Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off #4: Another Five Fall

Another Five Fall


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Banished by Liz de Jager

Banished by Liz de Jager
Book Name: Banished
Author: Liz de Jager
Publisher(s): Tor (UK)
Formatt: Paperback / eBook
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 27, 2014 (UK)

Liz De Jager’s debut novel, Banished, is set in a world where the borders between the realm of Faerie and our own world, the Frontier, are thin and porous. It’s a situation where dangerous Fae politics can have a deadly impact on the unsuspecting human world. The Blackharts are enforcers, a human family with strong links to the faerie realm, responsible for dealing with troublesome and renegade supernatural elements that find their way into the Frontier.

Kit is the youngest and newest Blackhart, recently come into her heritage, eager to learn and darn good at what she does. We see her single-handedly dispatch a murderous banshee from the grounds of a high school in the opening chapter. But when she rescues the youngest son of the King of Alba from a pack of goblins, she finds she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Prince Thorn is a pawn in a deadly plot hatched by a traitor in his father’s court, a plot to resurrect the Elder Gods (the “Banished” of the title) and bring them back to dominate the sundered worlds for all time. Kit finds herself dragged into a battle that could bring about the end of both the Frontier, and the faerie realm along with it.

There are very dark elements in this YA novel, including a few quite gruesome scenes of torture, and one of forced suicide. But set against that is the blossoming romance between Kit and Thorn, which is played very sweetly. Kit herself is a lot of fun; courageous, untidy, tough without being super-human, and passionately loyal to her friends and family. Exactly the kind of heroine you want fighting at your side.

There are some clever twists here – strikingly, the Elder Gods are cleverly tied in to Lovecraftian mythos via a departmental memo from the government “Spook” department, the equivalent, it seems, of The X Files here in Jager’s UK. There are definite hints at the wider world that the novel is set in – we don’t see the Spooks, we hardly see the workings of the Seelie or the Unseelie courts of the Faerie Realm, important characters are mentioned but never seen, and we’re left not quite sure who burned down Kit’s house and killed her grandmother. But this is only the very promising start to a trilogy, and it’s likely more will be gradually revealed. It does serve to create a fully realised world, with just a few issues (such as the fact that 16-year-old Kit appears to have a full UK driving license).

Ultimately it’s frustrating that so many loose threads are left hanging and the situation between Kit and Thorn remains so resolutely unresolved, but it does leave things wide open for what’s sure to be an entertaining and dramatic follow-up. Fans of Emma Newman and Mark Chadbourn would do well to check out Banished, it’s a great addition to the ranks of modern faerie tales.


One Comment

  1. This one’s been on my radar too. Definitely seems worth a look. Thanks for the review!

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