Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring

Kiki Hamilton
Paranormal Young Adult
352 pages
Tor Teen
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Tiki's just trying to survive on the streets of London and take care of her family of outcasts while she's at it. When one of her pickpocket outings leads her to Buckingham palace and the discovery of a beautiful red and gold ring, she thinks maybe her luck is changing.

Rieker, a young man on the streets like Tiki who takes it upon himself to keep an eye on her, informs her that the ring is far more than a beautiful trinket. It's the one thing keeping the fey from waging war on the unsuspecting human population, and more than just Prince Leopold and the Queen herself are looking for it.

Tiki is bound and determined to glean some monetary compensation for the ring to help her family despite the power and importance she now knows it holds, and as she enters into a dark game with both the royal family and the fey, the truth about her own existence is revealed.

This review is going to be a little different. Prior to starting The Faerie Ring I was in a bit of a reading and reviewing funk. I’m sure fellow bloggers (and even avid readers in general) have had similar experiences, where you look over at a stack of review books you know you definitely want to read but yet for some reason you just can't seem to muster the same sense of anticipation and eagerness with which you've cracked spines in the past. That was my current mindset at the time I began this book, and I feel my overall temporary indifference to review books in general perhaps unjustly influenced my opinion of the story itself.

When I went to start this review, the first word that popped into my head was “nice”. Nice is one of those vague one-word descriptions that is decidedly unhelpful in a review or critique context as it fails to convey any emotional information and gives anyone reading your review nothing specific to help them determine whether or not you liked the book. Nice. Neither good nor bad, but rather pleasant in a way that didn't bring goosebumps to my skin, tears to my eyes, or any new and desirable scars to my heart. For me, Tiki, Rieker and the rest of the street ruffians were an interesting enough bunch, but at no time did I feel that compulsion to ignore everything else in my reality and lose myself in the story until I reached the last page and became instantly depressed that I’d reached the end.

Similarly, the plot had elements that normally appeal to me—mystery, a touch of romance, and a world where the supernatural hovers within a brush of my fingertips–but perhaps due to the aforementioned funk, the combination of admittedly desirable factors never truly caught my attention and held it. I think this story will appeal to a variety of readers as some of the prominent plot devices in YA literature like insta-love, love triangles, and cliffhangers are thankfully and blessedly absent, giving readers the opportunity to enjoy this book without repeatedly finding themselves on tired and familiar ground.

As a result of my shortage of enthusiasm before even picking The Faerie Ring up and my subsequent lackluster reaction to it, I don’t feel as though giving it a rating is altogether fair to Ms. Hamilton's story. I've read many a glowing review for this one from bloggers who I know share my taste in books, so I think now that my reviewer's brain is back in the game (I read this one a couple months back) I'll be picking The Faerie Ring up again just before the sequel comes out sometime next year and read them one after the other, and I look forward to seeing if and how my perception of it changes.


  1. It's a bummer that you were in a reading slump when you picked up The Faerie Ring! It sounds like you would've enjoyed it a lot more had you been in the right mood. I really enjoyed The Faerie Ring, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts after you pick it back up again (when the sequel is closer to release). :)

  2. See that's kinda how I feel toward this one... I'm not all that thrilled to read it, and I'm not at all sure why because I LOVE fae stories!! Something about the synopsis just doesn't quite appeal to me I guess! xoxo

  3. I know exactly what you mean about a reading funk. I've actually put aside 3 books recently because nothing was keeping my attention. And like you said, maybe the book will improve when you're in the right mood, or maybe it will just be on of those books that was simply "nice".

  4. I love how you did your review. I have experienced very similar reactions to a lot of books. The Faerie Ring was an odd book for me. I loved it while I was reading it and looking back, I still love it. It may make my top 10 of the year. But if I step back and think critically, I can come up with a bunch of problems the book had - particularly with world building. But I still love it. Odd.

  5. Aww, it's too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations! I've been looking forward to it too (because I love mystery with a touch of romance and supernatural too!) but I can understand your funk. And it really IS hard to rate a book you have mixed feelings about -- I like how you chose not to! :)

    Awesome review, Jenny! :) I hope you like it better the second time around!

