Hello, my friends, and I welcome you to the spectacular month of November. To start our journey into the holiday season, I bring you the much-anticipated release from Crystal L. Kirkham. For those of you who have read my reviews for over a year, I have reviewed three of her previous works, including a short story collection and two novels from her very first series. Those three books were all indy published by Crystal, and they all have special places in my heart.
So it is no surprise that on this day when Crystal got published by Kyanite Publishing, I was excited to buy and read her book. I purchased this myself, and I got no ARC version and no spoilers at all. I wanted to give this book an honest review for someone who took a chance on a little known reviewer to even let me read her books before. As such I am pulling no punches here, I am holding nothing back, I shall give an honest review of “Feathers and Fae” by Crystal L. Kirkham.
To begin, we go into the first impressions of the book, and I was a bit confused. The title and book cover promised me a fantasy story, and I was dealing with two pre-college teenagers having a spat. But that my friends were the hook, and as I read, I found myself in the world that Crystal so carefully trapped me in. My mind was swimming in a mythical tale of fantasy and an unusual amount of modern ideas. By the end of the hook, I was very much engaged in this story, and I had difficulty putting it down even when life demanded I must.
So that brings me to critiques. I promised upfront, and I’m pulling not one punch here. To start with my analyses, I go into the category of “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” and I had a story structure issue. There is a main character, and she is essential, and she is very stubborn. The problem I have with her character is that through the manuscript, we are under the impression she is strong-willed and will not do a darn thing to help herself in spite of others. At the very end of the book, something big happens, she has a character change. Now, that is not the critique at all to be precise. In this case, it’s character progression change that is needed in any story. The critique issue I have is with “off the page this thing happens, and it’s important,” and the example I am using is not the only time this happens.
There is another issue where the group of brave adventurers gets separated, and we are only treated to the first person’s life of the main character. That’s not a problem per se, but off the page, somehow, this significant secondary character shows up, and I felt their arrival was shoved into the story rather awkwardly. Thus, my overall critique, while I understand the idea was to keep the book on the perspective on one character, there needed to be better explanations for the off-page things. That’s a structure issue. I’m not sure how you even would fix it, but I do know as a reader, it feels very jarring to be told what happened rather than read it.
Now, onto the positives. We go to “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” and I’m starting with Presentation. “Feathers and Fae” have in the eBook copy upped the game for all e-book copies I have ever read. It’s as if someone specifically structured this book just for a Kindle, made the experience extra enjoyable, and added all the possible desires that someone like I would want. Anyone who spends most of their book reading on a Kindle should find no issues with margins, spacing, font choice on default, line selection, page cropping, paragraph indenting, or anything else. I’ve never seen anything so easy to read on a Kindle in my life. And then to set the bar even higher, the person who did set up the book for Kindle added the most BEAUTIFUL chapter detail work before and after each section. There are these adorable feathers; the fonts are gorgeous, Seriously, this book is just as much a feast for the eyes, as it is comfortable to read. “Feathers and Fae” is an elegantly written book where nothing was omitted in the luxury experience of reading it. I don’t honestly think I’ve encountered nearly as many e-books nearly this lux when it comes to the detail work. I love it when I read something beautiful to read as well as enjoying the story. This book is the luxury line of all books, the Tesla if you will when it comes to the e-copy. Bravo!
Next, let’s go into the same category, “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” and we go to foundation again. I found the character arch’s, their progression, and the history behind each character, to be superb. I understood, for the most part, which everyone was, and I realized where they went with their journey. Life and breath was given to secondary characters, and the environment in and of itself is one of those secondary characters. I found the cultural aspects of the different creatures to be exciting to learn about in exposition. I found the currency system as it were, to be fascinating, as well as how the characters react to it. I appreciate just how hard this world must have been to put together, and I felt that everything that was brought up in the story, moved along nicely. Pacing and tension for interactions were great, and some of the scenes, especially the one where our MC loses sight of things (that will make more sense when you read it) was as tense and vibrant as any drama can have.
Onto the “Whole Story” portion of my review, and I am so happy to inform you all that every story point mentioned has a satisfactory conclusion. I have no idea if this will be a series starter or not, but I don’t have to worry about it, because there is no painful cliffhanger. As a reader, I enjoyed a literary meal of eight courses, and I walked away, satisfied, and delighted. This book is so good, and not so dense as it is painful if you miss something. “Feathers and Fae” hits at the perfect pacing, so all the points make sense when they are brought up. Nothing in the exposition was wasteful, and everything made sense in its due course.
Next, under “Cliche Much,” we do have a potential cliche here, and it wasn’t treated like an annoying thing at all. The “Mary Sue” could have happened. Crystal didn’t allow it. Also, there is a glimmer of the “chosen one prophecy” cliche, and it didn’t get turned into that old chestnut either. I really cannot explain how happy I was; there wasn’t a tedious love triangle shoved in, or anything that could have worn out the narrative. No, this book is original in the way the ideas presented themselves, and I was not exhausted or having eyestrain to anything I read.
Overall, if you love fantasy novels, high fantasy, or even epic fantasy, you likely will adore this book. If you are a “Dresden Files” fan, you probably are going to love this book. If you are someone who likes good ol’ fashioned action-adventure stories, this book is going to be a good idea to read. And mostly, if you love books with a lot of care and thought put into them, I’d recommend reading “Feathers and Fae.”
So with all of that in mind, I’m giving “Feathers and Fae” a 94/100. That is a Five-Star review on Goodreads and Amazon. Pick this up for your friends, or get a copy for yourself. Your eyes will love it, and your heart will cherish the story.