Book Review: Fae or Foe? by Craig Deenan

There are a lot of fairy stories out there these days. The stories of history that have grown through the ages have become incredibly popular, and for good reason. The Fae, those creatures just across the invisible barrier, with good or bad intentions, are a tempting prospect. However, there are also a lot of paranormal romances involving the Fae out there, and it’s nice to see something as straightforward as a coming of age adventure story, such as Craig Deenan’s Fae or Foe?, the first book in the Cracklock Saga.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows Jack Crackley, a boy going about his business at school and on his paper route, until one day, in the midst of some trouble, he begins to see odd creatures. When he’s attacked, he not only learns of beings called Fae that wander around this world, but also of a larger plot to cause him—and his friends—harm.

This book follows the relatively straightforward coming of age pattern, where the main character finds out he’s special and then has to do his best to save either the world or those around him who are in danger. In this case, it’s the latter, but with hints to the former. I like the story; it has enough twists that the plot isn’t entirely predictable, but it also is comforting in the familiarity. A good plot, though there are a lot of threads by the end that need tying.

2. Thoughts on the characters

A lot of time, these sorts of stories can have a main character who is either too noble (read, noblebright style stories), or entirely the opposite. Jack reads very much in the middle of those two, more like a normal teenager who is dealing with some difficult things. He’s not annoying to read, and he’s not ridiculously noble, either. He’s just a good kid in some weird circumstances, which I really appreciated. The other characters around him read very much the same way, excepting the antagonist(s) of the piece. They read a bit more like caricatures rather than villains with a twisty back story. However, the characters are generally quite good.

3. Favourite part

Dorcas the brownie is absolutely my favourite out of the entire book, and I dare you to prove me wrong.

4. Critique

The ending of the book is a cliffhanger, which is perfectly fine in the grand scheme of things, since this is the first of a series. However, this cliffhanger left most of the threads of the story in book 1 untied, which is a little problematic. I like to see all the threads except for one or two overarching plot points tied up. That way you have a complete story that transitions into the next story rather than stopping a story right in the middle of important information. I understand that there was drama that needed to be there in order to edge into book two, but so very many threads were left untied that I just felt like the story was incomplete in a very large way.

Overall, I would say that Friend or Foe? was an entertaining read with characters who were enjoyable and a plot that was not standard, with enough familiar elements to draw you in. A good book.