(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I picked up City of Fae but Pippa DaCosta blew any expectations that existed away.
First we meet Alina, a reporter who has just lost her job. She’s living in the present day but things are very, very different from what we would expect: the fae have come out to the world. In fact, they did this a couple of decades ago and they’re basically just a fact of life now. Everyone knows not to let a fae touch them because they can bespell you but there are always exceptions because some people live to be spelled. The rule is three touches and you’d better get to therapy to wean yourself off because you’re pretty much guaranteed to be under their control. So the fae are both dangerous and attractive? Well, you can guess what many of them do for a living: they go into show business.
And that’s how Alina, a rather ordinary reporter, comes into contact with Sovereign, London’s hottest fae superstar. Why on earth does she touch him? Working in the entertainment industry, you’d think she would know better. She does know better and she does it anyway because Alina is the sort of person that wants to help everyone, no matter how dangerous it might be. Alina doesn’t have a sort of annoying martyr syndrome but she is a good person and that leads her into an entirely new world of trouble. That’s in part why her character carries the story so well: she really is an average person in the beginning. She wants to get a new job, focus on moving on with her life but events don’t seem to let her. Throughout the story you can really feel her frustration with Sovereign for dragging her into this whole mess but also her undeniable attraction to the man. He’s handsome and infuriating and can be a jerk but he’s not really that typical YA/NA hot jerk. The main difference here is that Pippa DaCosta actually does give him depth and we do actually get to see why he’s sort of justified in being such a jerk. I don’t like many of the romances in NA because they come off as feeling slightly abusive (mentally or physically) but this is one sizzling attraction between two people that evolved into something a little more.
As I’ve hinted at in my opening summary, the world-building here is fantastic. It’s interesting to see how humans react to the fae since most of them are superstars. Therefore you have the normal idiotic celebrity worship combined with the really compelling attraction humans have to the fae; it’s not really a good combination for a lot of people. Pippa DaCosta’s fae are not cuddly, friendly nearly-humans. They’re vicious and will use humans unashamedly for their own ends. These are magical creatures hundreds of years old with very little in the way of consciences or morals and DaCosta really does this portrayal well. You get that odd feeling of awe around the fae but also that sense they’re dangerous throughout the novel. It’s hard to describe but as a reader you’ll be fairly attracted to them (particularly Sovereign) while at the same time pleading inwardly for Alina to get away from them. This dual nature of the fae is done incredibly well and my description here really doesn’t do it justice.
The plot was surprising and that’s definitely in a good way. There was a huge twist about Alina that I definitely did not see coming but does make sense when you consider the whole plot. Sovereign himself is not everything as he seems but the difference there is that he actively hides his secrets while Alina doesn’t necessarily do that as well. In addition to the character twists I really did love the antagonist in the story, the High Queen. She’s fascinating, at the same time gorgeous and hideous and she’s a woman on a mission. What that mission is, I’ll leave you to find out when you read the book but let’s just say it isn’t to solve world hunger or poverty or anything as nice as that.
Even if you’re not a person who’s really into the New Adult genre, I think if you’re into fairies or fae as they’re called here, you’ll enjoy City of Fae. It’s got a sizzling romance, some plot twists that will totally blindside you at first and some excellent world-building. Will there be a sequel? I’m not sure because DaCosta resolves the main conflict but leaves some other questions like what Alina will do next open. So there could be a sequel but the book doesn’t really need one to satisfy you. Go on and pre-order this book, though! It releases on May 7.
I give this book 5/5 stars.
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