Ashlyn McVean doesn’t believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn’t enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what’s most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.
Although written in a light-hearted, amusing style, some of the prose was a bit clunky. Places were more could’ve been given were glazed over with “They talked long into the night,” and the like. I think the story would’ve been served well with better descriptions of the environment with regards to how the main character (Ashlyn) was feeling. For example, it didn’t seem to matter whether Ashlyn was scared or ecstatic, she always managed to make a sarcastic quip about the enemy, her feelings or her environment. While this was amusing at times, it really brings the reader out of the moment. It doesn’t make the danger real.
Kudos, though, to starting the book off with her brother giving CPR to her dad.
The story held my attention, even though it was a little rushed. There are three races (so far, at least): the humans, the Changelings, and the Glaistig. The Changelings are the baddies and like in the lore, they come to the human realm to replace (mostly male) children, and they take the children back to the Changeling realm where they serve as slaves. Turns out (spoiler!) that Ashlyn is a combination of all three races, which is why she’s called a “Bridger.” Changelings can, of course, shift into other people and the Glaistig just seem to be super powerful and immortal–so the natural worry is that Ashlyn is OP (overpowered for the non-gamers). She is, a little bit, but Curd handles the unique combination well and doesn’t abuse it.
The love triangle between Ashlyn, Liam and Reese seems a bit forced. Ashlyn and Liam’s relationship happened very quickly to begin with, and although I don’t mind Liam as a character (besides him being described as dark-haired and mysterious, which made Ashlyn want to know more. Sigh. When will teenaged girls ever learn that this leads you down a very sad road? I guess that’s just part of being a teenager), Reese was extremely annoying, and written to be so, I believe. Although he succeeds in annoying me with his potential ADD and/or ADHD, I think some of his actions are too forward–trying to kiss Ashlyn while Liam is in the room, for example. This storyline takes a backseat in the third act, so I’m wondering what sort of effect it will have on the sequel, if any.
The one character that stood out was her grandmother, Memaw, and without giving too much away, there’s more to her than what you think. The relationship between Ashlyn and Memaw is strong and probably the most developed in the story.
Although an interesting premise, I was looking forward to better writing. Add it to your collection if you’re interested in Celtic faery lore.