  6. I have had that same feeling for awhile now. I just literally threw up my hands in defeat and now just reading what I want. I know I will come out of the funk but I don't think I can be fair to review books till I do.

  7. Lauren - I know. I've read so many great reviews for it but I was just in a "meh" place when I read and that clearly affected my reaction to the book:)

    Ashley - Oh yay! Not just me then:) I couldn't wait to dive into this book (look at that cover!) but when I did, I just couldn't quite settle in.

    Jennifer - Usually when it happens to me I just read a few books for fun and don't review them and then I'm ready to start reviewing again, but this funk lasted a bit longer:(

    Alison - Thanks! I honestly didn't know how else to review it, my normal style of reviewing just wasn't working in this case and I couldn't quite put into words why I reacted the way I did other to own up to the funk:)

    Mimi - I'm kind of excited to read it again and see what happens:)

    Felicia - Good for you! That's exactly how I felt on this one - it just wouldn't be fair to give it a numerical rating when I think I would have reacted that way to any book I picked up at that time:)

  8. I'm sorry you were in a reading funk- it happens to us all! I really liked The Faerie Ring, so I hope you get to pick this one up again and maybe you'll change your mind. This happens to me all the time!!

  9. You see, though, Jenny, I think you were pretty much on point, whether because of the reading funk or not. I recently read this too, and I WASN'T in a reading funk, and I basically felt the same as you. I liked it, it was nice, but other than I wasn't WOWed.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  10. LOL! Just kidding, but boy do I crack myself up.

    It's hard to get myself to re-read a book that I didn't absolutely love, but I'm very familiar with that feeling you've described. I'm experiencing it now with everything YA. I think it will be interesting to see how your reaction might have changed once you give it another go.

    I've also read many glowing reviews and even interviews for this book. I think this is one I might tackle once I get my enthusiasms for YA back. Thanks for sharing your honest thought, Jenny, and for putting up with me!

  11. Christina - It definitely does! I was glad when I snapped out of it though, I like being excited about books:)

    Asher - Hm. Maybe it was both me and the book then? Interesting:)

    Missie - I was so confused for a second. I couldn't believe you "nice review-ed" me! You are one of my favorite people Missie, I never "put up" with you, I look forward to what you're going to do or say next:)

  12. I read this last week and wound up really liking it...but you have to give it a chance and get half way though...I would for sure give it a try again and maybe think of Victorian dresses and Paris beforehand...:D

  13. I definitely know how that is and I've already come across a few during the shorter time I've had my blog. I'm glad you're back though! Always feel great to me when I get back into reading and reviewing mode.

    I love this review and the honesty. I haven't read this one yet, since I'm just not sure if might be something for me or not. It'll be interesting to see what you think if you re-read it! :)

  14. Blogger/Google just ate my comment, so you will never know how awesome it was. There is simply no way that I recreate it.

    I understand the funk, though, and I often find myself being really critical of books. Sometimes they deserve the criticism, sometimes it's all on me.

  15. Ugh, I'm kinda going through that right now, Jenny. I have a large stack from the library of books that I really want to read but I can't muster up my initial enthusiasm. Thank goodness I got my hands on a copy of "Drink Deep" and getting out of my reading funk.

  16. I would think a girl liked that would be chased away from that area.

    Too bad it did not work better for you

  17. Tina - I'm definitely going to try again:)

    Rebecca - It does! I've had a few slumps here and there the past 2 years, but this one was by far the worst. I'll be sure and post a re-review when I give it another go:)

    Amanda - Dammit! I so want to know what it said:( I'm sure it was epic. I sometimes wonder if I'm being way too critical at times too, I forget that I should base it on my overall enjoyment factor and not be so nitpicky:)

    Rummanah - Well, I'm sorry you're going through it now, but I'm glad it hasn't just been me recently!

    Blodeuedd - I liked all the characters, I just didn't love them and I love to love characters, it's my favorite part:)

  18. Ahhhh yes. I know what you mean. When you try something and it doesn't quite click but you're not sure if it's you or the book. I have SO been there :)

  19. I'm really looking forward to reading this one, I've read a lot of great reviews for it. It totally sucks when you're in a reading/reviewing slump (this seems to be going around!), but I think you did a great job reviewing this book. It's so tough to find something accurate to say when you liked a book okay, but didn't love it or dislike it.

