Book Description via Goodreads:
Advanced Bound Manuscript, 352 pages
September 27, 2011, Tor/Macmillan USA
Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…
Source: Kiki Hamilton (Thank you!)
Hamilton presented a London that had so many abandoned children, orphans and pickpockets. It was a fragile and problematic time wherein money was hard to earn and food came scarcely. I was entirely sold out to how the world was built. It seemed real, complete with all the drama of everyday life in the streets. I found it easy to sympathize with the street urchins of The Faerie Ring because here in my country, there are a handful of them too. Their situation was really heartbreaking.
Tara Kathleen, aka Tiki, was one of a kind. Born into a well-off family, she had luxuries as a child. She was well-loved and taken care of. But everything changed when her parents died. She wound up in the streets, penniless, hopeless and lost. She met Fiona and Shamus, two cousins who lived in the streets, striving to live and getting money from pickpocketing. Fiona and Shamus, among two other children – Clara and Toots, were Tiki’s new family. They were unfortunate victims of fate but they tried to make the most out of their situation. They were not related by blood but they lived together and helped each other.
Tiki had found Clara in a pile of trash, almost dead. She struggled to nurse Clara back to health. But with the lack of food, lack of clean clothes and water, Clara kept getting worse. But with Tiki’s amazing find, the Queen’s ring, she might just be able to get enough money to pay Clara’s hospital bills, bring her home, buy a house and supply enough food for her family. But it turned out, getting the money was going to be difficult.
Rieker, a known name among pickpockets, bumped into Tiki a couple of times. He had noticed the strange birthmark on her wrist – a swirl of vines and leaves – and had become intrigued with her. With his handsome face and his charm, he was easy to admire. But Tiki was worried about his interest in the Queen’s ring. Tiki did not trust him. Could Rieker prove that his intentions were good before it’s too late?
The Queen’s ring held the fire of the treaty between the royal family of London and the fey. With it gone missing from the palace, anyone (any fey) could easily get rid of it and then the treaty would be broken. War will set loose. The fey could conquer London.
As usual, there were two fey courts: Seelie and Unseelie. However, only Unseelie fey appeared in The Faerie Ring. They wanted to break the treaty, get back what was once theirs – London. Hamilton portrayed them as vicious, hot-tempered and unpredictable creatures donning human skin. Larkin, the blonde fey, was absolutely intriguing. Even though I hated her, I have to admit that her character kept me reading on.
The Faerie Ring is a perfect fusion of historical fiction and urban fantasy – the best of both worlds, outstanding in tragedy, suspense, peril and magic. Enthralling, dark, mysterious – the story took my breath away with every passing shadow, every budding doubt and every unearthed secret.