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Literature / The Fey and the Fallen

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Father-son reunion

The Fey and the Fallen is a two book Urban Fantasy/Historical Fantasy series written by Stina Leicht that takes place in Ireland during The Troubles.

After his wrongful arrest and traumatizing stay in prison, sixteen year old Liam discovers that he has supernatural abilities, including the ability to shapeshift and convince' people to leave him alone. Unbeknownst to him, this is because his birth father, Bran, is a Puca and Fianna— a faerie warrior, a fact hidden from him by his mother Kathleen, who fears what danger the knowledge would bring.

The fey are at war with the Fallen, angels who fell from Heaven, as they try to invade Faerie and Earth. Now Liam is in danger not only from the growing tensions between the British and the IRA, but also from his father's enemies who would gladly strike at him to get to Bran, as well as the Catholic church's monster hunting sect who can't tell the fey apart from demons.

The first novel covers several years of Liam's life as he tries to start a family in increasingly dangerous times. The second follows Liam and Father Murray as they try to make peace between the The Order of Milites Dei and the Fianna.

The books in the series are:

  1. Of Blood and Honey (2011)
  2. And Blue Skies From Pain (2013)

Provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Eirnin trying to get Liam to convince Bran to make peace between the warring fey clans. It's mentioned that the other clans are at odds because the fairy king refuses to accept the Fallen as a threat, but then none of it is ever brought up again, and the story focuses on tensions between Liam and the church.
  • Abortion Fallout Drama: Near the beginning of their marriage, to Liam's complete obliviousness, Mary Kate becomes pregnant and leaves town to have an abortion. This is because Father Murray convinced her to, as he knows Liam is a Half-Human Hybrid and assumed the child would be a demon. She and the others involved tell Liam that she's only ill and seeing a doctor friend, and after she is clearly traumatized by the situation. It's not until much, much later that Liam learns of it, and it is one of the things that contributes to his Despair Event Horizon. When Mary Kate's ghost appears in the second book, working through the abortion is one of the things they must do for her to be at peace.
  • Addled Addict: Liam becomes one for a time, though he gets better. Mostly. It becomes a problem when MI6 agent Haddock forcibly kicks him Off the Wagon in order to make Liam's Provo crew think he's a liability and turncoat.
  • The Atoner: After learning that he and the church have been killing (probably mostly) innocent fairies, Father Murray is racked with guilt and dedicates himself to trying to convince the church to accept that the fair folk are real and spectate entities from the Fallen in order to end the violence. it doesn't work, so he takes up vigilantism.
  • Badass Driver: Liam becomes a getaway driver for the IRA and participates in races for fun. While he's skilled at it on his own, his magic can unconsciously manifest and allow him to drive in ways that shouldn't be possible.
  • Bastard Bastard: Henry, AKA Henry Sanders, the redcap claims that Liam's father, Bran raped his English mother and is his real father, and that's why he's come for revenge. The man accused denies ever setting foot outside of Ireland, and while Henry appears to believe his own story, it is implied that it may be the Fallen misleading him.
  • Book Dumb: Although perfectly intelligent, Liam is nearly illiterate for much of the first book, and it takes him two years in prison with the dedicated help of some of his fellow inmates before he passes his last year of secondary school.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Mary Kate and Liam have been friends since they were nine years old, and Liam's been carrying a torch for her since. They finally get married after Liam's second prison stint.
  • Church Militant: The Order of Milites Dei, an entire secret sect of the Catholic church dedicated to killing the Fallen. Unfortunately, they can't tell them apart from the Sidhe, who are ALSO trying to kill the Fallen.
  • Cold Iron: Fey from Ireland are weak against cold iron, and sensitive to most metals that have iron as a component, though it's implied that this isn't the case for all types of fairy, and the English Red Cap is specifically stated not to be bothered by it. Liam develops the habit of touching metal whenever he loses his temper and feels his magic starting to break out, as the metal neutralizes it.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Catholic church has a special branch just for demon hunting.
  • Demonic Possession: One of the many threats the Fallen pose is their ability to control people.
  • Disappeared Dad: Bran plays no role in Liam's childhood and doesn't speak with him until the last act of the first book. This is because Kathleen specifically made him promise not to interfere with his upbringing. However, as soon as he's able to, be becomes very protective of Liam.
  • Dirty Cop: The British forces that take Liam and others to jail for the riots don't care if they arrest actual terrorists or if they take in innocent bystanders. Detective Inspector Haddock earns special mention for kidnapping, coercion, and forcibly injecting Liam with heroin in order to make other IRA members assume Liam is selling them out for drugs.
