Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Title: The Faerie Ring
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Pages: 352
Publisher: Tor Teen/Macmillan
My rating: 5 stars
Goodreads rating: 3.99 stars
Published: September 27, 2011

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist. 

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty… 

Tiki leads an interesting life, set in London of 1871.  Born and {for the most part} raised in a decent house, she's sent to live with an aunt and uncle she hardly knows when her parents suddenly die.  The uncle is a drunk, with less than honorable intentions towards Tiki {this is really only hinted at with "he looked at me funny" and other such lines in the book, but its pretty clear he would have acted on that if he'd had the chance}.  Because of the uncle, Tiki runs away, ending up with four other orphans, living in an abandoned clock shop.  They're also a group of pick pockets, stealing either money for food or the food itself.

One night, Tiki finds herself running for her life, ending up in Buckingham Palace, of all places.  While there, she finds herself stealing a ring one of the princes tried to hide.  The faerie ring, which holds the truce between the fey and the royal family.  With the help of Rieker, she must attempt to get the ring back to the royal family before war breaks out between the ancient, brutal fey and humans all over England.

I loved Tiki.  She is so caring, but so cunning at the same time!  She helps take care of the other orphans like a mother, but she will go out and steal for them as well.  She isn't like the characters in other books that immediately become amazing at fighting or discover they have a super power and know exactly how to use it.  She doesn't even know what she is.  She's trusting with her rag-tag little family, but those outside have to do a lot to earn her trust and only a little to lose it.

Enter Rieker.  Famous for his own pick pocketing skills, the book begins with him discovering the pick pocket urchin he's been following for a long time is *shocker!* a girl.  Yep, Tiki was apparently that good that she successfully hid her identity from someone who was stalking her.  Rieker is a loveable character with many of his own flaws... but aren't flaws part of the biggest reason we're attracted to characters anyway?  And it doesn't hurt that he's dark, mysterious and handsome.  I want to say SO much more about him, but doing so would be giving too many spoilers {yes, every time I write that I hear River Song in my head saying it to the Doctor}.

I haven't mentioned the world building, yet, have I?  It was pretty fantastic.  Every time I opened this book I forgot I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair in my noisy break room at work.  I was in chilly London, right before Christmas.  I was sitting on a wooden chunk of something in the little clock shop with Tiki and the other orphans, shivering in the cold {just to let you know, it was freakishly sunny while I was reading this, and abnormally warm for Washington this time of year}.  Kudos to Kiki Hamilton for creating a book so riveting and realistic that I was there while I was reading it.  And, thank the stars, she's writing book two in the series!  Now to not-so-patiently wait until October...

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