With the atmosphere of a fairytale with edge, plenty of adventure, tension and endearing characters, the loose ends at the end of this book will have young fantasy fans eager for the next instalment.
‘Fae or Foe?’ by C A Deegan is the first in the Cracklock Saga that follows a human family with extraordinary abilities. Jack Crackley works hard to help his mum make ends meet but one extraordinary day reveals the truth about his past and a host of abilities that could help his family and friends in the adventures to come. A sinister opening draws the reader in, as a young girl is left unresponsive by a mystery illness, Child Aging Illness and doctors are stumped as to the cause. The focus then shifts to Jack and a fantasy adventure ensues that I hope will tie in and provide answers about this incurable illness later in the saga. The imaginative world includes a detailed folklore and a variety of different mystical beings, this adds dimension to the fantasy adventure story and I was curious about the different creatures we encounter in this book and the possibility for other creatures in future instalments. Alongside the strong world-building, the plotline is relatable and entertaining - a young boy, new friends, recently discovered abilities and looming over the whole story are the unanswered questions about a lost loved one. This is an immersive story that shares many themes with other fantasy stories. With the atmosphere of a fairytale with edge, plenty of adventure, tension and endearing characters, the loose ends at the end of this book will have young fantasy fans eager for the next instalment.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
The story starts with a young girl have her life force, or grackles, removed by a brownie under the control of the Cracklock family using a strange tube device; such children appear to be afflicted by an aging disease that baffles doctors. The Cracklocks are gathering this life force to destroy the Realm of the Departed (the realm of the dead), part of their plan for the destruction of Faery itself. The lead, Jack 'Crackley' (15), is a boy from a single-parent family on the poor side of town who has no idea who he actually is, having been glamoured to hide him when he was four. Two subsequent accidents in close succession break the glamour, which includes a fight with the local bullies (the LaFey twins) when he tries to help his friend Jimmy Owen and an attack by the indomitable Mr Binks who, not knowing who Jack is, tries to harvest Jack's life force, or 'grackles' with a tube-like device that is being used to drain the lifeforce from younger children. Jack is able to resist Mr Binks but is blinded in an accident during his escape; his loss of sight is the last-ditch magical attempt of the glamour on him to stop him from seeing the Faery folk. His Great Aunt Elsie comes to look after him and eventually removes the remains of the glamour, restoring Jack's sight and ability to see Faeries. She helps him understand his past and abilities with an introduction to the Faery realm and family history, with help from old family friends, Fermerillion (Fermy) (a Feeorin) and Dorcas (a Brownie). Meanwhile, other Cracklocks (Malchiah, Anastasia and Benedict) learn what has happened to Jack via Mr Binks and, believing him to be the family member they have been trying to locate for years, initiate a search. Jack goes to Faery to learn more about his history via Timothy Tattingmouse (a Fae Scholar and Myomancer). Whilst he is there, Jimmy is again attacked by the LaFey's and is saved by Dorcas. She is forced to reveal herself to Jimmy following her actions, bringing him more into the story as he learns about this hidden world. Upon learning about the strange tube during the discussions in Faery, Fermy resolves to steal it from Mr Binks so they can investigate it further. He is subsequently captured, and Jack, Jimmy and Elsie have to rescue him, which they manage, but Fermy needs urgent help, forcing Elsie to return to Jack's home to tend to him. Elsie doesn't know that Anastasia and Benedict have already arrived there and are harshly interrogating Jack's mother (Sammy) and Dorcas to find Jack. Only the arrival of Elsie manages to save them, but the ensuing battle results in Elsie's hospitalisation. Following Fermy's rescue, Jack and Jimmy discover captured Faeries at Mr Binks's house and remain to release them, stealing the tube whilst they do so for Fermy. Mr Binks pursues them and sets his Lisovyk, a type of Faery forest demon, onto them. Following a showdown at the school with the monster, the stolen tube is revealed to be a lifeform from another realm, the Realm of the Lost, a place that none of the friends knows anything about. This leads the story directly into Book 2, "The Lost and the Departed".
|Publication date:||14th September 2021|
|Author:||C A Deegan|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 12/12/2021