Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Mini-Review: A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene


A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Paperback. 496 pages.

About A Feather So Black:

"In a kingdom where magic has been lost, Fia is a rare changeling, left behind by the wicked Fair Folk when they stole the High Queen's daughter and retreated behind the locked gates of Tír na nÓg.

Most despise Fia's fae blood. But the queen raises her as a daughter and trains her to be a spy. Meanwhile, the real princess Eala is bound to Tír na nÓg, cursed to become a swan by day and only returning to her true form at night.

When a hidden gate to the realm is discovered, Fia is tasked by the queen to retrieve the princess and break her curse. But she doesn’t go with her is prince Rogan, Fia's dearest childhood friend—and Eala’s betrothed.

As they journey through the forests of the Folk, where magic winds through the roots of the trees and beauty can be a deadly illusion, Fia’s mission is complicated by her feelings for the prince…and her unexpected attraction to the dark-hearted fae lord holding Eala captive. Irian might be more monster than man, but he seems to understand Fia in a way no one ever has.

Soon, Fia begins to question the truth of her mission. But time is running out to break her sister's curse. And unraveling the secrets of the past might destroy everything she has come to love."

A Feather So Black is an entertaining fantasy featuring fae, changelings, and a Swan Lake/folktale inspiration. 

What I liked: I really enjoyed exploring the fae land of Tír na nÓg and learning about the world-building created for this story, as well as how Selene incorporated elements of folktales. Fia was an interesting character that I initially worried would end up seeming a bit cliche'd and stereotypical, but ended up being a great character and I'm glad I gave her a chance. Rogan felt a bit more predictable to me, but I still enjoyed seeing where his story took him, and Irian added further layers to the narrative that I liked exploring. I also loved the inclusion of various Celtic mythology elements and think they were such a vital and well-incorporated part of the novel. I thought the romance aspects were well written, and despite seeming important to the story, didn't actually end up feeling overwhelming. There's a bit of a love triangle, but I think it was handled surprisingly well and didn't leave me feeling frustrated. 

What I didn't like: One of my main issues is with the pacing, as I felt the middle portion of this book could have used a little bit of trimming. A large reason for this is because Fia and Rogan didn't seem overly capable of the tasks they were set out to accomplish, so because of that and the general setup where they can only visit the fae world once a month meant there wasn't always all that much going on a lot of the time as they waited for each monthly visit. I would also say that this wasn't necessarily the most groundbreaking or compelling with regard to the fae elements included in this book, but as mentioned earlier, I think the Celtic mythology aspects really added a lot of vibrancy to the story. 

Overall, I found A Feather So Black to be a perfectly enjoyable fantasy with some really lovely writing. I look forward to reading more from Lyra Selene! I've given it 3.75 stars.

*I received a copy of A Feather So Black in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Bookshop.org

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