Saturday, March 30, 2013

13 Treasures

Tanya’s life is a mess. Her parents are divorced and she gets frequent visits from nasty fairies. Tanya can see the fairies but no one else can… as far as she knows. These aren’t your standard fairies though… these fairies seem to delight in tormenting her and cause all kinds of problems. After one such episode she is sent to stay with her grandmother in the country. That’s where the trouble starts.

13 Treasures is the debut volume in Michelle Harrison’s dark trilogy. Set in England, it’s
 a YA book with some nice twists and turns. As Tanya adjusts to life at her grandmother’s old estate, she becomes friends with the caretaker’s son Fabian and together they investigate a local mystery. They soon discover that there is more to the estate than meets the eye. Secret tunnels, a mysterious wood where people disappear and some absolutely nasty fairies make for a compelling read. And of course secrets abound- what is her grandmother hiding from her? And why is the house full of fairies?

As the story progresses more and more secrets are uncovered and perhaps no one is who they seem to be. A new character, Rowan Fox, is introduced about halfway through the book and while my initial reaction to her situation was skepticism, she quickly won me over. Her story adds a layer of moral complexity to the story. Tanya and Rowan, with the help of Fabian, have to make some hard choices and discover some unsettling truths that will change them forever.

I picked this up on a whim, having not heard anything about the series, but I was quickly hooked. Harrison weaves an interesting setting that seems modern and yet could have taken place 20 or 30 years ago. No one appears to have cell phones for example, which means the kids have to do things the old- fashioned way. I found this refreshing as the presence of a smart phone or two might have made some things a lot easier, but the kids don’t have the advantage of calling for help and have to survive by their wits. The revelations at the end were a welcome surprise, and there is a major plot twist that I didn’t see coming. I love it when a book surprises me and this book delivered

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