Written by Kiki Hamilton
Published September, 2011 by Tor Teen
Genres: Faeries, Historical
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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…
I had very high expectations for The Faerie Ring. The story itself held a lot of promise, but I felt that by the middle of the book, things just weren’t keeping up with the regular and page-turning pace that I’d hoped for. The ‘fantasy’ aspect seemed to take a backseat, and the story came to revolve more around Tiki’s uncertainty than it did the myth and intrigue of the fae.
I am very surprised that this one didn’t agree with me. I have been waiting to get my hands on The Faerie Ring for quite some time – gorgeous cover, Victorian London, fae! – but I just couldn’t find myself enjoying the book as a whole. While The Faerie Ring started out really wonderfully, things just didn’t pick up or continue with an exciting, page-turning pace. The things I liked about this book originally – the things that gave it a particular flavour – were drawn out too much and soon became a little tiring for me to read about.
I loved Tiki’s world upon beginning the book. It’s very Oliver Twist, as Tiki and her adopted family are a band of pickpockets struggling to survive in Victorian London. Thrown into this mix is what seems to be an intricate fae story. I LOVE historical fantasy and I had my hopes set high for this debut by Kiki Hamilton. As I got further into the story, however, I was disappointed to find that things just weren’t evolving. The mystery wasn’t deepening, the characters weren’t growing, and I still felt as if I were on the first few pages rather than delving into a mesmerizing plot.
This book had so much potential. The synopsis snapped up my interest right away – so I’m really crestfallen that the book itself did not. I have been struggling with this book for about a week or more now, because I just couldn’t find the heart to pick it up again after reading one or two chapters. I wanted things to slowly peel back and reveal themselves to me in the way of the fae myth and lore… I wanted to be shocked by character revelations… instead I thought the characters were merely pacing back and forth between what to do with the titular ring.
The ‘fae’ plotline itself never really comes full-circle, and I felt that the creatures took backseat to Tiki’s apprehension about claiming the ring for the reward. The fae only show up once or twice, until at the end you find yourself not much caring for what they have to say. Because I was – and I hate to use this word when reading – bored – I found that I couldn’t bring myself to care particularly about any of the characters, including Tiki, Reiker and the children.
I am very sure this debut by Kiki Hamilton will appeal to a lot of people, but it wasn’t the sort of book that really hooked me in. It had all the promising elements of a must-read, but it just didn’t deliver for me. I think it’s one of the only times I’ve disagreed with a goodreads average rating (It’s 4-point-something as I write this).
Give this book a go if you’re curious – because I’m sure there are those out there who will LOVE it – it just wasn’t the book for me. There are about four books in this series planned (according to GR), but I won’t be continuing them. Kiki Hamilton has a lot of promise as a writer (her writing style is good), so I might look into her work again in the future when or if she comes out with another series.
Recommended to: Give The Faerie Ring a go if you enjoy historical fantasy.