In the future, our world is a very dark place. You see, the faerie world has always lived in conjunction with that of our own. However, several years ago, war broke out between the two species, and now ours is left in horrible disarray. Machines and other such devices have been destroyed, unable to work properly. On top of that, the plants of the world have be made into vicious obstacles which attack humans whenever possible.
Liza is a teenage girl who lives in a run-down farming village located in what remains of the Midwestern part of the United States. All her life she has been taught by her father that magic is evil and brings about death. This is embodied by the fact that her new born baby sister, who is shown of having signs of faerie powers, is taken away by her father to die on a hill side. To complicate matters, her mother runs away soon after. However, sometime after this incident, Liza discovers she herself has these powers in the form of seeing visions. Frightened of what harm she might bring about, and what the villagers might do to her, she flees into the forest with her cat, Tallow, and her friend, Matthew, as companions.
However, after being attacked by some malevolent trees, they are rescued by a woman with magic abilities named Karin. Though she takes them to safety in a well-meaning town, Liza soon discovers that there is much more to the story of the war between the humans and faeries.
A 2009 young adult
fantasy novel written by Janni Lee Simner. The first in a trilogy, it was followed by Faerie Winter
(2011) and Faerie After
(2013). There is also a short story set in the same universe called "Invasive Species", which can be read here
Tropes used in this novel:
- Abusive Parents: Liza's father, who believes in physical punishment and willingly lets one of his children die.
- The Lady acts as an abusive grandparent for Elin, verbally abusing her when she cannot handle hurting humans and even changes her into a hawk as punishment.
- After the End
- And I Must Scream: Seers must be careful when delving into visions. Go too far, and they are stuck wandering in a fake world.
- In Faerie Winter, The Lady turns the members of Liza's town into trees. Liza can feel their souls slowly fading away.
- Animorphism: Some magic users, like Mathew can change into animals.
- Baleful Polymorph: The Lady enjoys turning humans or individuals who displease her into animals or trees.
- Bookends: The first and last chapters of the first book both start with "I had a sister once."
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Tara notes that Liza and all of the human children with magical powers are unable to lie.
- Cheerful Child: Allie.
- Chekhov's Gun: Kate's mirror. Liza uses it to lead to group out of the faerie world.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Liza finds that her dead baby sister has been following her.
- Disaster Scavengers: Although circumscribed by the forests from being nomadic, Liza's and Allie's towns are still scavenging what remains from Before.
- Don't Go in the Woods
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Used by Liza's father.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: The plants were changed by the faerie during the war to become malevolent forces which attack people.
- The Fair Folk: The faerie in this universe are pretty much humans and can die just like us. However, they live longer and have white hair. Also they are not evil per se. The humans are implied to have instigated the war and the faeries were protecting themselves. In addition, their world is rendered completely unlivable due to the use of nuclear weapons.
- Fiery Redhead: Allie.
- Ghostly Chill: The shadowy ghosts are so cold that humans can die if they come into contact.
- Glamour: The faeries have the ability to completely control humans. This never ends well as, most of the time, the humans are forced to hurt themselves, other people, or even kill themselves.
- Good Powers, Bad People: One of the big lessons Liza learns is that most magics cut both ways.
- Bad Powers, Bad People pops up in Faerie Winter in the form of Glamour, a kind of magic that allows the faeries to control humans. Glamour is often used for more sadistic purposes.
- Healing Hands: Some faeries/magic users, like Allie and Caleb, have the ability of healing others.
- The Hero's Journey
- I Know Your True Name: Faerie rarely give out their real names because magic often only works on an individual if the caster knows their real name. Liza, Kyle and Johnny fall victim to Glamour because Elin knew their real names and could control them. Liza eventually discovers Elin's and The Lady's real names in order to fight and protect her village.
- Incurable Cough of Death: When Liza and the others finally find her mother Tara she has developed one of these due to the radiation that plagues the faerie world. She gets better though.
- Subverted in Faerie Winter, as Tara seems to be quite ill, as she keeps coughing. She's actually pregnant.
- Infant Immortality: Averted with with Liza's sister.
- I Will Find You: Liza's search for her mother.
- I See Dead People: Liza has the ability to talk to the shadowy ghost figures and allow them to move on to the afterlife.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Liza.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Liza's cat Tallow.
- Magical Land: Subverted with the faerie world, which is ... not so magical by the time Liza reached it.
- The Medic: Assuming this position is how Allie is able to convince Liza and Matthew to let her join them.
- Memento MacGuffin: The Missouri quarter Caleb gives Liza, which her mother had given him, which leads Liza to her mother.
- Magic Mirror: Played with. Kate's mirror is not inherently magical, but, due to its reflective surface, Liza makes it into a portal using her powers.
- Many of the surviving humans are afraid of mirrors and destroy them because they believe that faeries will use them as portals into our world.
- Missing Mom: Liza's mother, Tara. When Liza first discovers that she herself possesses magic, she goes out to find her.
- Mystical White Hair: Those who have the power of magic in them have white hair. Liza, whose powers develop later, has her hair change, over time, from black to white.
- Noble Wolf: Matthew is a Nice Guy, wolf form or not. However, considering he can switch betweeh them (evil magic!) muggles think he fits the other trope.
- Older Than They Look: Karin and Caleb. Those born as faerie or possess their powers have a longer lifespan and also look youthful.
- Our Fairies Are Different
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts are shadowy figures unable to properly make it into the afterlife.
- Parental Abandonment: A huge theme in Faerie Winter; Liza and Tara have quite a bit of tension due to Liza feeling abandoned by her mother when she ran away and still feeling an emotional distance even when they are together again. Karin left her daughter Elin in order to fight in the war and to go to the human world.
- Portal Painting: Kate's mirror.
- Raised by Grandparents: Elin is raised by The Lady after her mother Karin leaves for the human world; this has affected her negatively emotionally as well as morally. Matthew lives with his grandmother Kate; their relationship is much more healthy.
- Seeker Archetype: Liza.
- Seer: Liza, who, when tranxfixed by light, can see visions of both the last as well as the possible future.
- Scavenger World: How Liza's town survives.
- Shape Shifter: Matthew's power.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: After Liza, Matthew, and Allie leave the latter's safe village, they cross a barrier of magic stones which causes Matthew to become stuck in his wolf form. It happens again to Matthew in Faerie Winter as The Lady uses Glamour on him to stay in his wolf form.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Kyle, who has the ability to talk and control animals.
- Tag Along Kid: Allie.
- Trend Covers: Twilight variation.
- When Trees Attack: What happens when the faeries enchant the plants to attack humans.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: For the most part, Matthew can change to and from his wolf form at will.