K. Bird Lincoln's Reviews > Except the Queen

Except the Queen by Jane Yolen
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's review
Mar 09, 2010

really liked it
Read from March 09 to 10, 2010

Midori Snyder and Jane Yolen are huge presences in the fantasy world, and I admire both of them greatly.

I couldn't wait to get my greedy little hands on this book, and as a result, high expectations are the glasses through which I viewed the story.

Meteora and Serena see the fey queen with her human lover and baby one day, and as a result, are banished to their "normal" appearance (old) to the human world.

However, things are not as clear as they seem, and their separate fates tied together through their letters brought by doves and their bonds of herbal lore and sisterhood slowly come together as friends and foes draw them into a fey political mess surrounding the queen's daughter.

On one hand, this is a lovely, poetic, loving tribute to the kind of fey that is earthy, herbal, and chillingly and unapologetically cruel. One of the bad guys is a highborn fey masquerading as a tattoo artist who cruelly torments and bloodlets young human girls while making them love him.

On the other hand, this is about how people see themselves and others, and what kinds of treasures we can find underneath unconventional exteriors.

One of my main issues with the book was that while we switched between the two sisters' points of view, their voices and circumstances were so similiar (both find human men who care for them, wastrels to take care of, herbal lore, and suffer ignorance of human ways) that I had a hard time keeping track of who I was reading about.

There was nothing new for me in the depiction of the fey sisters or the characters they meet, I felt I'd seen them all before, but what stood out for me was the quality and immense care, almost loving touch, given to the sisters and their friends. Read this book not for novelty or a twist, but for a comforting immersion in the warm pool of European fey myth in the hands of two masters of that domain.

This Book's Food Designation Rating: Macaroni and cheese made with good cheese and hint of garlic and pepper for the comforting, homey, familiarity of the story with a touch of spiciness for the evil.

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