Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arrow by RJ Anderson

Arrow is the 3rd of R.J Anderson’s faerie books that began with Knife.

Arrow is a little different from it’s two predecessors in that it doesn’t concern itself solely with the trials of the Oakenfolk, and the protagonist; Rhosmari, isn’t of the Oak herself. She’s a member of the reclusive, but powerful Children of Rhys, a group of Welsh faeries introduced in Rebel, the previous book in the series.

I have to admit to not really taking to Arrow the way I did to Knife and Rebel. I’m not sure why this was. It is a direct sequel to Rebel, picking up not long after the events of Rebel, unlike Rebel which took place years after Knife. It could be Rhosmari as protagonist, her not being Oakenfolk somehow seemed off to me. She leaves her home in defiance of her mother and soon finds herself caught up in the free faery battle against Jasmine, the former Oakenfolk faery, who wants to make herself the Empress of all English faeries.

Initially Rhosmari thinks she’s being assisted by Martin, the rather hip young faery with the Shakespeare fascination, but he turns out to be working for the Empress and turns her over to Jasmine. Rhosmari escapes and makes her way to the Oakenfolk and is a key component in their struggle to eventually free themselves off Jasmine’s influence and that of her protégé; Veronica. This also forges great understanding and cooperation between the various groups of English fae, who hadn’t previously worked together. Rhosmari also seems to find love with the faery’s human ally Timothy.

Arrow, to me, had the air of been there, done that. There did need to be a 3rd book to tie off the loose ends from Rebel, and Arrow did do that, but it seemed to lack the spark and creativity that had been present in Knife and Rebel. I found it hard to distinguish Rhosmari from Knife and Linden (the heroine of Rebel, who was very much in the background in Arrow). Her abilities were also strangely inconsistent, she discovered hidden powers or abilities just when she needed them. The fae’s weaknesses and strengths are really only observed when it suits the story, that’s been consistent throughout all 3 books.

With how bland Rhosmari was I would have appreciated a different view point. Maybe seeing more about Martin, who wasn’t really working for either Jasmine or the Oakenfolk, but rather himself, or even Veronica, who was a great bad girl, but never explored beyond being a rather one dimensional portrayal of that.

It does tie everything up neatly, but the ending is a little rushed and the pairing of Timothy and Rhosmari seemed far too convenient and wasn’t really built up enough throughout the narrative to make it totally believable.      

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