The Faerie Ring is a Victorian-era YA fantasy by Kiki Hamilton.
It's December in 1871 London and sixteen-year-old Tiki is determined to make a home for herself and her makeshift family of fellow orphans. They live in a hidden shelter that gives them a roof and a door, making them better off than many other souls in the same situation. They've been forced to pick pockets to eat, but that won't pay for the scary sounding cough coming from little four-year-old Clara...
But then Tiki lands herself in a situation when she steals a beautiful, mesmerizing ring hoping it will be the end of her family's struggles and beginning of a new life for them. Instead, it sets off a series of events that position Tiki in the middle of a war between humans and Fey.
Before they died, Tiki's parents told her stories about faeries - but she never imagined they were real.
In fact, she continues to disbelieve it - but Rieker, a handsome, enigmatic, fellow thief, is the one telling her about the faeries, and insists that she give him the ring. He says that she's in danger. But that could also be his own way of collecting the reward, couldn't it? And Tiki is not giving up the reward for anything - her family depends on it.
And about that reward - it's from Queen Victoria herself. Yes, only Tiki could accidentally steal a ring stolen by royalty!
Soon, though, the evidence seems to be piling up. Tiki begins to wonder if it's true - that this ring is a symbol that binds the rulers of England and the world of Faerie to peace - a treaty that a certain factor of dark faeries want to break. Rieker tells her that now that the ring is outside the possession of the royal family, the faeries can take the ring and end the truce - and take over London.
Tiki suddenly finds herself in the middle of a war she's never cared about or known of, enlisting help from a fellow thief and maybe even a prince - pretending to be the lady she was meant to be before her parents' died, attending masked balls and the like, yet still returning to the dirty slums of her home - and the love of her little adopted family.
She never meant for this...
The Faerie Ring was awesome! When I heard the description, I thought, "Mmmm, Victorian era London and magic? Yes, please!" Because there is almost nothing I like better than mixing historical time periods with fantasy. It is just undeniably awesome. At least to me.
There is a mixture of utter fun and truly nerve-wracking suspense in The Faerie Ring. Tiki's situation and Clara's illness makes you heartsick, not to mention makes you care very quickly. Has a December/winter feel that creates a cozy, settle-in-your-chair-as-it-snows-outside read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Then we get a little bit of resistant romantic chemistry between her and the dashing Rieker, which is always a good thing when done well - and guess what? It's done well! But one of the most charming things about The Faerie Ring was Tiki's loyalty and devotion to her family of fellow orphans. I never, ever go for stealing - but Kiki Hamilton provides enough reason and understanding to lend sympathy and forgiveness to a bunch of desperate kids.
And, oooh, the faeries are creepy! I don't want to give too much away, so I'm a bit limited in how much I can say, but I truly felt the scorch of rage, the prickle of fear, and the nagging feeling of being watched and threatened. Mash all that up with Buckingham Palace, dazzling gowns, a little Cinderella situation, intrigue and spying, and a dash of adventure and you've got yourself The Faerie Ring!
I really, really want another book featuring these characters - even though the ending was so downright perfect! In my opinion, this is a perfect Christmastime read - providing an entertaining, eventful, involving read that left me happy and satisfied!
Please, Kiki? May I have some mo' please?