions, and understanding the personality of the characters. There are hints of deeper themes; the relationship with the girl’s Mum and several aspects of the Various could be compared with modern interracial issues. This book really could become a classic.