“Maddy scowled and scuffed her trainers along the ground. Each time she saw a loose stone she aimed a vicious kick at it, pretending it was Danny’s head that bounced along the street.
She was sick of living in Ireland, sick of Blarney and sick of her idiot cousins.”
Since her parents death, Maddy has been stuck in Blarney. She wants to go back to London, back to her old life and her old friends. But no, she has to stay here, with her grandparents, her annoying cousins and the ridiculous stories her Granda keeps trying to tell her about the faerie people who live in Tir na nOg.
However with Halloween drawing ever closer and Maddy’s insistence on going places she knows she shouldn’t, she starts seeing things, weird things that she can’t explain. When she sees her friend Stephen, just two years old, being taken from his room by a strange creature she starts to think her Granda is on to something after all. So Maddy, followed by her insufferable cousins Roisin and Danny, goes on a dangerous trek to get baby Stephen back and discover the truth about what is going on in Blarney.
I don’t usually get on with fae books, I just don’t seem to like them a lot of the time, but to be honest that is mostly the case with YA fae books. The Feral Child is for a slightly younger audience and has a younger protagonist and with its adventurous yet sinister feel and a flighty, bold main character I was pretty much hooked as soon as I started reading.
Maddy is angry and alone. She keeps getting into trouble with her grandparents and especially her aunt, who is a nightmare and thinks Maddy needs a ‘firm hand’ to set her straight. What her aunt doesn’t realise is how much she is hurting since her parents’ deaths, how much she wants things to return to normal. That is why Maddy acts out and gets into bother a lot… and that is the cause for her being very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That is the start of the story and to be honest, theres a lot of preamble, about 100 pages worth in a 260 page book… But that didn’t really distract me from the story all that much. I enjoyed knowing a lot about our human characters before they ventured into the fae world and it made for a good link between the two worlds later on. I liked it more when they did eventually get to the fae world as I thought it took on more of an adventure/ fairy tale feel. I loved the way the fairy tales we know and love were referenced in the book and that the characters, although they were very young, had their wits about them.
The characters were fantastic and I loved them all, even Danny eventually. Roisin was sweet and a bit naive but that comes with her innocence. George was an amazing asset to the group and although he didn’t speak (obviously, he’s a dog) his presence was always known one way or the other. Granda was a bit annoying but his character reminded me why I read fiction for younger readers, because sometimes adults just cannot do what children can because of their responsibilities and due to thinking too much about the ‘what ifs’. Maddy was by far my favourite character because of her fantastic attitude towards the events of the book. Yes, like I said just before, she was troubled and kicked off at the slightest of things, but she was the only one willing to do what had to be done, and wouldn’t just brush it under the carpet like the adults.
This book is a fantastic read for younger kinds and I think its a great addition to any middle grade library or childs bookshelf. I will definitely be carrying on with the series and that, coming from someone who was thinking about not even giving it a go because its fae, is something that should make you want to read it yourself, if nothing else!
The Feral Child was published on January 5th by Quercus, along with its sequel, The Unicorn Hunter. My copy was received, unsolicited, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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