Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

NOTE: The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Dark Quest Books.

What do you get when you want to take something known for its rather pathetic nature (fairies/faeries) and turn that ideology on its head? The anthology series Bad-Ass Faeries is the first thing that comes to my mind. Now at three volumes (Bad-Ass Faeries, Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad, and Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory), the series is reinventing the modern conceptions of just what a fairy is and what one is capable of. One of the key workers at this renovation is Danielle Ackley-McPhail. In the series, each volume contains a tale of the ongoing saga of the Wild Hunt, and in The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale Ackley-McPhail has turned her first two stories, “At the Crossroads” and “Within the Guardian Bell,” into a short novel, with lovely illustrations by Linda Saboe, who did the illustrating work on Bernie Mojzes’ The Evil Gazebo.

So what are you getting into in Ackley-McPhail’s novel? Motorcycle riding, leather clad Lance Cosain, leader of the Wild Hunt motorcycle group, and faerie. However, his people come under attack from the dreaded Dair na Scath, and it is up to Lance to prove himself worthy of his role.

After a number of anthologies containing her work, I have become quite a fan of Ackley-McPhail’s science fiction, but I had yet to explore her fantasy side, nor had I come across any of her work set as far into the humorous vein as this one, so I had no idea what to expect. And what I got was a fast-paced adventure that was a lot of fun to read. At times the absurdity of the situation (I admit it, I saw “bad-ass faeries” as an oxymoron) got to me in a way I didn’t want it to, but overall Ackley-McPhail ran with this one and it was a blast. The handling of the story, as an adventure with humor, rather than necessarily a straight comedic fantasy, reminded me a bit of A. Lee Martinez’s work. This one is short, fast, and fun, and worth a read for anyone who is looking for a light tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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