Series: Newford #12
Format Read: Hardcover
Source: local library
Release Date: February 4, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
This full-color, illustrated companion novel to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest from two masters of modern fantasy is a captivating adventure about magic, family, and the power in believing in both.
When it comes to fairies, Sarah Jane Dillard must be careful what she wishes for. She may have thought she wanted to meet the fairies of the Tanglewood Forest, but that was before she knew the truth about them. When Sarah Jane discovers a tiny man wounded by a cluster of miniature poison arrows, she brings him to the reclusive Aunt Lillian for help. But the two quickly find themselves ensnared in a longtime war between rival fairy clans, and Sarah Jane's six sisters have been kidnapped to use as ransom. Her only choice is to go after them, and with the help of several mythical friends--from the Apple Tree Man to a cat called Li'l Pater--she'll have to find a way to untangle herself from the fairy feud before she and her sisters are trapped in their world forever.
Charles de Lint was one of the first, maybe THE first, urban fantasy author I read and I fell in love both with his writing and this interesting new genre. I read de Lint for years but slowly moved away as his books didn't grab me the way his earlier ones did. When I heard about "The Cats of Tanglewood Forest", it sounded appealing but I didn't get around to reading it. Then I got my hands on this book, which is a sequel of sorts. You can read it as a stand alone but there were times I found myself wishing I'd read the earlier book.
The faeries in de Lint's world are tricksy, you have to watch your words and your behavior. Even the "good" ones can take something innocent and twist it, it's simply how they are. Sarah Jane discovers this the hard way when she helps a wounded fairy. Soon, she and her sisters are caught up in a long-standing war between the Sangmen and the Bee fairies. One thing I liked was how de Lint took the tradition of seven sons in fairy and folk tales and changed it to sisters. The story works either way so why not girls?
The Dillard sisters are smart and resourceful but never interchangeable, de Lint gives them each distinct personalities and traits. As usual in his stories, or the ones I've read anyway, as well as typical for fairy tales, he works in music and ties it into magic. De Lint weaves in many traditional elements of folk and fairy tales and the rural Southern area adds to the traditional flavor yet it's set firmly in the modern world.
"Seven Wild Sisters" is an engaging, smart story with elements of danger, clever girls who can rescue themselves thank you very much, an older woman who has chosen to live an old-fashioned life and is happy, fairies who are scary, kind and wondrous all at once. The story moves quickly and there are delightful secondary characters who add both humor and interest. We never actually see one character, the Father of Cats, though he's mentioned many times and that was a disappointment but I enjoyed the story and de Lint's spin on fairies in the modern world.