(Cover picture courtesy of Anthea Sharp’s Wattpad.)
High-tech gaming and ancient magic collide when a computer game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie.
Jennet Carter never thought hacking into her dad’s new epic-fantasy sim-game would be so exciting… or dangerous. Behind the interface, dark forces lie in wait, leading her toward a battle that will test her to her limits and cost her more than she ever imagined.
[Full disclosure: Unlike with her other works, I was not provided this short story by Anthea Sharp. I downloaded it for free off Amazon so (as usual) my review is completely honest.]
While we caught flashes of Jennet’s first forays into Feyland in The Dark Realm, we never really saw the level of detail that’s revealed in this short story. We learn a little more about the Queen’s plot to bring Jennet to her, Jennet’s first quests and her character flaws. After meeting the selfless person Jennet became in The Twilight Realm it’s a little hard going back to her old spoiled self, but it makes perfect sense.
A lot of prequels don’t really add anything to the established universe but this one does. It’s not necessary for understanding the story, but it gives you a much clearer picture of the events leading up to Jennet asking Tam Lin to be her champion. There’s also a little more detail about Jennet’s life and her rather rocky relationship with her single father.
The plot was fast-paced and interesting even though I knew what was going to happen. The characters were believable and I loved the dynamic between Jennet and her father that explains a lot of her actions later on in the series. So overall, The First Adventure is a pretty good short story. If you read it and like it (it’s free on all major ebook platforms) I can’t recommend the rest of the trilogy enough.
I give this short story 5/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
The year is 1162. Sixteen-year-old Lady Jeanette Avenel has always enjoyed her freedom as second daughter of a minor Norman nobleman in Teviotdale, Scotland. But after her sister, Isabel, disgraces the family, Jenny is suddenly thrust into the role of eldest daughter. Now Jenny has been chosen as a potential bride to the heir of the king of Scotland. While learning the customs of the royal court, Jenny is drawn to a mysterious young man rumoured to have been kidnapped by fairies, not knowing his past holds a secret that threatens everyone close to him—including Jenny.
An Earthly Knight is one of those books that stays with you, even years later. I decided to re-read it a few weeks ago and it was just as good as I remember.
Based off the ballads Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight and Tam Lin, it is both a mixture of historical fiction and fantasy. Since I have never read either of these ballads, I will not comment on how close An Earthly Knight sticks to them because I have no idea. However, I do recognize many fairy tale elements, like evil fairies and false love, so readers who love fairy tales will also enjoy this book.
Lady Jeanette, usually called Jenny, is the wonderful main character of this novel. She is three dimensional, strong for a woman of her time and does not fall instantly in love with Tam Lin. Her sister Isabel is actually my favourite character because although she is only a secondary character, Janet McNaughton did not neglect her character development. Or the character development of any other secondary characters, for that matter.
An Earthly Knight may be a bit slow-paced for some readers because of the descriptive writing style, but I still enjoyed it. Janet McNaughton draws her readers into a world where history and myth collide, where love and loyalty are put to the test and traditions are challenged. If you like fairy tale re-tellings, fantasy, and/or historical fiction, this is the book for you. As long as you don’t mind a little cliché, that is.
I give this book 5/5 stars.