Nettle King

Katherine Harbour. Harper Voyager, $12.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-228678-9
This contemporary fantasy, which concludes Harbour’s Night and Nothing trilogy (after Thorn Jack and Briar Queen), feels overly familiar. College student Serafina “Finn” Sullivan brought her sister, Lily, out of the underworld, but at a terrible price. Finn’s lover, Jack, took Lily’s place there, and in short, kaleidoscopic chapters, Finn fails at several successive distasteful rituals that might let her rescue him. With the help of eerie Caliban, Finn learns that Jack has become a Fata (fairy) creature, living off mortal energy and wreaking havoc on Fair Hollow, where Finn and her many adolescent friends, her family, and her professors live. “Normal” adults can’t see the Fatas, so the youngsters have to save the human world. Before a predictably violent and spooky conclusion, mythic elements from disparate folkloric traditions swarm through this inflated narrative. The story is full of exciting moments and has a hectic pace, but it suffers from a too-large cast. Shape-shifting buildings, Fatas that influence humans through scathing nightmares, and an interminable procession of weird, crimson-eyed, needle-toothed entities can’t atone for jarring dialogue (“Stand still or I’ll bash your girl’s brains in”) and the confusing similarities of some characters’ names in this inflated foray into the uncanny. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4805-9414-2
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Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-228682-6
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