To kick off my first book review of the year, I am reviewing Faerie Apocalypse by Melbourne based author Jason Franks. Faerie Apocalypse has been published by the Australian arm of IFWG Publishing. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jason in person at an Oz Comic-Con event a few years ago, having made contact via Facebook beforehand. When he placed a call out for an ARC of the novel for a review, I jumped at the chance. This is the first novel I have read of his and had no idea on what to expect (I do have a copy of Bloody Waters on my Kindle to read at some point).
Just prior to reading the novel, John Scalzi tweeted a photo of the novel in a pile of books and then posted a blog entry on the development and ideas behind the novel. Go on, take a ganger over here and come back when done.
Done? Great. It saves me some time on explaining the plot.
Jason wastes no time throwing you into this new Realm. From the get go, he uses the common fantasy trope of The Quest but as the story progresses, the usual rules don’t apply. Jason does a great job at subverting this idea, having the citizens of the Faerie Realm well aware of quests and that only mortals from our own world perform these. Without going into spoiler territory, this idea further develops with another character.
Speaking of characters, the idea of using descriptors rather than names took some getting used to. Once you get past this though, the story really flows. Only a handful of characters are actually named, but with good reason, which once again heads into spoiler territory.
Jason’s prose style is short and sweet, painting the world in broad brush strokes, but also fine enough detail where warranted. I could easily imagine the landscape of the Faerie Realm whilst reading. Maybe a little more character descriptions may have helped, but it also allows the reader to form their own ideas on how they do look. The style used also allows the story time to move along at a cracking pace. With each sitting, I found I had read significant chunk each time. There are moments that are violent, but the short prose allows that broad brush stroke without it being so vividly brought to life.
The ending is also, like the prose style, one that is shorter, as in there is no aftermath of the events that unfold, no coda or epilogue. He gives a satisying conclusion without the needlessly drawn out endings that a lot of fantasy novels or films (I’m looking at you The Lord of the Rings) tend to use, nor how the events change the characters and their outlook on how life is different. You can make up your own mind on this.
All in all, a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading over five sittings. Highly recommended.