Star Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Urban and Paranormal, Children/Middle Grade/YA
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy. But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire. Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was… Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking. There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion. Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself. Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war. Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm. Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.
I took far too long to read this book, which really torques me off because I enjoyed it so much! Given that life happens (thus why it took forever), when I went back to look at the notes I had made about the book, I was reminded of so many moments that made me laugh out loud, and not like the LOL you write on social media posts when you're sitting straight-faced on your couch. I mean proper, actual laughter that other people around me could hear and that I then have to share about...whether they asked me to or not. 😜
Before I get too far, I want to say there's something I can't really share because it's a spoiler. Suffice to say...Mister Fahy, well done for doing the thing by not doing the thing (or is it the other way around?), thus hitting me right in the feels. *Cue emotional outburst* Don't know what I'm talking about? Go read the book and then message me so we can discuss.
Okay, back on an orderly track. Firstly, I'm always in awe of books that transcend age (part of why I listed this as "Children/Middle Grade/YA" above). In my life it's been the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and now The Isle of Winds that fits that description. Grief is addressed in a way that's not too heavy for kids and totally relatable for everyone who's lost someone dear. The humor hits all ages, whether it's via the pop culture references, understated wry commentary, or just funny descriptions. Finally, there are the characters. Having read several of James Fahy's books now, I think characterization (along with a great sense of humor) might be one of his strongest suits as a writer. Every single one is so bright and vivid and distinct. Aunt Irene is my spirit animal! 😆
So why did I deduct a half star? Maybe this is pedantic (and I am well aware of my pedantry), but there's a wee issue with a timeline in this book. It doesn't really change or affect the story, but it stood out to me (again, because I am a pedant...a big one). I'm probably the only person on earth who took issue with it, though, so (since they're not as exacting as I am about ratings), I'll be leaving a five star review on Amazon and Goodreads for this one. 😉
All In All: This book is a bit Percy Jackson meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets mythology, and I loved nearly every minute of it! Thanks for reading!