Dark Faery I: The Benevolents by Bridget McGowan

four stars

faeryTeilo Feather has a perilous night job, dangerous even for a talented, canny Faery: he’s the one behind the vanishings of lost teeth, and the conjuring of the precious money under your pillow. Would you guess, though, that the stealthy exchange is actually a coin for a coin? For the Benevolents of the South Wood, your teeth become their Faery gold. On a dead end track to become only the lesser second son in a family of tooth collectors, Teilo just can’t help running into trouble. Perhaps he’s looking for it. When the strangely hypnotic musical troupe, Shauna Faun, invite the highly impressionable Teilo into the darker side of a Faery’s existence, he must decide whether or not to indulge his curiosities—or rather, decide how to get away with it.

In Dark Faery I: The Benevolents, the Faery clans of Bridget McGowan’s making carry out lives not so unlike our own; she crafts a curious miniature world out of view, rooted in natural Celtic themes and spiritualties. Winking in and out of sight, her fantastical and prismatic characters find purpose, movement, and growth in the narrative as Teilo struggles to define his loyalty stretched between the Benevolents and the Vampyre Faerys. The prose effortlessly details action, emotion, and the building blocks of a new world—a crucial element of a successful fantasy. Though the writing tips toward an excess of dialogue at points, and some factual inconsistencies blemish a few parts of the story, fantasy readers will fully enjoy McGowan’s original take on the character of a longtime favorite mythological creature.

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