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Petra McDonald and the Queen of the Fae by Shona Kinsella

Petra McDonald and the Queen of the Fae by Shona Kinsella
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Book Name: Petra McDonald and the Queen of the Fae
Author: Shona Kinsella
Publisher(s): Fox Spirit Books
Formatt: Paperback
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: September 29, 2018

Petra McDonald is a bisexual, pagan artist who lives and works on a small Scottish island. While in a trance, she paints a young girl who has been abducted by the Queen of the Fae and it falls to Petra to save her.

She must travel to the Faery, collect three items for the Queen, escape the sex spell of the Selkie prince and steal the loyalty of her fae guard. Can she bring the child home before it’s too late?

Auntie Fox has an eye for the strange and off-beat, the wyrd and the courageous. So, it makes perfect sense to find Shona Kinsella’s new novella, her first longer work since her debut Ashael Rising, in the Fox Spirit Books catalogue. And for anybody tired of the default English Arcadia settings of Fairyland, here’s a chance to try a Celtic-flavoured Fae adventure, with some very real peril included.

The first few pages have to set the scene of course, and Kinsella wastes little time doing that, introducing the threat of peril at the outset even as she brings Petra and her partner Morag to life. Much of the story however takes place in the Fae realm, and it is these chapters that hold the tale’s best writing as Petra alternately negotiates and battles her way past the tasks that the Queen of the Fae has set her.

Kinsella approaches the mythological elements of her story with a more modern, fresh, and openly progressive eye. Her Fae can be as sympathetic as they are brutal; her monsters have hearts; her selkie folk are wonderful and handsome, yet disdain the concept of consent. The chapters that deal with Petra’s quest to win the horn of the Selkie Prince serve to emphasise the danger that Petra is in, that the Fae world might swallow her whole with no effort at all.

Despite the quick stripped-back narrative, Kinsella still manages to build a convincing, dreamlike Fae world, just as Jo Zebedee did in Waters & The Wild – another excellent portal into Celtic fairylands that all fans of Petra should seek out. And in doing so in a novella-length format, Kinsella leaves the reader needing more. Which is good, because there’s every sign that further adventures for Petra McDonald are exactly what Kinsella has in mind.

Highly recommended for all fans of the Fae, whether auld or modern, Celtic or otherwise – The Queen of the Fae will be a fantastic addition to your reading lists.

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