  • Dramatic Irony: The reader knows from the start that Liam is half fairy, and that his father is a high ranking fey "Fianna" warrior in a war against fallen angels. Liam doesn't figure out that he's actually fey until the last 3rd of the first novel, and only gets things properly explained to him at the end of the book.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: After Mary Kate is murdered, Liam lets his monster half take control and joyfully roams the streets as a giant, murderous, magical hound. Most of the people he kills are in some way Asshole Victims, he later fears that many were ''not''.
  • Enemy Within: Liam's "monster," which appears to be a manifestation of his magic's primal need to protect himself and his loved ones. Unfortunately, the best way it thinks to do so is by transforming Liam into a monster and killing people.
  • Empty Shell: In the second book, Father Murray uses hypnosis techniques to help Liam keep the wolf inside him asleep. Because the monster is actually an aspect of Liam's fey magic that he has intentionally othered and alienated because he blames it for everything wrong with himself, literally causing himself to come apart, this results in Laim's emotions being heavily muted and himself feeling strangely empty.
  • The Fair Folk: The Sidhe are in a war with "The Fallen." Liam's father is a Sidhe warrior who is attempting to protect him and his mother from backlash from the Other Side.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Why Kathleen hides Liam's heritage from him, and why she forbids Bran from speaking to him.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Liam is the child of one of the fair folk and a human woman, and he inherits his father's magic. However, though the reader knows this from chapter two of the first book, Liam has no idea until much, much later.
  • Heroic BSoD: Liam has a few. One following his trauma at Kesh, the other after Mary Kate is murdered. For the latter, he completely checks out for two months in a drug-fueled haze, and doesn't wake up until Oran comes to get him.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: After his Despair Event Horizon, Liam reflects that no matter how much he wants to die, the "beast" won't let him until he's taken revenge on Mary Kate's murderers.
  • I Know Your True Name: The Redcap tells Liam that with his kind of English magic, true names have power over others. He intends touse Liam's true name to make him murder his parents and Father Murray. Too bad for him that he didn't know Liam's entire name.
  • Left Hanging: Liam and Father Murray have worked out a truce between the fey and the church, but the Fallen are still at war, the other faerie clans are still at war with Bran's, and the king of all the faerie clans is apparently mad or a coward hiding in his inaccessible castle, Conor's connection Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula isn't explained, half the church still considers Liam to be a demon and want to kill him, Liam's little sister Moira has magic but no one to help her through it, and Liam is supposedly going to become a demon detector for the church so they know which of their targets are innocent fey, and which one are actual demons— something that is causing Liam turmoil due to his newfound pacifist stance.
  • Missing Reflection: It is mentioned that the fey can't be photographed unless they want to be. This makes Kathleen's photos of Bran all the more meaningful.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After letting the wolf in him take over, Liam realizes that it likely killed many innocent people along with those who have done him actual wrong. The turning point comes when he kills Detective Haddock by setting off his own car bomb, and after the explosion, he remembers that there had been a woman and children on the street, and he sees the woman's bloodied shoe. The children were fine, and the woman was injured, but will fully recover. The incident still haunts him, and it's the point where he attempts to lock up the wolf permanently.
    • After Father Murray realizes that the Fey are real and separate entities from the demons he hunts, he suffers immense guilt from convincing Mary Kate to abort her and Liam's baby, as well as the deaths of countless "demons" over the years that he had a hand in.
  • Our Angels Are Different: While we don't see any still-holy angels, the fallen we see all smell like rotting corpses and are grotesque monsters hiding beneath their human facades.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The different kinds of traditional faeries exist, and are currently at war with fallen angels. Bran is specifically a Puca who prefers to shapeshift into a wolfhound, while Sceolin prefers the form of a hawk.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They are human souls remaining on Earth. If a fairy kills a human in a way that is not self-defense and not a fair fight, the human soul can get "stuck" to the fey that killed them. Liam finds this out the hard way when Haddock and Oran come to haunt him.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: When Liam's stepfather Patrick and Mary Kate's father show up to stop the two from meeting one night, Liam proposes to Mary Kate on the spot. Mr. Gallagher is resigned to it, knowing he wouldn't be able to talk Kate out of anything, but Patrick refuses to accept it, and the ensuing fight between he and Liam irrevocably drives a wedge between the two.
  • Poor Communication Kills: the fey are ancient magical creatures that lived before humans, but went dormant. Humans and the Fallen came into being around the same time, and their presence woke the Fianna up. The fey specifically war against the Fallen, but the Catholic Church can't tell the difference between the two supernatural groups and wind up killing more of the fair folk than anything else. When Father Murray finds this out, he has a Heroic BSoD realizing that the Church had been killing the innocent children of its allies this entire time.
