The Faerie Ring-Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Of note: Debut Author Challenge #13, YA Historical Fiction Challenge Book #7
Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…
Victorian England is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I first heard about The Faerie Ring, I figured it would be right up my alley. I really enjoyed the story of Tiki (aka Tara) and her life on the streets of London, pick-pocketing to support her and the other children she's living with. She's just scored a great haul of bread and cheese when she discovers a beautiful ring that she thinks is the answers to all her problems. She can sell it and finally get off the streets! Unfortunately for her, finding the ring lands her into a world full of danger.
I really liked Tiki as a strong, female protagonist who really knows what she wants. I also couldn't help but love Rieker, because he was unreliable and honestly I didn't know if he was trustworthy, the author kept me guessing. The supporting characters of Tiki's "family", the other kids she's living with, were well-fleshed out as well.
My only issue with this book was that at times the pacing was slow, and now that I know that this is the first book in a series, I can see why. There's a beginning, middle and end, but you can get the sense that this is just the beginning of a story that is going to get more exciting as it continues.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Fairie Ring, and can't wait to read further books in the series!