Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Rival (Volume 3 of The Fey)
Bantam Spectra 1997

This is the third book of "The Fey". If you haven't read " The Changeling", don't read any further.

The Blue Isle is still divided, the original Fey invasion force still living in the Shadowlands Rugar created and Gift, the real son of Jewel and Nicholas, saved when Rugar died. Gift is, although not battle-tested and because of that not really respected, the leader of the Fey on the island, while King Nicholas still thinks the golem Sebastian is his son, rejoicing because at least Arianna, his daughter, seems to be fully alive and well. Although she isn't well seen among her own, the Islanders, many of them calling her "witch" behind her back. What would they call her if they knew she could shift to any form she wants, an ability unheard of even among the Fey? But those things, once so important, suddenly become trivial when the Black King, Rugad, arrives with an enormous Fey invasion force, crossing the mountains nobody thought it possible to cross and taking Fey and Islanders alike completely by surprise. The Islanders becoming even more surprised when these Fey turn out to be resistant to the holy water of the Rocaan Church.

Ms Rusch keeps on weaving her amazing tale, always from different people's points of view, at the same time giving us a broad perspective and the subjectivity of personal experience. She keep on killing off important characters, letting the plot turn in surprising twists, suddenly changing the scenario completely. Jewel's death in the second book was one of those moments, there are a few of them in this - not as revolutionary as letting the heroine die, but still making this epic one where nothing could be taken for granted. And still it is a pleasant book to read. Sometimes it feels like breaking the rules is a goal in itself for the author, but never in this series. It's not just well-written and somewhat experimental in the plotting and the story-telling technique. It is also totally absorbing, a book you hardly can put aside once you've started reading it. Entertainment and style in a blistering amalgamation. After three books, I still consider this series one of the best fantasy series ever written, and I'm eagerly awaiting the fourth book of the Fey, "The Resistance". Now the publishing company tells me it won't be out until spring 1998. Hurry, please! I want it now!

Karl Henriksson

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Books by the same author:
The Sacrifice (Book 1 of The Fey)
The Changeling (Book 2 of The Fey)
The Resistance (Book 4 of The Fey)

Rusch, Kristine Kathryn (personal home page)

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Henriksson & Henriksson 1997.