Review: City of Fae by Pippa DaCosta

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Published: May 2015 by Bloomsbury Spark
Format reviewed: e-ARC
Genres: Fantasy, urban fantasy, New Adult
Source: From the publisher via NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Once Upon A Time IX
Available: From 7 May

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.

As many other NetGalley reviewers have noted, the ARC I received of City of Fae was clearly not a final copy and overall I felt it had a lot of work still ahead of it.

One of the biggest flaws for me was the lack of tension. Alina is a journalist who has just been fired. Her motivation in helping rock-star fae Reign is manipulative and selfish–she’s out to score a big story that will get her back her job. While I appreciated the way this distinguished her somewhat from other love-struck, paranormal YA heroines, it didn’t endear her at all. This motivation also didn’t give us a sense of the stakes for Alina. We never see her at her former job and she has no life outside it. While there is a very good reason for this, it also means that for the first half of the novel she has nothing further to lose, nothing personal at stake, and nothing for the reader to care about.

Although I found Alina somewhat unlikeable, at least to begin with, I also found she was easily the most interesting character. While Reign never really manages to rise above the stereotypical tortured, romantic hero, Alina is blunt, forthright and doesn’t hesitate to call Reign on his bull. One of my favourite things about the novel was the banter between these two characters. Alina also takes decisive action, and really kicks some butt in the second half of the book.

Readers who adore love triangles are in for a treat. In fact, it is less a triangle than a conga line. Alina’s other love interest (not that she’s really interested) provides a steady, sober contrast to Reign. I found the character had slightly more depth, though of course the relationship had no chemistry at all. The ending of the  book left this relationship in a rather interesting place for the heavily implied sequel to explore.

However, on balance City of Fae didn’t draw me in enough for me to pursue the sequel, should one be forthcoming.

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