The Bright Court
Published May 2012
YA modern fairy tale
Review copy from the author
The Bright Court was a great followup to the first book, The Dark Realm. Feyland is a fascinating, enthralling modern fairy tale, and I can't wait to read the next book. Definitely recommended.
I have something terrible and shocking to confess. Don't freak out - but I don't really like YA as a whole. It has a tendency to be juvenile (I shouldn't be surprised by this, should I), consumed by relationships (like anyone really knows what they want at 16), and kind of generic (I wish people would stop re-writing Twilight with different supernatural creatures). Luckily, some authors, like Maggie Stiefvater, Holly Black, Rachel Vincent, and a few others, manage to step outside the usual trends and write books that are honestly excellent, not just for YA but in general.
Anthea Sharp is one of the good ones. Feyland is a fascinating world, one that merges magic and technology skillfully and seamlessly. I know. You're looking at the description and thinking, "Fairies and video games? Are you sure this isn't just someone combining World of Warcraft and Tron in a book?" Fear not, curious readers. The Bright Court, like its predecessor, The Dark Realm, is much less about video games than it is about bargains, necessity, and even a little bit of love. In this series, the fae resemble classic stories more than in most other books, something I really appreciate. They're dangerous and cruel, and most importantly, they are most definitely not human. I can't think of anything in the worldbuilding I would want to change or complain about.
Feyland has a fairly limited cast of main characters, with secondary characters more sketches than fully fleshed-out figures. Normally I would frown upon this practice, but here it actually fits perfectly with the mood of the story, making it seem more like a fairy tale. (Hey, at least Feyland's characters get real names.) The main characters, Jenet and Tam, exhibit a refreshing lack of angst and (thus far) impending love triangles (hooray!). Their problems originate in socio-economic differences as well as fairy troubles, which, now that I think about it, adds again to the fairy-tale atmosphere.
Overall, I've found this series to be impressively well-written and captivating. I definitely recommend giving The Dark Realm a try and picking up this one as well.