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All sixteen-year-old Alex Nevus wants is to be two years older and become his sister Alice’s legal guardian. That, and he’d like his first kiss, preferably with Jerod Haynes, the straight boy with the beautiful girlfriend and the perfect life. Sadly, wanting something and getting it are very different. Strapped with a mentally ill mother, Alex fears for his own sanity. Having a fairy on his shoulder only he can see doesn’t help, and his mom’s schizophrenia places him and Alice in constant jeopardy of being carted back into foster care.
When Alex’s mother goes missing, everything falls apart. Frantic, he tracks her to a remote corner of Manhattan and is transported to another dimension—the land of the Unsee, the realm of the Fey. There he finds his mother held captive by the power-mad Queen May and learns he is half-human and half-fey—a Haffling.
As Alex’s human world is being destroyed, the Unsee is being devoured by a ravenous mist. Fey is vanishing, and May needs to cross into the human world. She needs something only Alex can provide, and she will stop at nothing to possess it… to possess him.
When our blog planned this event and all of us had to choose an author who first released a book in 2013, I admit that I had a difficult time. Most of the authors whose works intrigued me, I had read. I really had no idea whom I should choose!!
Then I saw the blurb for Caleb James’s HAFFLING and thought – heck, a young adult dealing with feys. That might be fun. Because I seem to have a good track record with adult fiction (mostly M/F urban fantasy) that deals with feys/faes, so why not try this?
And I had a blast!!
At first, it wasn’t easy to get into the story. I wondered about the fairy that Alex seemed to be talking to – was this his hallucination, was this real? But I powered it through and soon enough I was charmed by Alex’s life. I think it was his daily life that helped me to easily enjoy this story – aside from the fantasy world, which was introduced later. Alex had to deal with his schizophrenic mother (or was she?), taking care of his little sister, to ensure that they would not be separated anymore by the Child Services because bad things happened, all the while fighting for a crush on his schoolmate, Jarod. Really, it was easy to sympathize with Alex! He was an admirable young man…
Then we were brought to the fantasy land – to the realm of the Fey, and it became a race of good versus evil, because the powerful Queen May wanted to rule the human world, and she needed a haffling to do it. I was caught up with the adventure, and how Jarod became someone that Alex could depend on, and it was exciting, and it was thrilling, and it was really, REALLY good. Queen May was a great villain — she was cunning, manipulative, and really creepy.
The ending might be a little bit weird and absurd and the idea of “love will save the day” was probably too ‘adult’ for a young adult story, in my opinion – but heck, I was enjoying this too much to complain about it.
One thing you all must know – after reading this, I got in the mood to read young adult adventure fantasy – and ended up reading all four books of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series. That was how MUCH this book influenced me. So, if you are looking for fantasy, action, with a side of romance which features a gay protagonist, I’d say give this one a try. I think you will fall in love with Alex – just like me.
RATING: 4 STARS