(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
WHEN A GAME…
Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch — or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.
Tam Linn is the perfect hero — in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her.
WINNING IS EVERYTHING…
Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late.
[Full disclosure: I received a free paperback copy from Anthea Sharp in exchange for an honest review.]
After reading Janet McNaughton’s Tam Linn retelling, An Earthly Knight, I didn’t think any other retelling could compare. Still, I gave Feyland: The Dark Realm a try and went in with an open mind. In the end, I’m so glad I did.
At first we’re just introduced to Jennet, who gets a part of her stolen by the Dark Queen inside Feyland the game. Unfortunately this has real world consequences and when she switches schools she’s desperate to find another gamer, a champion, to help her defeat the Dark Queen and get her soul back. So when she finds out that Tam Linn, despite being incredibly poor and with little access to a simulation game despite, is an excellent gamer you can really feel her desperation to get him on her side. When she finally does they both still don’t trust each other’s motives but eventually do become friends.
What struck me the most about Feyland: The Dark Realm was not only the amazing world of Feyland itself, but the plot twists Anthea Sharp gave her story. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, something else happens instead. She’s definitely not one of those authors that goes easy on her characters and both Tam and Jennet get put through the proverbial wringer. At the same time, these plot twists allow her to develop all of her characters thoroughly. Jennet starts out a little spoiled and naive about the tough side of life and Tam is thoroughly suspicious of this apparent spoiled rich girl and her motivations. Still, they change throughout the story as Jennet feels the Dark Queen draining her life’s essence and as Tam learns to trust and maybe even love Jennet.
The world of Feyland is fantastic. Within the game you have all kinds of creatures you would expect to see in a world with fairies and a few that you wouldn’t. Some creatures will be familiar to people who like fairies (the Wild Hunt) and some will throw you for a loop completely. And of course, being a fairy world, nothing is as it seems. It’s just amazing!
I like how Anthea Sharp chose to end Feyland: The Dark Realm on a gentle sort of cliffhanger. It makes you want to read the next book, but you’re not furious at the author for failing to complete the story. I can’t wait to read the next book, Feyland: The Bright Court.
I give this book 5/5 stars.