Faerie Winter is the YA dystopia fantasy sequel to Bones of Faerie, both by Janni Lee Simner.
I strongly recommend reading Bones of Faerie before reading any synopsis' or reviews of Faerie Winter. If you have yet to do so, I suggest avoiding this review and picking up a copy of Bones of Faerie. Then, after you are riveted by it's story, come back here. Okay?
As I've said before, as a rather crazed, eccentric bibliophile I not only shun spoilers like they'll give me the plague, I also don't read the book jacket unless I absolutely have to. Especially when it comes to sequels. I'm just weird that way. Maybe you are to. We bibliophiles tend to be strange, right? But that's what gives us our charm!
Anyway, if you've already read Bones of Faerie - I would hope that the fact that you loved it is more than enough reason to pick up Faerie Winter. If so, skim over the next few paragraphs to get to my opinion of it, without reading the summary. However, if you want a little idea of what happens in Faerie Winter, read on. It'll be lightweight though, nothing more than bare bones - so you can be swept away by the magic of it all, like I was!
Liza found her mother in the world of faerie - nearly dead from radiation poisoning. Now she's back, but their relationship is still strained. She now knows that every child that began to get magical abilities knew to go to her mother, except for her. She had no idea. Her mother kept it from her. She didn't trust her with the secret.
Yet Liza's own powers of Summoning have manifested now, and it is her talents that are now drawing forth life - sometimes even beyond death - and driving away dangers from her family and town. One of those dangers was her father, whom she's banished. With him gone, those with magical abilities aren't as frightened and are finding a semblance of acceptance and learning - though not all in the town are happy with it.
As Liza struggles to get a handle on what she can now do, and grows closer to Matthew - the boy that can turn into a wolf that went with her on the dangerous journey of searching for her mother - the world around them, which has been stuck in a state of perpetual life since the War between humanity and faerie ended, is suddenly deadened. It's winter now, and the crops aren't growing - starvation looms.
Thing is, this doesn't feel like an ordinary winter. There's something dark and purposeful behind it. And Liza realizes she's going to have to come into her powers more and face the stories told by her mother and others who lived in the days the faeries walked among them, fighting them, before she can confront it...
Faerie Winter returns us to Liza and company soon after Bones of Faerie ended, and takes us a whole lot further.
Wow! Faerie Winter, for me, was an improvement on it's predecessor - and that's saying something, because I was quite impressed with Bones of Faerie! But Faerie Winter has an ever stronger plot, more romantic hints, and a more complicated look at human nature, as well as deeper, darker mystery. It didn't take me long at all to be liking - no, strike that - loving it!!!
This is an original coming-of-age story in the midst of a ruined, post-apocalyptic world. The mother-daughter dynamic feels so realistic, painful, and ordinary, while taking place in the war ravaged world. Makes for an amazing fantasy thriller.
In Faerie Winter, the stakes are even higher, the danger feels even stronger - truly frightening and suspenseful. I was hooked as new characters were introduced and Jannie Lee Simner delved deeper in the all-encompassing fear that she presents us as we see the darker side of faeries. Absolutely gripping!
Faeire Winter was fantastic! It's startling, gruesome, scary, and most certainly a page-turner! Simner's lovely and poetic way of writing meshes with the fantasy/magic plot to present a novel with character development, nerve-wracking twists, and a hunger for more. Much more.
I seriously want more novels featuring Liza!!! Faerie Winter was just too good, too satisfying, too amazing of a treat for fantasy/dystopia bibliophile fans (of any age, honestly) to be the end. You can't do that to us, Janni!
What say you, fellow bibliophiles? Shall we start a petition?