Sunday, July 12

Book Review: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter

The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter
Book One: The Faire Folk Trilogy
By Gillian Summers
ISBN-13: 978-0738710815

When her mother dies, fifteen-year-old Keelie Heartwood is forced to leave her perfect Los Angeles, Calif., life, to live with her nomadic father at a Renaissance Faire in Colorado. After arriving in a true “La-La Land”, Keelie finds herself wearing hideous “non-mundane” clothing from the Muck and Mire show, suffering from urban withdrawal and her wood allergy acting up big time. With mud up to her unstyled hair, a fairy-tale princess out for blood, a cat on a destruction mission against her, and living with a father she barely knows, this typical California girl, with plans to go to law school at UCLA, wants out of this Renaissance delusion immediately.
When Keelie starts hearing trees and getting attacked by a crazy little man wearing a red cap and with many of the Faire residents sharing her pointy-eared birth defect, Keelie’s dad has some explaining to do…

I’m not sure of a better recommendation for a book than this; on Monday morning after Celtic Classic 2007, at approximately 3 am, when sleep was desperately needed and with a full day of Festival clean-up ahead, this book kept me awake and fully engaged. The writing is clean and crisp, with the teen angst turned into clever repartee that we could only hope a normal teenager is capable of. The author kept the pace moving, while still allowing time for the reader to recognize and empathize with the characters, each of whom is alive in the pages and deserving of a novel of their own. The Celtic elements are obvious when you start meeting the Irish mythology characters showing up as Faire residents and reading the Gaelic names for the different fairies that decide to interfere or to help, according to their nature.

Billed as a book for young adults, The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter is easily enjoyed by the grown-ups wishing to delve into a new world filled with fantasy and fun. The next two books in the series, “Into the Wildwod” and “The Secret of the Dread Forest” are just as good.

–Kat Moyer

Other Reviews:
"In the recent flood of YA novels featuring rebellious teens who discover the supernatural world, this one stands out thanks primarily to the quirky ren-faire setting, some interesting wood magic, and a cat with serious attitude." --LOCUS Magazine

"A promising premise…dedicated teen fantasy fans might enjoy the unusual atmosphere of the Renaissance fair setting in this first book in the planned Faire Folk Trilogy." --VOYA

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