I first got wind of Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie at a publisher’s preview last fall. When the representative described the book as post-apocalyptic fantasy, I was immediately intrigued. I spotted a copy of Bones of Faerie at Barnes and Noble last week and fell in love with the cover (contrasting black and pale blue). While I was sick yesterday I was able to finish the book and now I want to make everyone I know read it!
Post-apocalyptic fantasy? Faeries? Dystopian? Can all of these words really describe one book? And can that book possibly be good with all of that going on? In Janni Lee Simner’s case, the answer is a resounding yes!
The War between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Fifteen-year old Liza only knows about Before from warnings and stories told by humans who lived through the War. There are references to things like TV, airplanes, and plastic- all gone since the War. Magic is forbidden now, and nothing in Faerie has been seen or heard from since the War. However, the remnants of the War still remain- plants that are now predators, animals that have developed increased predatory skills toward humans, and crops that fight against being harvested.
Liza’s town is closed to strangers and they struggle to survive. If children are born with the markings of magic (pale hair) they are killed. Liza’s baby sister, Rebecca, was left on a hillside to die when her father saw that she was clearly fay. Liza’s mother runs away soon after, and Liza follows when she realizes she, too, might be magic.
She is joined by Matthew, a friend who shares his secret with her- he is magic. Together, they seek out her mother, making new friends along the way. Liza begins to realize that not all towns are like hers. And that maybe magic can be good. Maybe the Faerie and human worlds can coexist in peace. Just maybe.
This is a though-provoking page-turner that and I really, really enjoyed it. The post-apocalyptic magic angle is one I haven’t seen explored before and yet it worked so well. You will be hooked as soon as you read the first paragraph of this debut YA from Janni Lee Simner. Simner has crafted a believable, haunting world and I hope that she writes more about the War! In fact, I am already dying for a prequel, to learn exactly what happened between Faerie and humanity. Thankfully, I am at least a bit appeased by Simner’s short story in Coyote Wild Magazine, “Invasive Species,” set in the world of Bones of Faerie.
If you love dystopian fiction, this one is for you!