  • Power Incontinence: Liam has trouble controlling what abilities he has. Some magic works unconsciously, and others he has to actively fight to control. In the second book, thanks to Murray's help, he begins the book having quieted the "monster" inside him, but loses the ability to shapeshift.
  • Prison Rape: Liam is raped by one of the wardens while in prison. The incident is Played for Horror, and he suffers severe PTSD from the incident for years after, unable to speak of the incident with anyone and reacting violently when anyone even mentions the name of the prison.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: when he is angered or losing control of his magic, Liam's eyes turn red. His father, Bran, shares the same trait.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The Redcap is sent after Liam and Kathleen in retaliation for war crimes committed by Bran's men. At least, that's what Bran thought. . .
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Liam hunts down and slaughters the men who murdered Mary Kate one by one.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Liam and his father look nearly identical (at least when the latter is in his human form). Both of them also favor transforming into wolfhounds, as opposed to the traditional Puca horse.
  • Suicide by Cop: Liam is falling apart in the second book, switching between Empty Shell and The Berserker. Father Murray and Father Stephens are genuinely concerned by his complete lack of self preservation and his growing depression, and fear that Liam may attempt to get himself killed by the church militia on purpose (something that nearly happens in the beginning of the novel when wanders into a smuggling operation for no reason).
  • The Shrink: Father Stevenson, the doctor in the second book assigned by the church to monitor Liam, is the first one to actually conduct any kind of psychological assessment on Liam, and the results aren't comforting. He accurately deduces that Liam is developing neurotic symptoms and dissassociation (caused by him alienating part of his fey magic), he notices that Liam is expressing symptoms of sexual trauma, and he sees his increasingly severe depression.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Liam's entire life could be described as one, starting with his wrongful imprisonment and subsequent abuse, then his second wrongful imprisonment (this time lasting for two years), but things really kick into gear when a pregnant Mary Kate is murdered, Father Murray reveals that he convinced Mary Late to abort their first child, agent Haddock forces a now Recovering Addict Liam to take heroin (literally holding him down and forcibly injecting him) in order to sow dissent and mistrust among Liam's crew and shoving Liam Off the Wagon, Oran is revealed to have been a spy and Liam is forced by the IRA to kill him, only to find out that his crew leader is also a traitor and set them all up, and finally learning the truth about his fairy blood and realizing that he could have saved Mary Kate if he had known about the danger of the Redcap from the start. Then, after all that, he Gets Drunkon The Dark Side and wakes up to find out that he may have murdered many innocent people. There's a reason the second book begins with him as an Empty Shell and borderline Death Seeker.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Why Bran has showed up for the first time in ages. An assassin has been sent after Liam and Kathleen in retribution for actions the Fianna under Bran's control did during the war.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Bran can transform into a black dog. Eventually, Liam learns how to do it too.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Phillip Sanders, the warden who beat and rapes Liam while mocking him for it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Conor and Eirnín are introduced as other half-breed children from different fey clans that are currently at odds with Bran's. Conor gives Liam an enchanted jacket to protect him, and Eirnín tries to barter with Liam for peace between the different fey clans (hoping he can convince his father). Eirnín vanishes from the novel entirely after that, and Conor arrives for the Big Damn Heroes moment, only to be never mentioned again.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: As far as the church is concerned, there are humans, ghosts, and angels (Fallen or not). Ghosts are exorcised and the Fallen and their spawn are to be exterminated. When it comes to light that The Fair Folk exist and are also enemies of the Fallen, getting the church to change their extermination policies becomes one of the driving plot points.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Bran tells Kathleen that a specific trait of the fair folk when it comes to humans is that humans who do them harm tend to have very bad luck, and those who help them tend to have very good luck. While we never see the latter, and Liam is a bit of a Doom Magnet, we certainle see the former. As the story progresses, Liam racks up a sizeable body count of people (mostly prison guards, bullies, and British soldiers) who have hurt or threatened him and then suffer coincidental and untimely demises. As per the Dramatic Irony of the story, while others around him believe these deaths to have something to do with Liam, Liam is completely oblivious to it.