  20. Aw... how nice. ;)

    Seriously, I've had that reviewers brain too. Perhaps too often to mention. So, I'm glad to see that you are going to give it ago again later. I'll be curious as to if you changed your mind.

  21. I hate those funks! And I've had that happen where I felt like my funk affected my enjoyment of the novel. I hope that when you reread it you enjoy it more. Sometimes books just lack the OOMPH to make them REALLY good and leaves them in the nice category. I don't know since I haven't read it yet, but I did go to Kiki's signing and bought a copy so I will read it soon (hopefully!) and we'll see what I think!

  22. Oh, I so hate when that happens since it truly does color perception. However, it's okay to say a book is "nice". At least it doesn't suck! Usually when I'm in a reviewing/reading funk, I go back and re-read a favorite. Kind of like cleansing the palate. Hope you get un-funk-able soon! Happy(er) reading!

  23. The dreaded readers funk... I hate it when that happens! Sorry to hear you didn't really love this one. I have read good reviews for it as well, and actually had it from the library, but I sent it back. I hope you enjoy re-reading it in the future! And I hope you are able to get out of your reading funk soon... It's not a good place to be!

  24. ^^ lol Missie!

    I get in reading funks sometimes too, so you're definitely not alone! Sometimes it does badly affect my opinion of a book I'm reading. Sometimes it happens if I've read something AMAAAAZING and the next book doesn't quite live up the high I'm still on from the previous book.

    I've been wanting to read this, but it's not something that screams at me, so it probably won't be for a while.

    Love your review as always, Jenny! :)

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  25. I hope you can pick it up again and liked it. It's hard to get out of a reading funk. And I get mad at myself if I can't into a book that everyone else loves. Thanks for you honesty and nice review.

  26. I know that reading slumps make it harder to keep you interested in the story so I can understand why you chose to not give this one a rating. I have this one in my TBR pile and am hoping to get to it sometime during the Christmas break.

  27. I like your honesty. I've been in a total reviewing and reading slump lately. I have so many books in my tbr pile for review, as well as book's I've bought because I've been waiting for them to come out. Now it's like meh. So I try to switch it up so I don't go so bored; ya, mystery, literary...but it's still no use! lol I finally broke out a book that's been on my tbr shelf forever and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. I just hope it continues.

  28. I always get in funks. You're way better than me because I don't read anything until I find something that perks me up. That was DRINK DEEP for me. Then I end up on a binge reading spurt until I fall again. Maybe my reading habit needs a pill. LOL! :D

    I still liked your review though because it made me feel like I'm not alone. I wasn't really wanting to read this book anyway. I'm not super in to faerie books. Although, I do love the fae. Hopefully that makes sense. Patricia Briggs' Fae are awesome. :D Just sayin...o_o

  29. I was actually a fan of this one, despite the love triangle (which I'm growing increasedly tired of). I liked the dynamic of Tiki's makeshift urchin family, and the mythologies Hamilton used. But yeah, I can see how this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, as the pacing at points lost me. But still, a good read and I'll be looking forward to the sequel.


  30. This one came highly recommended to me and as a lover of all things Fae, I thought I'd dive right in. But it came the same week as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I just don't think anything is going to measure up to that one for me. So I'm kind of prejudiced against this one. I'm reading other stuff, I just can't seem to pick this one up. Maybe during the magical season of Chritsmas!

    Feeling very much the same

  31. OMG! You are going to do a TAKE TWO?!? Well that is kinda neat-o, but, you know, not neat-o that this book didn't do much for you... Darn reading funk! :/

  32. Reading funks suck, but I love it when a book is SO amazing that it breaks through the haze of indifference. Sorry The Faerie Ring couldn't do that for you. I had a "nice" reaction to it too. I liked it, but, like you, it didn't make me forget about reality either.

  33. Bummer. I often feel the same way. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly crappy or stressed or sad, it can completely taint the way I feel about the book and I feel guilty giving it a rating too. Who's to say I actually felt that way about the book or whether it was my mood? Good to hear you're planning on reading it again and that you're out of your funk.